Supporting you to support your students

As part of the Fair Access Research project we would like academic staff to complete this survey to help us understand how students are supported at BU.


Questions of access to higher education do not end (or start) at the university gates. Widening participation involves engagement with a long and complex cycle of learning, as discussed here:

Life? Don’t Talk to Me About Life!

 In the words of Vincent Tinto: “Access without support is not opportunity”. If we are committed to opening up higher education to more people, we must be committed to supporting all students to succeed across the university learning journey.

The Fair Access Research project seeks to understand the experiences of students from different backgrounds in order to develop practical solutions to enhance outcomes and maximise opportunities. This includes understanding how students are supported at BU.

One area of particular interest with regards to supporting students is that of health and wellbeing. A recent survey by the NUS found that 78 per cent of students said they experienced mental health issues over the last year. More than half of the students said that they sought no support.

In a report to HEFCE by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and Researching Equity, Access and Partnership (REAP) it was found that students with mental health and social/communicative impairments (such as autism) have doubled since 2008-09. These significant increases are impacting the structures of support that institutions have in place, including academic support

Living with challenging health and wellbeing issues, and not always seeking support, shapes whether or not you stay and impacts upon attainment. It re-orients (or, perhaps, disorients) your whole student experience. And that includes your interactions with academic staff.

With all this in mind, we are surveying academic staff to find out more about how they understand their role in supporting students’ health and wellbeing.

We have developed a short survey for you all to complete. It should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and we hope that it will lead us to develop ways to support you support your students.

To complete they survey click here. Once completed please share with your colleagues.  

Understanding how we see our roles can help us find ways to better support our students, particularly those most in need. Sometimes we all need a hand.

If you want any more information about the survey please email Alex on

For more information about the Fair Access Research project please email the Principal Investigators, Dr Vanessa Heaslip ( and Dr Clive Hunt (


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