STUDENT PROTECTION PLAN- 2019/20

  

 

Provider’s name: British School of Marketing International

Provider’s UKPRN: 10083461

Legal Address: 4a Westover Road, Bournemouth BH1 2BY

 

 

 Introduction

 The purpose of this protection plan is to protect and ensure the quality and continuation of study for our existing or prospective students in the event of risk such as a change or closure of a programme.

This Student Protection Plan sets out British School of Marketing International’s (BSMI) procedures for closing, suspending or changing any programme of study. It is designed to reflect the Sector advisory guidance within the CMA UK Higher Education Providers – Advice on Consumer Protection Law (March 2015), the requirements of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education – Part C and The Equality Act 2010. It is also designed to meet the requirements for the CMA Student Protection Plan.

British School of Marketing International is committed to ensuring that students achieve the best academic outcomes from their studies at the college. BSMI will make every effort to protect the student interest and ensure continuity in the event of a course or college change or closure. BSMI is aware that events might sometimes occur which may mean unforeseen changes that need to be made to modules, units or programmes.

BSMI has undertaken an assessment of potential risks associated with the continuation of study from a student’s perspective and the likelihood of these risks happening:

  • The college has lost validation for one or more of its courses.

BSMI is the lead provider for NCFE Higher Education courses in Business; Level 4 in Business Administration and Level 5 in Leadership and Management. Due to the low number of specialist higher education courses being delivered at the college, the Director of Studies working along with the programme tutors ensure the community of those courses through maintaining the quality at all levels through;

  • Recognition of prior learning
  • Special considerations for students
  • Mitigating circumstances
  • Appeals against assessment
  • Reasonable adjustment to assessment
  • Internally assessed units according to the college assessment policy
  • Internal verification of assignments briefs giving advice to the assessor on how to improve the assessment
  • Appropriate marking guidelines for giving constructive feedback in formative assessments against learning outcomes in order to achieve higher grades in summative assessments
  • Internal verification or standardization of marked assessments to regulate department-wide accurate interpretation of grading boundaries
  • The prevention, investigation, recording and procedures for dealing with student malpractice.
  • The prevention, investigation, recording and procedures for dealing with Centre/Tutor malpractice, whereby the role of the moderator in applying strict transparency in all academic quality matters relating to every stakeholder is paramount.
  • In the case of sanctions and appeals where the pathways examination board has awarded a student an uncapped extension to an assignment deadline or a capped extension for a late submission or piece of work marked unclassified, a student may appeal against the terms stating in writing why he/she believes the decision should be changed, highlighting any piece of work or mitigating circumstance with documentary evidence that would support such an appeal
  • Where double marking of a piece of work is requested by the student, it is normal for the college to charge a non-refundable fee to the student to cover the costs of the second marking. Although, this is also marked according to the College assessment policy and may return the same result
  • Should a conflict of interest occur between a member of staff and a student or an assignment or otherwise, this should be declared early on and dealt with in clear terms that explain that at all times, college policies will be adhered to for insurance of effective quality management and transparency of the course e.g. students should not expect good marks from a teacher because of a gift or an especially strong bond with the teacher
  • Learner support is undergone in a clear professional manner regular intervals and recorded where possible to indicate the needs of the student, identification of the causes of the problem, an action plan for resolving the problems and a deadline for the resolution of the problems – teachers are expected to refer non-academic problems to the appropriate persons for issues such as welfare, accommodation, finance, counselling, safeguarding etc

In order to ensure the continuity of Higher Education courses, BSMI is also planning to deliver higher education courses, HNC and HND programmes in Business from a different provider in order to offer students variety of progression options.

 

  •  A decision by the college to close a course.

Due to the low number of higher education courses delivered at BSMI, the risk of a course closure is extremely low. Any decision relating to course closure will be evaluated and implemented prior to any student recruitment for that particular course. Once the applications are received and students are recruited, the likelihood of course closures are very low. In case of BSMI closing a course, this would take place in a gradual manner, over a period allowing enrolled students to complete their studies.

In the unlikely event of a programme being approved for closure unless there are exceptional circumstances, the College will always plan to complete teaching the programme.

If the programme cannot continue, for example, a niche programme and the sole subject specialist is permanently unavailable with no possibility of replacement, then a full refund of tuition fees, paid to date in the current academic year, will be made.

In the event of a programme being closed and unable to be completed the college will offer alternative programmes from while also supporting students in finding alternative programmes with other HE providers. In these instances, payments for additional travel costs will be made for students affected who visit alternative providers to seek another programme or course.

