The University of Edinburgh. The Moray House School of Education. School Postgraduate Studies Committee

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The University of Edinburgh The Moray House School of Education School Postgraduate Studies Committee

Minute of the meeting held at 2pm on 19 October 2011 in Room G38 Paterson’s Land

Present: Dr E McGregor (Convener), Dr S Beames, Dr S Benjamin, Dr J Cutting, Ms P Deponio, Mr A Ducklin, Mr R Easton, Mr V Galloway, Dr A Irvine, Dr H Macleod, Ms J Moote, Dr R Nicol, Dr P Sangster, Ms J Sugden, Ms W Timmons, Ms D Torrance, Ms K Woomble and Mr K Wright

In attendance Ms L Rowand

Apologies Dr P Allison, Dr K Cebula, Mr H Richards, Dr G Reid, Dr G Robinson, Dr G Thomson, Dr T Turner and Dr Z Williamson.

1. Welcome and apologies

The Convener welcomed all to the meeting, in particular Ms J Moote who was attending the meeting for the first time as a student representative. Apologies were as noted above. 2. Minute of the meeting held on 7 September 2011

2.1 Accuracy of minute

Apart from correcting the time of the meeting, the minute was approved as an accurate record.

3. Matters Arising

3.3.1 Management of student numbers on MSc TESOL programme (Item 6)

The School Executive team had concurred with the committee’s view that the overall IELTS score for entry to the language programmes be raised to 7 with no single score for any part of the test under 6.5. The intake for next academic year would be capped at 200 students and those applicants with an unconditional or conditional offer would be asked to pay a deposit. This was likely to be around about the sum of £1000 or 10% of the tuition fee. This was in line with the policy used by the Business School. Applicants with a conditional offer who did not meet the criteria for entry or any applicant who had been offered entry but was refused a visa would have the deposit refunded.

In light of this decision, the committee noted the importance of ensuring that policy decisions affecting a number of different degree programmes were always discussed with each of the relevant programme teams.

3.2.2 Dissertation supervision and timing (Item 7)

The Convener and Dr Ewins had arranged to meet to discuss how to implement the proposed changes.

3.2.3 Proposed revisions to PhD programme (item 8)

Dr Sangster had revised the relevant PhD documentation in line with the approved proposals and was now available on the web and in the PhD programme handbook.


3.2.4 Clarification and revision of MSc dissertation guidelines (Item 10) Dr Allison was currently drafting revised guidelines.

4. Convener’s Business 4.1 Shared Timetabling project

The Shared Academic Timetabling Project has been created to improve timetabling processes across the University. The project will deliver a single shared system for scheduling teaching events and room booking. All teaching events will be visible in the shared timetable and this information will be used to minimise clashes and ensure travel time and lunch breaks are considered in scheduling. The new solution will replace the existing Central Room Booking service. More information will be available at:

4.2 Institute of Academic Development Staff Secondments

At the recent meeting of the College Postgraduate Committee, Schools had been invited to indicate from a given list which potential secondments their School might want to be directly involved in (perhaps through a secondment to the IAD). The Convener would circulate more information regarding this following the meeting. Further information was also available online at:

5. Proposal for Outdoor Education Singapore MSc

5.1 These proposals formed part of the submission made by the Moray House School of Education to the Singaporean Academy of Principals in December 2010 and have been accepted in principle by the Academy. It was intended that these programmes would be offered initially on a part-time basis from September 2012. The Outdoor Education team had experience of working in Singapore through a variety of CPD initiatives and have also developed other links and contacts in Singapore through conferences and meetings. The team regarded this as an exciting opportunity but as listed in the paper there were a number of significant issues which require to be resolved if these programmes are to be delivered. Some of these may be dealt with by the programme team, but others require action at a School level.

5.2 The committee noted the Outdoor Education team’s enthusiasm for the proposal but shared the team’s concerns. It noted that at the recent revalidation of the existing MSc programmes in Outdoor Education, Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education and Personal and Social Development and Outdoor Education the revalidation panel had expressed serious concerns about the workload of the team particularly when looking at new initiatives such as this. The External Examiner for the Outdoor Education programmes had also expressed his concern to the Head of School about the burden placed upon the members of staff in this area. The programme team was considered to be pre-eminent within its field and its members were eligible for submission as part of the REF. The committee agreed that the School was in danger of diminishing its own programmes if the development of this initiative was not adequately resourced. Although discussion focussed mainly on the need for increased academic input, it was clear that there was also a requirement for administrative support both in Edinburgh and in Singapore. It was also agreed that although this was a well thought out proposal, it was likely there would be other issues and obstacles as yet unforeseen that would arise and demand time and effort to resolve. In summary, there were many practical and logistical matters which needed to be addressed as soon as possible in order to facilitate the delivery of these programmes in 2012.


5.3 Colleagues were also concerned at the timescale given to the Outdoor Education team to prepare this submission. The team had originally worked on the proposal in February 2011 and had then written to the Head of School stating that further support would be required if the proposal was to go forward. The matter had lain dormant until 3 weeks ago when they were asked to present this paper to SPGSC with the intention that it could then progress to the Board of Studies meeting in November. There were currently a number of other Singapore initiatives at the planning stage and members of SPGSC felt strongly that in future colleagues should be given adequate time to prepare the required documentation for these new ventures. There should also be sufficient time available to undertake proper market research and costing exercises.

