Monthly Archives: February 2022

Industrial action

Industrial Action Update

From Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education and Student Experience

Thank you for your patience throughout both last week’s campus closure due to Storm Eunice and the recent strike days at Kent. This is due to continue with a further three days of strike action planned next week. While we do not always know in advance what the impact of this will be, wherever possible we will let you know about class cancellations that might affect you.  

Marking and Assessment Boycott  

Alongside this, our local UCU branch has also announced its intention to begin an additional period of industrial action alongside the strike days, with a marking and assessment boycott beginning on Thursday 3 March. If this does take place, it would mean that some UCU members at Kent may not share the results of any assessments that are scheduled during the boycott.  

We greatly regret this, and are doing all we can to come to an agreement with the local UCU to avoid this additional action taking place.  

What this means for you  

It is one of our guiding principles that no student will be disadvantaged by industrial action. Although it is difficult at the moment to predict the effects that this local action might have, we will put in place mitigation where we can to allow your studies to continue as smoothly as possible.   

We will also provide a further update and detailed Q+A ahead of the local action starting, with more on the background to the dispute and what we are doing about it. This will include detail on the support available to you, with more information on the student industrial action webpages.  

Kent Union is also running a series of student consultations about this action to make sure they can represent students’ views throughout – these start on Monday 28 February, with more information about them on the Kent Union website.   

With all good wishes,  


Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education and Student Experience

Old family photo of South Asian family (provided by student EDI Officer Becky Lamyman).

South Asian Heritage Week: Seeking your family stories

Did your family come to Britain from South Asia in the 30s, 40s, 50s or later? Are you proud of both your British and South Asian heritage? Do you have a family history and story that you would love to share?

South Asian Heritage Week is being celebrated for the first time at Kent from the 28 March to the 1 April.

Alongside an exciting programme of events and activities taking place, we are looking to create an oral history exhibition exploring the culture and heritage of our British South Asian students and staff and are looking for students and staff participants. 

We are looking for stories and photographs showcasing family life, both in South Asian and in Britain, from the first day at school to the last day at work, from going on holiday to a family celebration.

We are particularly interested in the migration stories of your grandparents or great-grandparents, told either with their words or the words of other family members about their journey to Britain.

Key questions to explore could be:

  • How did you come to Britain?
  • Why did you choose to come to Britain?
  • What were your expectations versus reality?

We will be turning your family heritage into a display in Keynes Atrium to run throughout the duration of the week.  You can submit your stories either as a word document or as an oral recording.

The featured image in this story is a family photo from our Student EDI Officer Becky Lamyman, showing her grandmother, mother and uncles. We’d love to see your family photos too.

We are very interested in photos, including those of family life both in South Asian and in Britain right up to modern day. These can be submitted independently of a story if preferred.  Please submit these in a digital format with a relevant caption. 

If anyone is interested in writing a blog post about their memories, identity, family traditions or any other topic then these would also be most welcome.

Please do ensure that you have permission from the relevant family members to share the stories and pictures.

If you are interested in taking part, or if you want more information, please contact Becky Lamyman, Student EDI Officer on for a participation form. 

The deadline for all entries is Wednesday 9 March 2022.

Join Professor Dame Jane Francis for the latest in the Stephen Gray lecture series (March 23)

Join us on March 23 from 16:00 for the latest in the Stephen Gray lecture series.

The Stephen Gray Lectures are a series of talks named after one of Canterbury’s most prominent scientists. Gray had a broad range of interests spanning from solar astronomy to palaeontology but he is best known for his seminal experiments demonstrating electrical conduction and insulation (1729). The lecture takes place annually at the University of Kent’s main campus in Canterbury. It is organised by the university’s Division of Natural Sciences.

This March the series bring to you a talk by Professor Dame Jane Francis. This free hybrid event will be held on Zoom and in person (Covid permitting) with an opportunity to put forward your questions. Join us on March 23 from 16:00-17:30. During this public talk Dame Jane will discuss the topics of ‘Greenhouse to Icehouse: fossils of forests and dinosaurs amid icesheets of Antarctica’.

Submit your questions for Professor Dame Jane Francis

After the lecture, Professor Francis will be joined by a panel of experts from the University of Kent for a round-table discussion of questions posed by audience members. If you have questions for our panel of for Professor Francis, you can forward them to in advance of the event. There will also be the opportunity to ask questions during the event itself.

About Professor Dame Jane Francis

Professor Francis is Director of the British Antarctic Survey, a research centre of the Natural Environment Research Council (UKRI-NERC). She is involved with international polar organisations, such as the Antarctic Treaty and European Polar Board, and on several advisory boards of national polar programmes.

