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Two students studying

This uni has introduced a three-day working week to ‘sit around students’ lives better’

The uni in Leicester hopes this will allow students to get part-time jobs


De Montfort University in Leicester has introduced a three-day uni working week to allow students to get a part-time job whilst at university.

Instead of studying four modules at a time, with two hours of teaching a week on each spread across the week, students will study one module for seven weeks.

This means they will only have lectures, seminars and classes three days a week.

Vice Chancellor Prof Katie Normington said the change “sits around students’ lives better”.

De Montfort University trialled these “compact timetables” last year for half of its courses and is now introducing them across the entire university in September.

With students struggling to manage to survive on loans during the cost of living crisis, more than half of students now have a part-time job at uni with the number rising 45 per cent since 2022. This year, according to UCAS, two-thirds of freshers are expected to get a part-time job to get them through university.

Earlier this year, The Tab reported that almost a third of students skip lectures to save money during the cost of living crisis.

De Montfort’s Vice Chancellor Prof Katie Normington said: “The change allows for more compact timetables and this sits round students’ lives better. A lot of students are working and have other responsibilities, and it makes organisation of that easier. We had great feedback last year from students. Internal surveys show that those on the block-teaching timetable were about 10 per cent happier than those not doing it.”

Universities such as Sunderland, Coventry, Anglia Ruskin and The University of Law also have a compact three-day uni working week.

Coventry University said it will be teaching students at its Dagenham and Greenwich campuses over two and a half days a week as a direct result of the cost of living crisis. John Dishman, pro-vice-chancellor, told The Observer: “People just will not have access to courses unless it is built alongside their ability to work.

“Some people are working nearly five days a week and studying with us the rest of the time. It’s not so much a part-time job as a full-time one.”

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute said: “The increase in the proportion of students who feel compelled to do so many hours of paid employment that their studies may suffer is a particularly acute challenge.

“Those in power should urgently look afresh at the maintenance support on offer to undergraduates. The universities minister said recently that a fee rise was ‘just not going to happen’ because families were already facing cost pressures. But it is not the fees that are the problem to students in relation to cost of living. What affects them is rising rent and the prices in the supermarket and if ministers really cared about that, they’d be raising maintenance loans.”

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