Reimbursements will also apply to those students in receipt of student loans, are self-funding or are sponsored as well as those who may have to incur higher childcare or other welfare costs normally associated with the provision of, HE programmes.

Contingency measures for increased maintenance costs and lost time will also be put into place to order to solve the problems of students faced by course closure.

 

  • Major changes in course content. 

BSMI follows the set scheme of works and qualification specifications that are provided by NCFE.  Changes to course content on the higher education courses must be decided by NCFE and disseminated to the college as BSMI cannot decide on those changes following the schemes of work provided by NCFE. Any modifications to the course to satisfy the needs of a changing market will be staged in advance of delivery under the guidance of NCFE, who have advised us that they would only change the course themselves if an upgrade were needed and notification of this would be six months in advance plus one year for students already enrolled to successfully complete their course.

In the event of NCFE changing the existing units or adjusting any existing units will be overseen by the Director Studies to ensure there will be a minimum impact on students. However, in the unlikely event of major changes to course content, the College will ensure that:

  • Appropriate consultation is carried out with students to ensure that clear and concise information is provided for the remainder of their study;

 

  • Loss of Tier 4 licence. 

BSMI has recently gained its Tier-4 sponsorship. Most students will successfully complete their studies at BSMI without any problems regarding their visa or Tier-4 sponsorship. However, the Home Office can suspend the college’s Tier-4 sponsor license temporarily if they are investigating the college. The result of the investigation will be either that the license is reinstated, or that it is revoked completely. These events could cause complications for BSMI and its current and pending students.

Students who are already studying with their BSMI:
These students are not immediately affected. Their visa or leave to remain is still valid. They can continue to study and travel to and from the UK as normal, subject to meeting their other immigration conditions. These students can continue studying while their sponsor’s licence is reviewed or suspended.

Students who have an outstanding overseas visa application, or an application to extend their leave to remain in the UK
These students will not be immediately affected. Outstanding visa applications relying on a CAS issued before the action was taken will be processed as usual. Existing visas or leave to remain will still be valid.

Students who have a visa to visit the UK but have not travelled
These students are strongly advised not to attempt to travel to the UK until the suspension has been resolved. Students should check the register of sponsors for any change in their sponsor’s circumstances.

Students who have an outstanding visa application to come to the UK, or who have been issued with a CAS and intend to apply for a visa
Visa applications relying on a CAS that was issued prior to the sponsor’s licence being suspended or investigated will be placed on hold. New applications will be accepted but placed on hold.

Students with an outstanding application to extend leave to remain the UK, and those who need to make such an application
Students can still extend their permission to stay if it is due to expire when the Tier-4 sponsor’s licence is suspended, as long as they were issued with a CAS before the licence was suspended. These applications will be placed on hold until the suspension is resolved.

Students who are on holiday overseas when their sponsoring institution’s licence is suspended
Students with a current valid visa will be able to return to the UK and continue studying, as long as they satisfactorily meet all other immigration requirements.

 

  • Disruption of college activity – for example, temporary disruption or closure during term time.

The college’s circumstantial and environmental risks are the same as for any other institution, namely those associated with a catastrophic event such as disease, fire or flood and/or those associated with unforeseeable circumstances. Mitigation includes ongoing risk assessment, regular safety inspection.

Mitigation includes ongoing risk assessment, regular safety inspections, crisis management and effective communication in the case of an emergency and procedures in place after the event to remedy any damage to the course delivery and learning experience of the student.

 

List of possible unforeseen events and how they can be managed 

  • Severe weather disruption preventing staff and students from attending the college

Use college social media platforms, telephone and group emails to notify students of temporary closure

  • Strike action from staff preventing delivery of course 

Use of cover managers and emergency staff for the duration of the strike

  • Extended or substantial staff sickness

Use of cover managers and emergency staff for the duration of the sickness

The above list is not exhaustive and there are other legal ‘force majeures’ or contract frustration scenarios to the college student contract which would require the college to measure out the right level of compensation to the student.

For some of the above unforeseen events, it may be necessary to temporarily relocate the classrooms through the procurement of temporary classrooms from adjacent or nearby providers through a temporary classroom rental agreement:

e.g.

  • Language schools
  • Other suitable public buildings

College business continuity and contingency plans ensure that there are procedures in place to ensure the continuity of students on HE programmes. This includes refund and compensation policy for students studying on Higher Education courses.

The college will plan appropriate contingency measures and cash reserves to match the perceived level of risk that could affect current and future numbers and types of students following its HE programmes.

