Over 1,900 King’s students sign safety net policy petition

The petition demands that KCL uphold the policy for this academic year as “the situation has only gotten worse”

A petition demanding that King’s College London maintain the safety net policy during the 2020-2021 academic year has so far gathered 1,955 signatures. The petition asks that the safety net policy be applied this academic year as “the Covid-19 period is not over,” and as students are continuing to “face increasing amounts of pressure” relating to health issues, issues with studying at home, and a “delay in communication from King’s College London.”

The safety net policy was first implemented in March 2020 as “a means to ensure that no student will be disadvantaged academically by the impact of the current situation.” The King’s Coronavirus and Assessments page states that under the policy, the university “will put in place a range of ‘safety net’ arrangements to manage any negative impact on students’ outcomes.”

In light of this, the petition asks that “the previously released (March 2020) decision and conditions regarding the ‘safety net’ policy should be modified and applied to this academic year (2020-21).” This includes ensuring that “marks are to be adjusted to ensure that the average for the year is at least at the level of the ‘safety net’ average” for all modules completed after March 15th, 2020.

The petition also raises a number of points regarding issues faced by students during the pandemic for the University’s consideration. The list “is not exhaustive,” but includes that a majority of students “have not and will not have any face-to-face teaching this year, clearly reducing education quality.”

It also adds that continued lockdown in London means students are facing increased pressure and “mental health issues,” alongside “ongoing issues of studying at home such as the lack of a dedicated workspace, unstable wifi connection and noisy environments.” The petition also acknowledges the difficulties faced by international students during the pandemic.

Speaking on the situation, a King’s College London spokesperson said: “Since September, we have sought to provide some on-campus teaching for all students where it has been safe to do so, alongside access to campus services and facilities. However, the impact of the ongoing pandemic and government restrictions has meant we have not been able to provide on-campus teaching on many programmes for a period, in line with public health and government guidance.

We planned for this approach in 2020/21 and designed our assessments carefully with this in mind. This includes measures to support students when completing assessments, including access to equipment and space. We are committed to ensuring that no student is disadvantaged in their academic outcomes by the disruption caused by the pandemic and have comprehensive arrangements in place for mitigation. Individual circumstances will be taken fully into account with clear guidance for assessment boards to ensure that we pick up any difficulties or concerns.

Students have access to a wide range of online databases, journals, e-books and digital resources to support their learning. We also encourage students to contact their personal tutors for any advice or guidance regarding their education.”

More details about the petition can be found here. Details regarding KCL’s safety net policy and other assessment information can be found here.

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