Having successfully moved all our provision to distance learning during March and April, and provided a wide range of support to both staff and students during the crisis period to ensure they were able to maintain their wellbeing and achieve their goals, we have for some time already been engaged with the planning required to meet our obligations and deliver a high quality, rewarding and enriching educational experience to our students from September 2020. In this regard we have assigned significant resources to the research and development of the best methods and approaches to operating in what will continue to be a challenging operating environment, and this document aims to articulate the framework we will use to achieve this; the processes we will utilise to achieve our goals; and the principles we will adopt throughout.
- The health, safety and wellbeing of students, staff, visitors, and the wider community will be our priority.
- We are committed to providing value for money to our students and ensuring we provide what they expect of us, including reasonable and appropriate access to our facilities and equipment. should any student consider that they have not received an appropriate level of support, access or teaching from us, we will examine each individual situation, resolve any issues to the best of our ability and if we are unable to do so, consider each case under our published complaints policy.
- We will review and continue to invest in our teaching, learning and assessment practices to ensure a high-quality experience; we will continue our commitment to inclusivity and diversity; and we will support students to achieve their learning outcomes in a safe and continuous manner regardless of any external restrictions that may be imposed.
- We will engage with students and staff, communicating honestly and transparently about our plans and intentions; advising promptly of any restrictions or guidelines we are collectively obliged to follow; considering their feedback in the design and delivery of flexible learning methods, either face to face or from distance; and protecting their wellbeing while enabling the safe delivery of teaching and learning activities.
- No student will be disadvantaged if they are unable to meet our normal requirements for reasons beyond their control.
- We will make appropriate changes to campus layout and infrastructure in accordance – at minimum – with public health advice, including guidelines on social distancing.
- We will regularly review our hygiene and cleaning protocols in all spaces and adapt them in response to changing public health advice and risk levels, to ensure students, staff and visitors have confidence in their safety.
- We recognise that the pandemic has an impact on welfare and mental health, and will regularly review our support provision to ensure that we can meet demand
- We will develop effective processes to welcome and support international students and staff, including throughout any self-isolation period.
- We will work with civic or local partners wherever appropriate including councils, local resilience forums and community groups.
At the time of the crisis in March and April, ICMP’s response was led by the senior management team following established and rehearsed protocols for crisis management and business continuity. As we are now moving to a more organised and stable phase of the pandemic, and the urgent actions related to lockdown and completion of in-year activities have largely passed, we can move to a more suitable framework of management to achieve a successful and safe return to teaching and learning activities.
Our framework to approach the decisions and challenges going forward will be as follows:
- Our Corporate Board will lead in terms of oversight and governance of all key decision making, strategy development and planning, as per its published terms of reference
- Day to day operational decision making will be led by the Executive Committee, chaired by the Chief Executive, whose membership and terms of reference can be found here
- Responsibility for all academic decision making, standards and quality will continue to reside with the Academic Board and its associated committees
- Guidance from the relevant sector regulatory bodies – the Office for Students and its designated quality body, the QAA, and designated data body, HESA, the DfE, the Consumer Marketing Authority (CMA) and other relevant sector bodies - will be carefully studied and incorporated into our activities and plans
- External expertise will be brought in where appropriate – for example in the development of best practice online learning methodology – to advise and enhance decision making
- We will continue our commitment to inclusivity and diversity and make appropriate considerations in this regard at all levels of the operational framework
- Resources – funds, staffing, consultancy and associated resources – will be made available for the development of a new flexible model of provision, while ensuring continued financial sustainability and stability of the institution.
- As far as possible, business as usual will be maintained and all planned development, investment and projects will continue to be pursued.
- Student-facing processes such as complaints, extenuating circumstances and appeals, will continue to operate as normal to protect the interests of students.
- We will continue to meet sector expectations for quality assurance.
- New flexible working practices will be developed, including more short-term measures to support and protect key staff, where this is consistent with comprehensive support arrangements for our students and the effective delivery of our provision
- Support will be enhanced as far as reasonably possible for both staff and students during this time and into the next academic year, for example by providing enhanced counselling and welfare support; by enhancing funds available to students suffering hardship or potential disadvantage; through our continued commitment to inclusivity and diversity; and through enhanced training and CPD for both staff and students to enable their engagement with different delivery modes