5.4 The members of SPGSC concluded that at this stage they could not approve the proposal. The committee considered that until guarantees had been received that appropriate resources would be in place, the proposal could not be approved. Although SPGSC recognised that its remit did not cover resource matters, it felt that there was a danger that the academic integrity of both the new and existing programmes would be jeopardised if resources were spread too thinly. Only once these matters had been resolved, could the committee properly assess the academic merits of the proposal. [Action: SPGSC comments to be forwarded to the School Planning and Resource Committee]

6. MSc Management Training and Development – Programme Review and Revision When this programme had been reviewed in 2010/11, its content and structure had been amended and 15 SCQF credit points were allocated to each of its taught courses. However, under current University guidelines, courses are not normally weighted at 15 credit points. Following discussions with the Dean and the Secretary to the College Postgraduate Studies Committee, it was agreed to reconfigure the courses into 10 and 20 credit point courses. It was noted that students are now required to take courses amounting to 70 credit points in semester one and 50/60 credit points in semester two. The programme team was aware that this loading might cause difficulties for students and were actively seeking ways in which they could lessen the imbalance.

7. PGDE Primary Course Proposal: Preparing for Teaching, Early and First Level Education EDUA 10112M

7.1 The committee welcomed this proposal being forwarded to SPGSC for consideration. It noted that it was in line with recommendations arising from the PGDE programme reviews held in 2008 to incorporate some Masters level credit courses within those programmes. SPGSC further noted that at least one of the PGDE’s competitors had already introduced Masters level credits to its programme and that there was concern that the Edinburgh programme should not lose ground. However members of the committee voiced a number concerns over this proposal in its present form.

7.2 The committee asked why the proposal was being made now, at a time when the outcome of the Donaldson review was being planned. It would be helpful to have more information on the timing. The committee also agreed that it would be helpful to have a full overview or plan of how the construction of an MSc would work, and when and how students would take the different components. The committee wanted to see a table indicating where the level of teaching and learning shifted from level 10 to level 11. What would the gap comprise?

7.3 The committee questioned the appropriateness of choosing this particular course, Preparing for Teaching, Early and First Level Education (EDUA 10112) to raise to Masters level. This was the first course taken by students on entering the programme and consequently it contained much which was introductory and relatively basic. The committee was not convinced that the course was sufficiently challenging to warrant level 11 credits. It accepted that entry to the PGDE Primary programme was competitive, that its students


were typically well qualified with a high level of commitment to further study and that some may already be performing at Masters level. However, Masters students in the School’s other programmes were not afforded the luxury of this introductory approach and were expected to work at Masters level from the outset.

7.4 Furthermore, it was not clear how many credits the course would carry nor was it clear what would happen if students did not pass the course at level 11 standard. Would it be possible for them to then be assessed at level 10 in order that they still achieved a pass in the course albeit it at a different level? If that was the case, then it would be important that there was a clear differentiation in the criteria for a pass at level 11 and a pass at level 10.

7.5 It was further noted that at present none of the Masters credits achieved on the PGDE programmes could be used in APL applications. The committee felt that if students were awarded Masters credits (and expected to work to that level) it was essential that those credits had currency and were transferable. The paper noted that 40% would constitute a level 11 pass for this course; but a pass below 50% would be at a level deemed as “a satisfactory performance for the diploma and certificate, but inadequate for a masters degree” (CMS4: Taught Postgraduate Assessment Mark) and therefore the credits could not contribute towards a Masters degree.

8. Postgraduate Programme Review: Timetable

8.1 The Convener thanked all those who had responded regarding her request for information on the timing of the most recent reviews of all programmes. It was clear that a substantial number of programmes should be reviewed before the College Postgraduate Programme Review of the Graduate School’s portfolio of taught Masters’ programmes in 2013/14. Where programmes shared a significant number of courses, then they would be reviewed in parallel. It was agreed that it might be helpful to have a training session run by those programme leaders who had recently experienced a review. [Action: Convener to discuss with recently reviewed programme leaders]

8.2 It was noted that despite the substantial amount of work involved, preparing for and writing review documentation was not included in the School’s workload model. Programme leaders who had recently been reviewed were requested to forward to the Convener and the School’s Director of Quality Assurance, an estimate of how much time they had spent preparing for programme review. [Action: Relevant programme leaders to forward information to Convener and Director of QA]

9. A.O.C.B.

9.1 Timing of Semester 1 examination for MSc Strength and Conditioning

A semester 1 examination for this programme clashed with a major event organised for Strength and Conditioning students and for which they had received external funding. Registry was unable to change the date of the examination (12 December) but had agreed that it could be held in-house at the School of Education on 5 December provided that there was agreement from the external examiner, Postgraduate Dean of College and the School Postgraduate Committee. The committee added its approval to that already received from the external examiner and Postgraduate Dean of College. [Action: Programme leader to make necessary arrangements for examination to be held on 5 December]


10. PG Admissions and Application Figures 2011

10.1 The committee noted the final number of fully matriculated entrants onto programmes for 2011/12. There may still be a small number who are not fully matriculated. It was noted


that several programmes had exactly the same number of entrants in 2011/12 as for 2010/11. The programme leader for MSc TESOL believed that the final number of students on it in 2011/12 was 251.

10.2 Transfers to a different programme after week 5 of the semester had not been permitted. Students who withdrew from their programme before week 4 of semester normally received a discretionary refund of their full tuition fees. Students withdrawing after this date usually received only a 40% refund.

10.3 Applications for 2012/13 were already being received. The Admissions team would start working on these from Monday 24 October.

11. Concessions Report

The committee noted the extensions and interruptions of study approved for postgraduate students in the School of Education.

12. PhD Results in the School of Education

The committee noted the results of 5 PhD examinations which had recently taken place in the School of Education.

13. Accreditation of Prior Learning/Advanced Standing Applications The application in this tabled paper was approved.

Ms Lesley Rowand