Student Services News

News from the Student Services Centre (Carrington Building)

Month: October 2016

The University’s Prevent Duty obligations

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places an obligation on the University to “in the exercise of its functions, have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

This is known as the Prevent duty. Whilst we are committed to maintaining a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of our university community, encouraging debate and discussion, and upholding freedom of speech, it has to be balanced with the legal obligations placed upon us.

UEB has approved two new policies relating to the Prevent Duty. These are:

It is a requirement as part of our Prevent duties that we provide training for key staff, and as such this is in the process of being organised for the University’s Leadership Group.

You can read more about the University’s Prevent Policy here.

Teaching Excellence Framework: what you need to know

The University is taking part in the national trial of the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in 2017, along with the vast majority of other institutions.

This is the government’s new rating system, aiming to give applicants and existing undergraduates clear information on teaching quality, including comparisons with other institutions.

We are preparing our submission for the January 2017 deadline, working with RUSU. The trial results for each university are expected to be published in May 2017.

We will make decisions on entering future TEF exercises from 2018 onwards, following the government’s own detailed evaluation and review by next autumn.

The measures being trialled are based on student satisfaction, retention rates and employment data. The submission will be assessed by expert panels including student and employer representatives.

The University Executive Board agrees with the TEF’s principle but is clear the model being piloted needs significant development before being fully introduced. It is working with other universities, NUS and RUSU on how best to do this.

To find out more about TEF, visit our Q&A page.

Be aware: reports of suspicious vehicles

It has come to the attention of the Security services that there have been recent reports of suspicious vehicles, both on and off campus. There have been reports of vehicles following students, particularly females.

Students are advised to take extra care on and around campus, particularly now that the evenings are getting darker.
Security and the Police are remaining vigilant in order to identify any suspicious behaviour from vehicles around campus.

If students suspect anything unusual, they should call Security (0118 378 6300) or the Police.

Here is some other information that might be useful:

– The University’s dedicatedchaperone service
– The Security Services website
– Read our article on your personal safety

Update: water main repairs from 7:00pm, Monday 10 October

Thames Water have confirmed that water main repair work will start at 7:00pm on Monday 10 October. As part of the repair work Thames Water may need to turn off our water supply from 10:00pm onwards this evening – as a result the water supply to Whiteknights campus will be at risk until approximately 4:00am, Tuesday 11 October.

Following on from the potential water main issue identified on Friday 7 October, Thames Water have confirmed that repair work to the water main will start at 7:00pm on Monday 10 October.

As part of the repair work Thames Water may need to turn off our water supply from 10:00pm onwards this evening – as a result the water supply to Whiteknights campus will be at risk until approximately 4:00am, Tuesday 11 October.

In order to accommodate the works Chancellors Way will close from 7:00pm Monday 10 October until 7:00am Tuesday 11 October. Buses will be diverted from Chancellors Way to Queens Drive and a temporary bus stop will be situated opposite Whiteknights House for buses travelling towards Reading (Claret 21 and 21a services).

Bus services running towards Lower Earley will not be affected.

As a precautionary measure, the Library will close at midnight on Monday 10 October and will reopen at 8:30am on Tuesday 11 October.

We’re working closely with Thames Water to minimise any potential disruption to Whiteknights campus. Repair works taking place overnight may affect the non-residential buildings on the Whiteknights House side of the lake. The works should not affect buildings towards Earley Gate, the halls on the main campus, Park House Bar, the SportsPark and Sports Pavilion.

We will keep you updated if any new information becomes available.

Alternative study spaces during Library refurbishment












Our Library has begun its £40 million transformation into a state-of-the-art centre for learning and development.

Key improvements will be the creation of extra space for individual and group study, enhanced borrowing and lending services, better access and building security, and a significant reduction in  energy usage and carbon emissions.

We’re taking measures to minimise disruption wherever possible – the Library will stay open for the entire refurbishment project, and all books will remain available inside the building.

A project of this scale means that noisy works will be unavoidable at times. The loudest phases of work will cease by 10:00am, but there may be times where sound may carry across various parts of the building. Library staff will be able to advise on noisy works on a day-to-day basis.

As a precaution, we have identified alternative areas across our Whiteknights and London Road campuses that should be available during the autumn term for quiet study*.

Do I really need to leave the Library? 

If you encounter noise inside the Library, there are several things you could try first before choosing to relocate. The University and RUSU advise the following:

  1. Move desks or floors: Many areas within the Library will remain quiet even when work is being carried out. You may find that moving to an area in the opposite direction of noise or to a different floor will be much quieter and easier to work in. Ask our Library staff for recommendations on where to go.
  2. Close any nearby windows: Work taking place on another floor may sound much closer if windows are left open – something as simple as closing a window can make a huge difference to how far sound travels.
  3. Take a break: Use noisy outbursts as an opportunity to take a break – you may find that noisy work has stopped by the time you return to your studies. Being hungry or thirsty can also affect your concentration, making you more susceptible to distractions – grab a snack and take a few minutes out!
  4. Adjust your study routine: Altering the time you use the Library to study may make a difference too. Instead of visiting during the afternoon for instance, why not alter your routine so that you use the Library in the evening instead?