Jane Francis is a geologist by training, with research interests in past climate change. She has undertaken research projects at the universities of Southampton, London, Leeds and Adelaide, using fossil plants to determine the change from greenhouse to icehouse climates in the Polar Regions over the past 100 million years. She has undertaken over 15 scientific expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica in search of fossil forests.

Jane was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (DCMG) in recognition of services to UK polar science and diplomacy. She was also awarded the UK Polar Medal by H.M. The Queen is Chancellor of the University of Leeds, and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Tickets for this event are free, and you can book an in-person or virtual ticket on our Eventbrite page:

Darren Griffin is raising money for infertility by running many, many miles!

Professor Darren Griffin is raising money for the Donor Conception Network and Fertility Network UK by running… A LOT! Darren is a self-professed non athlete, but is challenging himself for these amazing causes.

Infertility affects 1 in 6 people of reproductive age all over the world. The Fertility Network UK is a unique national charity that provides free support for people experiencing fertility related issues. The charity has been running for over 2 years and provides a sorely needed, unbiased service that helps people deal with the repercussions of infertility.

The Donor Conception Network is a supportive charity network for families with children conceived with donated sperm, eggs, and embryos; alongside those thinking about, or undergoing donor conception procedures and for donor conceived people themselves. The Target:

  • The Brighton Marathon on April 10th
  • 9x5K park runs – 3 down 7 to go!
  • 2 half marathons the first February 27th!!!!!
  • 10 miles race – Completed in Canterbury
  • 3x10km runs – One is Ashford already down!
  • Virtual walk “Lands End to John O’ Groats” – 400 miles done!

Dig deep into your pockets, dive behind the sofa and support Darren to reach his target.

Follow Darren on social media as the plan unfolds and use the hashtag #NextGenFertility.


Discussion with Kent Refugee Action Network on 23 February

23 February, 15:00-17:00, Grimond Seminar Room 1 – Workshop and Discussion with Kent Refugee Action Network. 

Recently awarded the Hans Albrecht Foundation Human Rights Award 2022, Kent Refugee Action Network (KRAN) work with separated young refugee and asylum seekers who have arrived in Kent alone and are claiming asylum. At this workshop, Dr Razia Shariff (CEO, KRAN) and Osama (a KRAN Youth Ambassador) will talk about the organisation’s core work and about their current efforts to counter the incoming Nationality and Borders Bill.  

Dr Razia Shariff has over 25 years of experience working in senior management in the third sector in London and Kent for arts regeneration, training providers, community empowerment networks and development trusts. She was previously Head of the Knowledge Exchange Team of the ESRC Third Sector Research Centre. She has held several trustee roles for women’s charities.  

Osama is one of the first Youth Ambassadors at KRAN. Originally Syrian, he has been in KRAN as a service user and later as an employee for over three years. He is studying Computer Science. 


Volunteering opportunity: help make education fairer!

CoachBright are looking for Kent students to work with school pupils from low-income backgrounds to help them improve their grades, confidence and access to university.

As we navigate life in a post-covid world, it’s more important than ever that our most disadvantaged pupils are getting the support they need. Join us to help make education fairer!

It’s just one session a week for a total of 15 hours of tutoring. You’ll get full training in how to coach and will be paired with pupils and work together in an academic subject of your choice.

By volunteering with us, you will…

  • Gain transferable skills in leadership, communication and relationship building.
  • Gain experience in education and working with young people
  • Get a formal student leadership accreditation to show for it
  • Points towards university student awards
  • Choose to work with Primary school, GCSE or A level students.
  • Gain references and help with your future steps!

Apply online today.

Any questions? Please get in touch! Email


Wellbeing Wednesday: Postgraduate Support

We have lots of support on offer to postgraduate students to help you improve your wellbeing and make the most of your time at Kent.

Mental health support

Our team of mental health experts includes mental health advisers, counsellors and mentors, who can help you with issues such as stress, anxiety, depression and relationship difficulties.

We have a free and confidential counselling service where you can talk about whatever is troubling you or causing you emotional distress, even if it’s nothing to do with university.

Spectrum Life is available on weekdays from 20.00-8.00, weekends and bank holidays. They can work with you in getting initial support and help during your crisis and the University Student Support and Wellbeing teams will contact you on the next working day.

Kent students can access free, 24/7 online support for issues around mental health and wellbeing via Togetherall. They also have some great online workshops on topics such as assertiveness training, managing post traumatic stress disorder and managing OCD.

Postgraduate community

We have a strong postgraduate community at Kent. You can join the Postgraduate Network as a way to meet other postgrad students.

The Postgraduate Network also act as a voice for postgraduate students, working with the University and Kent Union to make positive change for students doing postgrad study.

Events for postgraduate students

We have lots wellbeing events which are open to all Kent students. Check out the Student Support and Wellbeing event calendar to browse events such as Student Mindfulness, University Community Choir and Wellbeing Café. 

