Despite National Student Survey (NSS) scores dropping across the whole of the country as a result of the pandemic, Harper Adams University in Edgmond, near Newport, has stood the test.
The NSS 2021 gathered views from students completing their studies this summer, on a range of factors including how well they were taught and supported, access to facilities and the overall ‘feel’ of the learning community.
From a response rate of 87 per cent, Harper Adams University achieved an overall satisfaction score of 84.2 per cent from its taught students. This represents a fall in satisfaction from previous years – but echoes the picture across almost all universities, which were unable to deliver a “normal” student experience because of Covid-19 measures.
Harper Adams vice-chancellor Dr David Llewellyn said: “We were pleased to learn that the hard work of everyone at the university during a very disrupted academic year has been recognised by our students in their positive response to this year’s National Student Survey.
“I should like to pay tribute to the Harper Adams staff, who did all they could to ensure that our students continued to receive an outstanding education to equip them for their future careers, despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic.”
An Office for Students briefing, issued alongside the results and looking at the UK as a whole, said the decline is particularly marked for the ‘learning resource’ and ‘learning community’ scales, both of which were a challenge for students kept away from their campus by pandemic restrictions.
However, Harper Adams fared well, with the measures for ‘learning opportunities’, ‘academic support’ and ‘learning community’ all scoring above its ‘overall satisfaction’ rating. Agriculture students, in particular, gave high scores for the learning community and learning opportunities.
Another particular highlight for Harper Adams was the 100 per cent satisfaction score for ‘teaching and learning on my course’ given by food technology and product development students.
Responding to the national picture presented by the survey this year, Universities minister Michelle Donelan said: “Our universities have shown real innovation and resilience in adapting to this pandemic, which is shown by the majority of students rating their overall experience of their courses positively.”