Try experimenting with different tactics first before choosing to study in an alternative location – relatively small changes can make a real difference to your study experience.

List of alternative spaces

A list of alternative space has been prepared to highlight rooms available for quiet study.

Please check details given alongside each room in case any conditions apply. Locations featured on the list can be checked against our Whiteknights and London Road campus maps.

You may also find our live list of available PCS helpful in choosing where to study.

Introducing Study@TOB2

Brought to you in conjunction with RUSU, The Study@TOB2 is a brand new area created within the converted music practice rooms in TOB 2, Earley Gate.

The Study@TOB2 provides an additional 64 spaces for individual and group study. The study area includes a printer, full Wi-Fi and plenty of plugs for laptops. The study area is very convenient for students based at Bridges and Wessex Halls, as well as those studying in TOBs 1 and 2, Harry Pitt, Agriculture, Psychology and Meteorology. Access is open to all registered students holding a campus card.

Please see RUSU’s guide to The Study@TOB2 for further details.

Don’t forget that in addition to The Study@TOB2 RUSU also provide extra space at The Study, which is situated behind the Students’ Union building near Car Park 4.

Free Room Finder

Need to find a room quickly? We’ve created Free Room Finder, a handy website that provides details of rooms suitable for quiet study.

This application provides information on rooms which are available for immediate use by students for ad-hoc study activities, and is intended to aid in the discovery of suitable rooms.

Simply choose the area of campus you wish to search in and let the finder do the rest.

Treatment of spaces

We are sure you already do this, but if you choose to use another part of the University for your studies, please be sure to treat each space with respect.

Spaces within each building will be available on a first-come first-served basis; however, priority will be given to students wanting to use alternative study space within their subject-area building. So, for example, a Classics student will have priority over a Biological Sciences student wanting to use a Classics space within the HumSS building on a particularly busy day.

As the autumn term is underway, don’t forget that some of these areas may be used for teaching or other departmental needs at certain times.

Please read our Classroom Rules before using any of the rooms suggested.

If you encounter problems when using any of the alternative study spaces you may report these to the Library at who will refer the issue on to the School/Department or other manager of the space.

Further information on our Library refurbishment project can be found at

*spaces available subject to teaching timetabling and departmental use. 

Bicycle theft: new ‘D Locks’ available

A message from Security Services:

It would seem that bike thieves are operating in the area, including the University.

This month has seen a rise in Bicycle theft, with 3 x reports of stolen cycles.

The thefts are mainly of cycles that were secured with a cable style lock.

Security would like to remind students, that a “D “ Lock is still the best deterrent when securing your cycle.

The “D” Lock is much harder to remove and takes more time, therefore exposing any would be thief to passers-by, who may then report any suspicious activity to Security

You can now buy a “D Lock “ from the Campus Central shop for only £11:99

If you do see anyone acting suspicious around any of the cycle racks;

  • Please do not approach them
  • Call security as soon as it’s safe to do so, and we will attend.


2026: TRANSFORM programme information sessions for students and staff

The University will be hosting information presentations on the 2026: TRANSFORM capital Investment programme on Wednesday 12 October. 

Two presentations will be held in the newly refurbished Van Emden Lecture Theatre- one for students and one for staff.

If you’d like to attend the student presentation, details are as follows:

  • 1:00pm–1:55pm, Van Emden Lecture Theatre, HumSS Building.

The presentation will provide an overview of the programme’s key projects; the Library refurbishment, the URS Building redevelopment, the creation of the Chancellors building, the Henley Business School Complex, and the creation of the new Health and Life Sciences Building.

The sessions will be useful for all who wish to find out more about each individual project and the University’s ambitious programme as a whole.

For further information on the programme, please see our dedicated 2026: TRANSFORM mini site.


Illustration of plans for the Health and Life Sciences Building

Library Refurbishment: work late September/early October

Until Sunday 9 October 2016, the most noticeable aspects of Library refurbishment work will be focused around preparing to demolish the old glass-fronted staircase, now enclosed by hoarding walls on all floors. However, all Library services are operating as usual.

Outside the Library, activity focuses within the closed-off contractor area, fitting out new office space. If you’re travelling around this area please be mindful of your surroundings.

For more details on construction works please see the floor-by-floor work plan and our contractor’s newsletter for more.

As usual, the noisiest work will cease by 10:00am. Please ask Library staff where to find study areas furthest away from current works.

Don’t forget that there will be plenty of other spaces available across the Library that will be much quieter than those next to areas of concentrated work- please ask a member of our Library team for information.

See our dedicated Library refurbishment and 2026: TRANSFORM pages for further details

Work currently focuses on preparing to demolish the glass-fronted staircase.

Work currently focuses on preparing to demolish the glass-fronted staircase.

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