Have your say on the Oxford Brookes academic calendar

Student in a lecture

In recent months, a project team at Oxford Brookes has been thinking about ways to make the academic calendar work better for students, staff and the University as a whole and we want your views.

The features of the University calendar - semester dates, teaching blocks, exam periods and holidays - may seem like they are set in stone but there is always room for improvement. In recent months, a project team at Oxford Brookes has been thinking about ways to make the academic calendar work better for students, staff and the University as a whole.

What is the project about?

The project is called Shape of the Academic Year (SAY). Its aim has been to review the current calendar and see how it can be improved.

Earlier this year, the project team gathered feedback from over 200 people. This raised some common themes. For example, many staff and students mentioned the intensity of Semester 1, asked for better breaks or suggested introducing mid-semester development or preparation weeks for students.

On the basis of that feedback, 18 draft calendars were proposed, of which two have now been shortlisted for wider consultation (in addition to the current calendar as a ‘change nothing’ option).

This is an important stage of the project, which is why we are asking you to consider the selected calendars and complete a survey to let the project team know which one you like best.

How will this benefit students?

There isn’t a ‘perfect’ shape of the academic year, but each of the proposed new options has some clear benefits and addresses issues highlighted in previous feedback. These benefits may include giving you more time to consolidate learning, prepare for exams, enrich your studies or relax during the holiday periods.

By taking part in the survey, you will have a say on what your new academic calendar might look like and help improve the experience for future Brookes students and staff. 

How do I take part?

Step 1

Take a look at this table, which compares each calendar (called options A, B and C - option A is the current calendar). The table shows the most important features of the University’s teaching blocks, assessment and marking periods, and holidays. It highlights where they differ and where they would stay the same.

There is also a project Google Site that you can look at for more information. It includes a handy Google Sheet showing the calendars side by side (with 2022-23 used as an example year) and a much more detailed descriptions document highlighting the pros and cons of each calendar.

Step 2

Once you have familiarised yourself with the calendar options and feel ready to give feedback, please complete this Google Form survey. You will be asked to pick your first-choice calendar (giving a reason for doing so), followed by your second and third choices. You will also have the opportunity to give any feedback or suggestions you might have about the calendars.

The survey will stay open until Friday 13 October.

What happens next?

Feedback from the survey will be taken into account alongside other important factors (including financial modelling) as part of the calendar selection process. The calendar offering the best balance of benefits (which may be an amended version of option A, B or C) will be presented with a business case at a future meeting of the University’s decision-making Academic Board.

There is no fixed date for introducing any new calendar, but it is likely to be 2025-26 at the earliest.