Emma's Blog

Already Filled Out The National Student Survey? It's Not Too Late!

Found our #Dontfillitin campaign too late? Have you been convinced about the dangers filling out the NSS will bring, but you’ve already completed it? Don’t worry – there are two ways to withdraw your survey submission.

Option 1

Follow this link to fill out a short form which will send an automated email from you to Ipsos Mori requesting that your data is withdrawn.


Option 2 - Send the email yourself


Go onto your student email account on My Manchester.


Compose an email addressed to thestudentsurvey@ipsos.com, with the subject as “Request to Withdraw my Submission to the NSS”

In the main section of the email, copy and paste the message below (filling in the blanks);

“To whom is may concern,

I am writing to you to request my withdrawal of my submission on the NSS. I attend the University of Manchester and my student number is ___________.

Kind regards,

and click “Send”.


Tell everyone else in your year and on your course about the campaign, and fill in the Manchester Student Survey instead

The NSS is optional, so you won’t be penalised, and won’t be complicit in the rising of tuition fees. It’s really that simple!


Three common questions about our #Dontfillitin campaign

You might have heard that the Students’ Union is campaigning against the National Student Survey (the NSS) with our #Dontfillitin initiative because it is going to be linked to the increase in tuition fees.

We have made both students and staff explicitly aware of the boycott: we made a video, did lecture shout-outs, had meetings with societies, hung banners, distributed posters and flyers and I personally emailed all Heads of Schools (and met with three) and brought up the action at University meetings.

From these interactions there have been some questions raised about the boycott from both parties: namely, that (1) that the boycott will have no impact on the government reforms on Higher Education so is a useless exercise, (2) it will reduce the ranking on league tables and impact recruitment and funding, and (3) that student feedback will not be recorded sufficiently.

The following points address these questions:

1. “The boycott won’t affect the government’s decision to roll out the Teaching Excellence Framework”

The reasons we have the #Dontfillitin campaign is to combat the government’s new mechanism called the Teaching Excellence Framework (the TEF). See more about the TEF here. The boycott won’t destabilise the TEF immediately, but we are campaigning against the NSS for three main reasons:

  • To protest against government reforms – the boycott will be a clear signal that students aren’t happy. We wish to emphasise that the boycott is not an attack on University. The boycott will undermine the TEF by demonstrating that the NSS is an unreliable metric because it can be biased and affected so easily. It is also a clear protest and a sign of discontent towards the government’s attack on Higher Education, and is the only area of the reforms that students can have some impact on.
  • We also want to do it because we resent the fact that the government is making students complicit in the increasing of tuition fees – tricking the turkeys into voting for Christmas, in effect. The fact that the University isn’t telling students how their feedback is going to be used (that it’s going into the TEF) is a testament of how wrong this is.
  • We want to give students all the facts so, whether or not they participate in the campaign, they can make an informed decision. The campaign is important because it will raise awareness amongst students about what is happening in the Higher Education sector.

2. “It will reduce the ranking on league tables and harm recruitment”

The government body in charge of funding and scrutinising universities, HEFCE, are well aware of the boycott so as far as we know, if the completion rate drops below 50% rendering the results void, league tables will be based on the NSS data from last year.

We partly chose to do a boycott because of this reason – there was talk of doing a sabotage which would involve asking students to fill out the NSS with only negative responses, which would have had an even worse impact on league tables and recruitment.

Additionally, Manchester is not the only Union participating in the boycott. There are 24 others (and counting) that have pledged to boycott the NSS. The full list of boycotters can be found below.

If all the boycotts are successful, and there is no NSS data for Manchester for this year, we can take comfort in knowing that there will be no NSS data for these universities too, which mitigates the issue of competition in the league tables.

Moreover, if league tables do become affected, and if there is substantial media coverage of the national boycott, potential students and parents will be aware of why that is the case.

3. “Student feedback will not be recorded sufficiently”

Student voice and feedback is crucial, to both celebrate excellent student experience and to scrutinise areas that require improvement. Alongside the boycott of the National Student Survey, UMSU has launched an alternative survey, the Manchester Student Survey (MSS). The questions in the MSS will be identical to the new questions in the NSS, apart from three questions at the end.

We are able to ‘clean’ the data sufficiently, so all fake responses will be taken out.

The more students that fill out the Manchester Student Survey, the more robust the results and the stronger the campaign will be. It is open to ALL YEARS, so please complete it when you can!

Finally, we understand that a better way of measuring teaching is crucial, so will be working on that with NUS in the near future. It is a really exciting opportunity and we’ll be doing a lot of research and exploring how teaching excellence is measured around the world.

Other Students’ Unions that are boycotting the National Student Survey include:

  • Bath Spa University
  • Brunel University
  • Central School for Speech and Drama
  • Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Goldsmiths University
  • Kings College London
  • Kingston
  • Liverpool Hope University
  • London School of Economics
  • Queen Mary’s University of London
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • School of Oriental and African Studies
  • University Arts London
  • University College London
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Reading
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Sussex
  • University of Warwick

Keep up todate with what i'm up to via my Facebook and Twitter Profiles!