Satisfaction with halls pastoral care plummets at UoB in wake of reforms

But in general students feel that mental health support channels are working well


UoB student satisfaction with halls pastoral care has plummeted following the controversial welfare reforms, an official report has found.

In the wake of UoB scrapping halls wardens and introducing controversial 'hubs', satisfaction with senior residents and ResiLife officers was one of the only areas to see a decrease in the report.

Back in 2018, when reforms were announced, half of all senior residents signed an open letter which voiced concerns about the £800,000 of cuts to the pastoral system.

The letter said called reforms a "depersonalisation of the system" and said a threat could be posed to those in a "a life and death situation."

Students who have experienced the new halls pastoral system, have now given their verdict.

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Just 35 per cent of students found residential life advisers / team members very helpful and 37 per cent found other senior residents helpful.

In 2018, prior to changes to the pastoral system, 51 per cent of students surveyed said that staff at university residences were extremely helpful.

Only nine per cent said that staff in residences were not helpful at all in 2018, a figure which shot up to 19 per cent in 2019.

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KEY: 2018=BLUE and 2019=GREEN

It's one part of a wider survey on mental health at the University of Bristol presented a table showing the percentage of students who had used a source of support and found it useful, somewhat useful and not useful.

In general, satisfaction was shown to have risen between 2018 and 2019.

The percentage of students that found support from a GP, mental health professional or personal tutor, very useful, was up by two percent, 10 per cent and six per cent respectively.

However, satisfaction with pastoral care provided in university accommodation was down.

George Bemrose, Bristol SU’s Student Living Officer said: “I've been looking closely at the University's Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey results this year and have pushed the university to release the data.

"Whilst there are some more positive results, there are also clear areas for improvement.

"Given the results in the survey, I have successfully lobbied the university to conduct a review into ResiLife and the support offered to students through this service.

"There were only 94 students who were first years who answered this part of the survey so hopefully this number will increase this year.

"I'll be looking at the results of this year's survey to see if there has been an increase in student satisfaction based on the work which has been happening.

"The more students who complete it, the more helpful the results are!”

A spokesperson for the University of Bristol told said: “Responding to the feedback from our students via the wellbeing survey is absolutely essential for the ongoing development of our services .

"We are continually reviewing our services and have already implemented a number of changes this year.

“We have recruited some additional Residential Life Advisers based in our residential Student Support Centres.

“In partnership with Bristol SU, we have also recruited a new Residential Experience Coordinator who will work in partnership with the JCRs and the Residential Life team to plan and deliver a range of proactive activities and events within residences.

"We have also worked hard to raise the profile of the team within residences and have been proactively reaching out and connecting with students.”