The amount of financial contingency at any one time will be directly proportionate to the number of students studying on the HE programmes at the time of an unforeseen event should there be a need for reimbursement.

The contingency plan relating to any reimbursement is explained in more detail in the risk assessment.

 

  • Unexpected industrial action by college staff.

The risk of not being able to deliver whole courses or programmes due to staffing or resource issues is extremely low. BSMI has teaching staff with a range of skills, experience and expertise that ensures students receive a positive experience at the college. Each area is also well resourced and investment in these areas is on-going, with opportunities to upgrade these each year through the college’s budget planning.

In the unlikely event of unexpected strike action by staff, the College will the following contingency measures:

  • Use of cover managers and emergency staff for the duration of the strike
  • If this is not possible then either an offer of the postponed elements of the course over a reasonable period of time or a reimbursement of fees relating to that part of the course or relocation of the student with another accredited provider to complete missed modules
  • The college is unable or no longer intends to operate as a whole due to financial instability. 

The risk of a course or programme cancellation is also extremely low. This may occur if the minimum number of recruited students does not enhance the student experience or fulfil the financial goals of the College.  In which case, a strategic decision will later be made to discontinue the course or programme.

In the unlikely event of this happening, students would be transferred to another accredited Higher Education provider along with the appropriate funds transferred by BSMI for completing the course, travel arrangements and additional costs, or a reimbursement offered to students to cover the remaining units still to be completed on the course to be paid by 14 days from the request.

As the programmes develop and the number of recruited students increase for the Higher Education Programmes, the college will consider a financial strategy of releasing 12.5% of the student course fees into the programme budget at the start of each 4-week period of the course curriculum and thereafter by 12.5% every 4 weeks of the course curriculum.

This will leave the remainder of the course fees in a contingency student refund and compensation account with a surplus remainder of 25% at the end of the course to be carried over to the next programme so that when a sizeable contingency threshold is achieved, any extra surplus funds can be reallocated for College strategic purposes such as investment in equipment, course development etc.

The College maintains a healthy mix of diverse programmes to continually attract a wide variety of students with different academic needs and goals.  This enables us to spread the risk of any one course closing.

Measures to Inform and Protect Students:

In the event of closure of college or programme, a contingency plan will be initiated to keep students fully informed at each stage of the process prior to closure.

NCFE will also inform the College of any course closures 6 months before plus one year for students already studying on the programme at the time.

 

Communicating student protection plan to students

British School of Marketing International will publish this Student Protection Plan on the website. Both current students and future students will be able to view the plan which will also be available in their offer letters.

Students are to be consulted within the student VOICE mechanism, whereby class elected student representatives attend meetings with teachers and give feedback from their peers on the quality of the course structure content and delivery for programme developers to enact or advise NCFE on recommended upgrades to the existing programmes.

In addition to this, they will give advice on wider college issues including review of the student protection plan and other college policies as appropriate.

The college will also run student focus groups to gain broader feedback for the student population as well as through induction, in course and end of course feedback forms and tutorials.

The college will ensure that all staff are fully aware of the implications of the Student Protection Plan.  Any proposed course changes will need to be referenced within the college’s approval procedure from NCFE and summarised in the student and teacher handbooks.

Any changes to course content or closure of programme or College will be communicated to the students in stages through email, text, telephone, on the website or face to face.

General information about policies relating to closures of course will be found in the offer letter, student handbook, induction sessions and on the College web site.

This information is also available in the teacher handbook, in CPD sessions and in teacher’s meetings.

It will be reviewed on a yearly basis by a mixture of staff and students, who will consider the implications of each stage of the plan and how these may have changed in the light of on-going risk assessments.  Any new changes will be incorporated into the SPP and republished to the relevant stakeholders; students, staff, and awarding bodies.

Students will be informed of the plan’s review or implementation by email or letter in class as well as those who may be absent through sickness or excused absence.

Students will be given contact details of the awarding bodies and citizen’s advice as initial points of contact for independent advice on the SPP.  They may also follow the normal complaints procedure if they perceive the plan has not been implemented appropriately.

 

Refund and Compensation Arrangements

Student Eligibility:

  • Only students studying towards higher education qualifications that are regulated by the Office for Students are eligible for compensation under this policy. This policy will also include refunds;
  • For students in receipt of a tuition fee loan from the Student Loans Company.
  • For students who pay their own tuition fees.
  • For students whose tuition fees are paid by a sponsor.

