We expect higher education providers to consider their obligations under consumer law and students’ consumer rights carefully, including during industrial action. This includes ensuring that a range of appropriate remedies and mitigations are available, which may include financial compensation, to prevent and minimise the effects of any strike action upon their students.
The Office for Students, the regulator for higher education in England, has issued guidance for students affected by industrial action. It encourages students to discuss with their university or college whether it is possible to make up for any lost teaching, and whether any other loss of services and support can be rearranged so as to minimise the disruption that students have experienced. Where lost teaching has had an impact on assessments or other work that has had to be submitted, students may be able to submit a claim for this to be taken into account as part of the university’s mitigating or extenuating circumstances process.
If the issue is not satisfactorily resolved, students can complain through the university’s complaints process; if they are unhappy with the outcome, students have the right to make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). The OIA has also published guidance on its website about its approach to complaints by students affected by the industrial action.