If you’re a PhD student, consider signing up for the Reflect, Recover and Empower workshop on Tuesday 1 March. This workshop allows you to reflect on your pandemic experiences with an expert trainer who can offer practical tools for recovery and enhancing your wellbeing in the future.

Kent Compassion meditation group is run by postgraduate students. They meet every Thursday at Canterbury campus at 17.00 for a guided meditation followed by refreshments. An online meditation also takes place at 19.00 and is available to all. Email Stephen at for more information. The Kent Compassion sessions are supported by the Postgraduate Community Experience Awards.

The Graduate and Researcher College (GRC) and Postgraduate Network run regular postgraduate coffee mornings to help you connect with other postgrad students, meet the GRC team and your PG Network representatives.

Places to study

Having a good working environment can aid your wellbeing. At our Canterbury campus we have the Postgraduate Study Hub in Senate building which is open 24/7 for postgrad students. As well as study spaces and PCs, it offers day lockers, a lounge area and a kitchen with fridge and microwave.

You can also book a free study carrel in the Templeman Library for the day, or if you require one longer time you can rent one out on a monthly or quarterly basis. Find out more about postgraduate study areas.

Postgraduate Open Events

Interested in postgraduate study at Kent? Book onto our Postgraduate Open Events:

  • Wednesday 23 February (online and in person)
  • Saturday 2 April (online and in person)
The Gulbenkian with red flowers at the forefront of the image.

Covid-19 Update: Changes to Covid Restrictions

From Martin Atkinson | Director of HR and Organisational Development

Last night the Prime Minister outlined the Government’s ‘living with Covid’ plan, including an announcement that all legal Covid restrictions in England will end this Thursday. Further changes to testing provision will also follow from 1 April.

This will have a number of implications for us at Kent, with keeping our campuses safe still our key focus as it has been throughout our response to Covid. While we work through the Higher Education-specific guidance, for now all of our current recommendations remain in place – including testing regularly, isolating if you have Covid symptoms, and wearing masks in crowded indoor spaces.

I will be in touch with a further update shortly once we are clear on any changes we need to make in the weeks and months ahead.

With all good wishes,


Martin Atkinson | Director of HR & Organisational Development

Aerial view of Canterbury

Covid-19 Update: Changes to Covid restrictions

From Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education and Student Experience

Last night the Prime Minister outlined the Government’s ‘living with Covid’ plan, including an announcement that all legal Covid restrictions in England will end this Thursday. Further changes to testing will also follow from 1 April. 

We are currently working through what this will mean for us at Kent, with keeping students, staff and visitors safe still our key priority. In the meantime, all of our current recommendations remain in place – including testing regularly, isolating if you have Covid symptoms, and wearing masks in crowded indoor spaces. 

My thanks to all of you for your continued support in our response to Covid, which has been a big part of keeping infections as low as possible throughout. I will be in touch with a further update shortly once we are clear on any changes we need to make in the weeks and months ahead. 

With all good wishes, 

Professor Richard Reece | DVC Education and Student Experience

Loretta Finch wins the Apprenticeship Champion for Covid-19 award

National Apprenticeships Week 2022 (NAW) took place between the 7 – 13 February 2022, the 15th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships.

Bringing businesses and apprentices together

The week brought together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses, and the wider economy.

Build the future

The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2022 was ‘build the future’. This reflected on how apprenticeships can help individuals develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, whilst businesses develop a talented workforce that is equipped with future-ready skills.

Loretta Finch wins the Apprenticeship Champion for Covid-19 award

Loretta Finch is the Employee Apprenticeship Manager and has built employee apprenticeships from nothing over the last 5 years. There is now a well defined process which is used to recruit new staff, provide development roles and aid in personal development for individuals. During NAW, Loretta supplied updates and information on what Kent does via the T&OD teams site and SharePoint to raise further awareness of the benefit of apprentices.

As part of NAW, creative and content agency Pillory Barn organised the East Kent Apprenticeship Awards (EKAA), in partnership with the EKC Group. These awards showcase what is being achieved across the sectors engaged with apprenticeships. It celebrates outstanding apprenticeships, employers and those who go above and beyond to champion these opportunities.

We are pleased to announce Loretta Finch won the Apprenticeship Champion for Covid-19 award! Loretta was recognised for the work she did in supporting breaks in learning, increased the number of apprentices, supported the recruitment and induction of a number of apprentices, refreshed the strategy and ensured the spend of the levy.

This award is well deserved and T&OD hopes you will join us in congratulating Loretta for her outstanding work.

If you would like more information on Apprenticeships please contact Loretta on or take a look at the T&OD Apprenticeship SharePoint page