The MMU Education Strategy and Principles for Learning, Teaching and Assessment

Principle 4: Maximise student progression and success and outstanding personalised academic support for the individual student


Click on a standard to see the associated guidance:

4.1 Support for the complete student cycle in their transitions to University, during induction, from one stage of study to another, and from university into employment.  click to expand

Every programme will have a clear communications policy to ensure students receive all appropriate information.

Programme teams should consider:

  • What information is provided for students, and how it will be communicated clearly and at the appropriate points in the students experience of MMU;
  • Who students should contact if they have a problem.
  • Monitor the currency and accuracy of online academic information to students.
  • How email, texts and social media are used to communicate with students

Office Hours and Academic Staff Availability

Programmes must ensure that:

  • academic staff availability is clearly publicised for students seeking access to tutors.
  • They implement the agreed University process on the communication of class changes to students and SIPs

Pre-entry and induction

Every programme must have a strategy for supporting students through the stages of pre-entry, early induction, on-going induction, and transitions between levels.

Programme teams should consider:

  • What kinds of pre-entry activities are offered and how they integrate with the programme
  • Which units provide opportunities for early formative feedback at each level of the programme, and how these activities integrate with later summative work
  • When and how students are provided with opportunities to meet with academic tutors, and how this is followed up later in the programme
  • How provide comprehensive information including (at appropriate points) detailed briefing on pre-reading, provisional timetables, and assessment expectations
  • How students will be supported in using PDP to reflect on their progress and their skill needs.

N.B. Students will be supported as necessary by the Disability Service to declare a disability or specific learning need; undertake appropriate diagnostic tests; and acquire an individual learning plan. All international students will have access to academic English support according to need via Coaching for Academic English. Programme teams should be aware of how this support will link back to student learning provision on the course.

4.2 Provision of academic and personal tutors who help students to progress in their studies, to achieve better outcomes as they go through their course.  click to expand

Personal tutoring is a vital and complex role, which is key to supporting students’ retention, progression, attainment and employability. It is recognised that different disciplines may require particular nuances in the support that they provide, but it is vital that we provide personal tutoring with consistency in key aspects across all departments in order to ensure that we meet student expectations. Thus, the following guidelines are proposed for 2017-18:  

  1. All students will have a named tutor who is a member of academic staff and who is drawn from the student’s academic discipline, or, in the case of Combined Honours students, who is drawn from their home department.
  2. The number of personal tutees assigned to a member of staff should be such that, taking into account the rest of their workload, they are able to see each student individually when required (i.e. this role should not be devolved to Year Tutors where the cohort is so large that it is not possible for individual meetings to take place).
  3. Foundation Year students and L4 students should be informed of the name and the contact details of their Personal Tutor ideally over summer, before the start of Term 1, but where that is not possible, in induction week.

    Heads of Department (or their nominees) to let Heads of Education know who will ensure that FY and L4 students are informed about who their Personal Tutor is over summer.

  4. Where possible the Personal Tutor should remain the same at Levels 4 and 5.
  5. Where there is a change to Personal Tutor, for example, because of staffing changes, the student will be informed and the name and contact details of the new Personal Tutor will be provided. Where this change takes place over Summer, the information about the new Personal Tutor will be supplied ideally before the start of Term 1, but if this is not possible, in Induction Week.
  6. Students will be made aware of who they should contact if they wish to change their Personal Tutor. This will normally be the Head of Department.
  7. Personal Tutors will e-mail their L3 and L4 tutees in September, before induction week, to welcome them to the University.

    Heads of Department (or their nominees) to identify to Heads of Education who, within each Department, will ensure that the welcome emails are sent.

  8. Personal Tutors will meet with students a minimum of five times per year. On standard undergraduate programmes it is suggested that this comprises:
    • two meetings per term (Autumn and Spring);
    • one meeting in the Summer term to support transition to the next year / Outduction;
    • for L3, L4 and L7 the first meeting should take place in Induction Week. This can be a group meeting;
    • of the remaining meetings, at least one per term should be one to one meetings.
  9. The operationalisation of Personal Tutoring is delegated to Departmental level for locally developed, effective tutorial approaches. However, it is strongly recommended that each scheduled meeting has a proposed structure, though it is acknowledged that the use of this structure must be flexible, depending on the needs of the student when they attend.

    It is also recommended that, within the structure for Personal Tutor meetings within each academic year, there will be personal tutorials that will be explicitly related to academic skills, feedback, student attainment, employability and the transitions students are making as they join, move through the course and graduate.

  10. Personal Tutors should aim to flag students to further sources of support where relevant. In order to do this they should be aware of the structures that are in place to support students and the attention of Personal Tutor is drawn to the University guidance about when to refer.
  11. Programme Teams are encouraged to use the CELT Programme Personal Tutoring Plan as a template to self-evaluate personal tutoring provision and plan its development.
  12. Attendance at Personal Tutor meetings will be recorded and non– attendance should be followed up.
    Heads of Department to identify to Heads of Education the process for recording Personal Tutor meetings and how this is to be followed up. Ideally the recording will be online so that it is accessible to Programme Leaders and heads of Department. 
  13. Personal Tutors should be attached to their personal tutees on the Dashboard.
  14. Students should be referred to their Personal Tutors in the first instance when they are called in for a meeting about their attendance.
  15. Line managers should consider personal tutoring within PDR meetings, setting targets, where relevant/necessary, that are related to personal tutoring and encouraging staff to take advantage of the training that is available to help them to develop their expertise in this role.
  16. The course Level ISS should be used to evaluate personal tutoring.
  17. Training for the personal tutoring role: please contact CELT.
4.3 Communication of high expectations for academic achievement and development .  click to expand

Personal Development Planning

The Programme Specification requires that programme teams make explicit reference to, and provide development around, Personal Development Planning.

Programme teams should consider:

  • the ways in which students are encouraged to evaluate and articulate the skills developed within the programme and their relevance to future employment.
  • how students are encouraged to engage with, plan and record their own personal and professional development
  • How students learn to present their achievements for employment in written and verbal formats?
  • How staff and students are supported in the use of PDP in the curriculum
  • How resources such as Employability Online are used to support the curriculum
  • Where in the programme students get practice in
    • Production of an appropriate Curriculum Vitae
    • Evaluation and articulation of knowledge and skills developed within the programme and their relevance to future employment
    • How to write effective answers to competency based questions as used in application forms
  • How programme teams can contribute to the development of student confidence in their studies, and in their wider life as a student.

Ensure that specific reference is made to support for FY and CH students. Where PDP is embedded in particular units, ensure that these units are undertaken by CH students.

Include a statement on how FY students are supported via the Academic Skills for HE Unit (or local Faculty equivalent).

Related CELT resources:

Progression and Retention

Personal Tutoring

Peer Support for Student Success

Induction & Transition