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SCAN spoke to Hannah Laycock who wants to be the voice for the everyday student.
Hannah is passionate about education and is gaining further knowledge of education systems through the Teach First system, which she will defer for a year if she gets the role of VP Education. Ultimately, Hannah’s end goal is to become a Head Teacher but she wants to see what issues effect the mature student. Hannah eventually wants to tackle inequality on primary and secondary school levels but beginning at the university level in the role of VP Education.
Hannah has experience with the Union as she is on the current scrutiny panel. Hannah said that she has “seen the VP Education role in action and know what has worked and what hasn’t”. But as she is not directly linked with the Student’s Union, she says that she can represent the student that isn’t as aware of the Union and what it can do for them.
When asked about her unique selling point. Hannah said that she is working on the idea of “fairness, awareness and representation”. She added that the everyday student is unaware of the impact they can have on their educational experience and she wants to change this.
Hannah said that the most important issue facing students today is the HE Bill and that it will really effect students at Lancaster University. She also said that there is an issue where students become complacent regarding their individual educational experience and the way they are taught at university. Hannah aims to change this.
As an undergraduate, Hannah said that she has a direct link to their experience and that she would like to improve the relationship between “the student, the Union and me”. After speaking to Nick Dearman (current VP Education), Hannah said that she is aware there has been postgrad forums but I want to build upon this and improve the relationship between PGR and undergrad students, “because we all share the same space, so we should be conversing about what we’re all learning”.
With regards to the NSS Boycott and TEF rankings, Hannah said that understands the frustration and that students feel they are not being heard. As a pragmatist, which she says you need to be with this role of VP Education, she believes improvements will come from educating people, with campaigns such as ‘Freeze the Fees’.
SCAN asked Hannah about why she thinks the Students’ Union mainly focuses on undergraduates. Hannah argued that this is because undergraduates are a larger body of students and that the postgraduate experience is so different. She also informed SCAN that postgraduates have a very individualistic experience, where you cannot make sweeping improvements. Hannah suggested that improving postgraduate voices subjectively would be more beneficial.
In terms of academic reps, Hannah says that she understands reps are volunteers and they cannot represent every student, calling that suggestion “a big ask”. But to improve the system, Hannah suggested enforcing a level of consistency in terms of faculties and catering meetings around reps as “the prevalence of academic reps is not good enough”.
Finally, Hannah would like to improve course modules and Moodle and said that “as we move into an electronic age, Moodle is really important. It is not right that some students must badger staff to put links on”.
Trivia: Hannah was only aware of LUMS.