Please refer to the compensation policy for more information, which can be found on the following link: https://britishschoolofmarketing.com/bsmi/compensation-policy/

The College Student Protection Plan has not highlighted any existing courses or groups of students where it is considered likely that the students will have to transfer courses or provider, as the college assesses that it has adequate financial resources to ensure the teach out of existing courses.

Wherever circumstances have rendered it absolutely impossible to deliver the courses through lack of teachers, facilities or otherwise, these will be suspended until the problem is resolved then restorative measures will be implemented to reinstate the complete delivery of the course.

There are various remedies the college could offer to students in the event of course closure or suspension.

Initially, depending on the length of a temporary suspension of a course, it would seek to offer students extra delivery of subjects over a reasonable period of time to help students to catch up on work that was missed during the temporary closure period.

i.e. if the college were closed for a week due to unforeseen events and the students missed their standard morning lesson input time of 15 hours in one week for a unit such as ‘Marketing’, the College would offer an extra 3 hours a week for 5 weeks in the afternoons to add up to the missed 15 hours.

They would also extend the period of time for assignment, presentation and exam deadlines plus any other forms of assessment as is reasonable for the student to complete in order to succeed on the course within the college assessment policy guidelines and the guidelines of the relevant programme accreditation body.

If the college were unable to deliver compensation time within its own premises, it would fund the transfer of students to partnership providers to complete the course.

In the case of inability to deliver the course through fault of parties external to the college, the college would seek compensation from these parties in order to support funds for the necessary contingency plan that would suitably compensate the students by paying for additional teaching or college transfer or reimbursement of funds for the whole course or the remainder of the coursed sufficient achievement had already taken place on the course to only warrant the funding of a course top up in an alternative college.

For example, if a student had achieved 90 credits of a 120-credit course and BSMI were unable to deliver the rest of the course, it would fund the price of the completion of the course at an alternative provider i.e. the remaining 30 credits.

In the event of a course being cancelled by British School of Marketing International prior to commencement, a full refund will be made upon request. A minimum of 6 weeks should be allowed for refund application to be considered.

All fees must be paid 4 weeks before the course starts. In exceptional circumstances, the school may agree an alternative mode of payment.

  • A refund is offered for courses cancelled 14 days before the start of the course; within 14 days and the start of the course after this no refunds are offered.
  • No refund is payable if a student withdraws or cancels their enrolment any time after the course commencement date (other than for reasons for visa refusal which are refunded as set above). In this case the student is liable to pay the full tuition fee for the course, and any expenses, costs or disbursements incurred in recovering the tuition fee.
  • No refund is payable for national holidays during the course.
  • No refund is payable if a student is expelled.
  • If a student does not arrive to start their course on the arranged date, no refunds are payable and acceptance of the student onto the remainder of the course is at the discretion of the Managing Director.
  • If you are unable to complete the course because of serious illness or family bereavement, documentary evidence may be requested. Such refunds will be at the discretion of the Managing Director.
  • No refund is payable if the student’s enrolment is cancelled by the school, including cancellation caused by a breach of the student visa conditions, visa refusals due to fraudulent claims, students misconduct or if the student is expelled for unsatisfactory academic progress.
  • No refund is payable if the terms and conditions of the enrolment agreement entered into by the student and the school are breached, including any breach of the school policy.

Please refer to our terms and conditions for more information which can be found on the following link: https://britishschoolofmarketing.com/bsmi/terms-and-conditions/

Complaints procedure

Students with a complaint will have their complaint acknowledged within 10 days and depending on the nature of their complaint, resolution times  for all  types of complaints are clearly stated on the website at the following link: https://britishschoolofmarketing.com/bsmi/complaints-policy-and-procedure

All complaints are dealt with discreetly following GDPR and safeguarding procedures, whereby personal information is not disclosed to anyone without the complainant’s permission unless by not disclosing to relevant safeguarding or professional bodies this would cause further danger or harm to the student.  In this situation, the student is advised that the person managing the complaint may have to share the information with those professionals who are better equipped to assist the complainant e.g. MASH.

In the lesser safeguarding issues, the designated safeguarding officers within the college may deal with the problem and in all instances record the problem and action taking on behalf of the complainant.

For non-safeguarding issues, the matter will be referred to the relevant department within the college for resolution and ultimately be resolved by the owner should all other avenues be unsuccessful.

In the case of HE programmes related complaints, the guidelines of NCFE will be adhered to and in some instances, NCFE will be directly consulted for clarification in more complex cases.

The Student Protection Plan will be reviewed annually by the management of the college.