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Student Needs Framework

The Student Needs Framework provides a foundation for considering the re-design of student support services across higher education providers. The project also includes case studies to illustrate how the Framework is being used in practice.

Higher Education Providers (HEPs) want to do the best they can for their students. From the best of motives, the student support landscape has become complicated through the addition of more and more options in the student support ‘menu’, prompted by years of guidance and good practice publications. As a consequence, students can find themselves not knowing where to go to get help and staff may not know how best to support them. Interventions may not be as effective, efficient and joined-up as they could be.

The Student Needs Framework aims to support higher education providers to re-think how they deliver student support by going ‘back to basics’ and considering how their student support offer meets the fundamental needs of students. It has been developed to act as a template for what a re-design could look like and assist HEPs in making decisions about where to start.

We invite members to continue to contribute to the evidence base through contributing case studies and engaging in the AdvanceHE Connect Community (‘Student Support Re-design’).

The Student Needs Framework will be formally launched with additional content and promotional activity later this year.

Read the blog
Professor Edward Peck
The design and delivery of student support is a major priority across the HE sector. While developing the Student Needs Framework, I heard about innovations and plans that will move us all forward on our journey to create more joined up and comprehensive student support ecosystems. I encourage colleagues to consider using the Framework as a collaborative tool to underpin progress and share good practice, to help all of our students succeed during their time in higher education. "

Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor and President, Nottingham Trent University and Higher Education Student Support Champion

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Advance HE has been delighted to collaborate with Edward Peck in his role as the HE Student Support Champion and sector leaders, to provide advice and expertise in generating the Student Needs Framework. This framework will enable all those working in and for the sector to engage in rich dialogue about student support and service re-design. Working with Edward and his team has been a privilege, and we thank him for approaching us to collaborate in producing the Framework. Advance HE are committed to supporting the sector be the best it can be, delivering high quality teaching and excellence across the student journey/lifecycle consistently."

Alison Johns, CEO, Advance HE

Alison Johns

Student Needs Framework

The Student Needs Framework describes the fundamental needs of students. It provides a tool for higher education providers to consider how their current student support offer meets these needs, where there are gaps, overlaps and where better institutional connections are needed.

The Higher Education Student Support Champion working in partnership with the UUK Student Policy Network and Advance HE has designed a framework which provides a starting point for institutional conversations about re-designing student support and supports the mapping of current and future provision in regards to meeting student needs.

The Framework is designed to enable sector-wide dialogue and collaboration, encourage sharing of emerging and established good practice, and facilitate understanding of what works when delivering systematic change.  

Download the framework

Aims of the Framework

The Student Needs Framework was developed as a template for HEPs use to re-think their student support from the perspective of core student ‘needs’; that is, the fundamental needs of students required to help them thrive in higher education.   

The Student Needs Framework can be used as a tool to:

  1. Start conversations within senior teams about what they are trying to achieve through the range of support they offer
  2. Map current interventions across universities
  3. Identify overlaps, gaps, and dependencies in the delivery of student support
student needs framework

Project output: Case Studies

We have asked for case studies from HEPs to demonstrate how they have approached re-designing their student support to meet the needs identified in the Framework. Case studies will follow in due course. 

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Join the community 

Advance HE Connect is our online network that is open to all those who work in HE and provides a space where the sector can share, connect, and collaborate in one place with 20,000 HE peers from 100 countries around the globe.

Through the dedicated Student Support Re-design community, colleagues can connect and discuss their journey of re-designing student support, including how they have implemented the Student Needs Framework.

Join the community

Explore our other student frameworks

The issues impacting on student success are broad and complex, having a shared point of reference and common language to discuss, shape and review policy, process and practice can therefore be an extremely effective way of applying a consistent methodology to leading change. Engaging with our research informed frameworks in combination, will help identify smarter ways of working. This is achieved through identifying synergies between key strategic priorities that all underpin teaching excellence and the aspiration to support student success in its broadest sense.

Access the frameworks
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Development Team

The project has been supported by members of University UK’s Student Policy Network and the following Advance HE staff. 

Sandra Binns

Sandra Binns is the HE Student Support Champion Project Manager, supporting the development and implementation of Professor Edward Peck’s Student Support Champion work. She has been working in HE for over 10 years, focusing largely on sector wide approaches to access, participation and skills agendas.

Stuart Norton, PFHEA

Senior Consultant, Education
Advance HE
Stuart Norton
Stuart has over 18 years’ experience within higher education with extensive experience in designing and developing strategic, institutional-wide change. In his role as Senior Consultant, Education at Advance HE, he focuses on both thought leadership and providing evidence-based solutions to support institutions, educators and students.

Juliette Morgan

Senior Consultant (Student Success)
Advance HE
Juliette Morgan
Juliette Morgan is a National Teaching Fellow and Collaborative Excellence Award winner. Juliette’s current role is Senior Consultant (student success) with Advance HE. Her interests include student success, mental health and wellbeing, student enablement and leadership in Higher Education.