Student satisfaction in Wales holds steady

84% of students in Wales are satisfied with their overall higher education experience, according to the latest survey of universities and further education colleges. The survey, now in its ninth year, shows that, in all categories covered by the survey, satisfaction has either improved or stayed the same since 2012. The National Student Survey, which covers England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some institutions in Scotland, takes account of the views of full-time and part-time final year students studying at Welsh universities and further education colleges. There have been increases in the areas of learning resources, students’ unions, assessment and feedback and academic support. Student satisfaction with assessment and feedback and with academic support have now improved by 8% since the survey’s inception. Dr David Blaney, Chief Executive of HEFCW, said:

“Student satisfaction in Wales continues to hold its own in a changing environment. In fact, satisfaction – which has been consistently high since the survey was initiated – is at its highest ever level in Wales.

“Our higher education sector anticipates the needs of its students, and continues to attach great importance to the student experience. Wales was the first UK country where each HE institution had a student charter in place, which lets students know what they should expect and what is expected of them. “We look forward to continuing a strong performance over the coming years, and to seeing further progress in satisfaction with assessment and feedback and academic support.”

A Higher Education Wales spokesperson said: “In a year that has seen major changes in the structure of our universities in Wales, in terms of mergers and reconfiguration, these results show that the focus on excellent learning and teaching has not wavered, and in each of the categories covered by the survey satisfaction has either improved or held-up well. As we now enter a period of stability with fewer and stronger universities we look forward to building on these results further in order to continue to secure excellence, not only in learning and teaching, across the whole student experience.”

Stephanie Lloyd, NUS Wales President said: “We are pleased with the results. It is really important to us that students are happy with their time at university. However, Wales must not be complacent, and must continue to explore the real meaning of the student experience and improve it for all students.”

Katherine Bluck, who graduated in 2013 with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in French and Italian from Swansea University, said: “I wouldn’t have chosen to do my degree anywhere else! Everyone in Swansea was very friendly, and I felt at home there straight away. The University lecturers were very welcoming and helpful. The classes were structured well enough so that you didn’t feel like you got lost in the crowd, and you could get one to one help if needed. The year abroad helped with my confidence immensely, thanks to the great links that the University had with the other countries.”The NSS data will be available on on 19 September. Unistats helps students researching entry to higher education compare information about different subjects and institutions.

Comparative data for each category covered by the survey (for HE and FE combined)

Questions 2012 UK
2012 Wales
2013 UK
2013 Wales
1-4 The teaching on my course 86 85 86 85
5-9 Assessment and feedback 70 68 72 70
10-12 Academic support 79 79 80 80
13-15 Organisation and management 77 76 78 76
16-18 Learning resources 82 80 84 81
19-21 Personal development 81 81 82 81
22 Overall satisfaction 85 84 85 84
24 Students’ Union 66 69 67 70
25-30 NHS practice placements 85 89 86 90