carries out the National Student Survey and why?
The National Student Survey (NSS) is being carried
out by Ipsos MORI, an independent research agency.
Ipsos MORI is registered under the terms of the Data
Protection Act and has a legal obligation to ensure
that confidentiality of your personal information is
The NSS is carried out by Ipsos MORI but is
commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council
for England (HEFCE). HEFCE is a non-departmental
government body, which exercises certain statutory
functions under the Further & Higher Education
Act 1992 (FHE Act 1992). The NSS forms part of
HEFCE's legal requirement under this Act to ensure
the quality of higher education in the universities
and colleges it funds.
HEFCE has also commissioned the survey on behalf of
the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
(HEFCW), the Department for Employment and Learning,
Northern Ireland (DELNI) and Health Education
England. These bodies will also use the survey
results in the exercise of their statutory functions
and HEFCE may share student information, or parts of
it, with them.
HEFCE, HEFCW and DELNI have a statutory role in
ensuring the quality of teaching in higher education
is assessed, and HEFCE and its partners believe that
students' views should form an important part of the
assessment. In addition, the National Union of
Students (NUS) is a partner in the survey.
is the purpose of the NSS?
The higher education bodies, students' unions and
the government have agreed that there should be a
regular national survey of students to obtain their
views on the quality of the teaching, assessment,
and support experienced. The NSS is an annual survey
that gives students the opportunity to provide
feedback on their student learning experience.
The NSS also aims to assist future generations of
higher education students in their key choices of
what and where to study, by allowing them to see
anonymous feedback on subjects and institutions. It
surveys students at higher education institutions in
England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and
students studying higher education courses in
directly-funded further education colleges in
England and Wales. Results are publicly available
each year via Unistats.
HEFCE may, from time to time, engage other
non-statutory bodies or agents to carry out
functions on their behalf. HEFCE has appointed Ipsos
MORI to carry out this survey. HEFCE has requested
student contact details from higher education
institutions and further education colleges to be
passed to Ipsos MORI in order to be able to conduct
this survey. HEFCE, the statutory authority, will
retain control of any personal data transferred
under contract with Ipsos MORI. For the purposes of
the NSS, Ipsos MORI is acting as survey agent on
behalf of HEFCE. HEFCE has a data protection
agreement in place with Ipsos MORI, which provides
the necessary protection under the law to protect
students' information. For example, they are
forbidden under contract with HEFCE from using the
NSS data they have for any other purpose.
Student contact details and the results of the
survey supplied in hardcopy form directly to HEFCE
or any of its agents will be kept for a maximum of
twelve months for audit purposes and will be
destroyed at the end of that period.
Your personal data will be used for the purposes of
the NSS only. When the survey is completed, all
student contact details will be destroyed, and Ipsos
MORI will remove all other student data from their
computer systems and transfer it to HEFCE. HEFCE
will retain these data for the purposes stated
out of the survey
Participation in this research is voluntary. A
student can opt out of the survey at anytime, but
Ipsos MORI does ask that they provide verification
of their identity (by confirming their date of
birth) to ensure that the correct details are
removed from the database. It is important
that students provide their date of birth to verify
their identity so that the NSS provides robust data
for potential students and their advisors to make
informed choices. If a student opts out at any stage
all personal information (contact details, date of
birth etc) will be securely and permanently deleted
and they will not be contacted by Ipsos MORI again.
will the information provided be used?
Your responses to this survey will be used solely
for research purposes only. Your participation in
this research, together with your individual
responses to the questions will be kept strictly
confidential by Ipsos MORI. The results of this
research will be anonymous, statistical information
only, and we can assure you that you will NOT be
identifiable in any published results.
We can assure you that any information you provide
during this research will NOT be used for marketing,
nor will we sell or pass on your information to any
If you have any questions about this research,
please contact the research team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
of the survey
HEFCE and the above bodies will use the results of
the survey for the following purposes:
- To publish aggregated and anonymised results of
the survey in the following ways:
- Published 'in context'
on the websites of universities and colleges via
a KIS 'widget'. This is a small graphic with
three pieces of information from the KIS,
specifically about the course/JACS subject the
user is viewing.
- Published on the new
Unistats website that enables users to search
and compare both KIS and Unistats data.
Data is also envisaged to be available via the
UCAS course search tool (Course Finder), which
will incorporate the KIS data so users can view
the data at the same time as viewing the courses
they are interested in applying to.
- For analysis. This may
result in the release of data, including any open
comments that you may make, to HEFCE approved
users (on behalf of the other funding councils)
such as academic researchers and sector
organisations for the purpose of conducting
analysis or research with the aim of enhancing
quality within Higher Education. HEFCE will retain
control of the data under contract with such users
or if that user is subcontracting, we will require
they have the same controls. Reports will only
present anonymised and aggregated data.
- To provide summary
feedback to individual institutions and students'
unions. These data will be provided to
institutions and students' unions to help them
identify how they can make improvements. This
summary feedback will be aggregated and
anonymised, ensuring no individual student can be
identified. These results may include the text of
any comments that students provide at the end of
the questionnaire. This text will not be
attributed to individuals and students are advised
to avoid making comments that could enable them to
be individually identified, name individuals or
make references that could identify an
individual. Although names have been removed from the NSS feedback it may still be possible for those working at an HEI to identify themselves and colleagues. Therefore, such information may be personal data and HEIs should bear this in mind when processing the data.
any of the above bodies will not use student records
in a way that would affect individual students.
HEFCE, the statutory authority, will retain control
of any personal data transferred under contract with
questions and institution specific questions
In 2013 some institutions will be asking their
students additional institution-specific questions.
This will be via the online methodology only. This
will provide additional confidential feedback to
institutions. HEFCE and the above bodies will use
the information for the following purposes:
- To provide summary
feedback to individual institutions and students'
unions. This data will be provided to institutions
to help them identify how they can make
- For statistical analysis.
This may result in the release of data to other
approved users, which may include academic
researchers. HEFCE will retain control of the data
under contract with such users or if that user is
subcontracting, we will require they have the same
controls. Reports will only present anonymised and
- These data will not be
published via the Unistats web-site.
- Institutions may use the
results of the optional scale questions (this will
include the institution specific question and
optional question banks) publicly, should they
wish, in marketing and publicity materials.
However, the following principles must apply:
- If results are to be
used in this way, the publication thresholds of
50% response rate and 23 responses must be
- Free text comments
should not be used in publicly available
materials in order to preserve the anonymity of
- Institutions should not
report these results as NSS results.
comments / complaints about the NSS
Ipsos MORI, HEFCE and the above bodies are committed
to continuously improving the NSS. Should you have a
question, comment and/or complaint about this
research please contact Ipsos MORI at email@example.com
Or by letter sent to: National Student Survey, Ipsos
MORI, Kings House, Kymberley Road, Harrow, HA1 1PT
If you have any questions or require further
data protection laws or information we hold about
you, please contact our Compliance Department. They
can be contacted by email at:firstname.lastname@example.org
with 12-052746-01 NSS 2013 as the subject
Or by letter sent to: Ref: 12-052746-01 NSS 2013,
Compliance Department, Ipsos MORI UK Ltd, 79 - 81
Borough Road, London, SE1 1FY
rights under the Data Protection Act 1998
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have the
right to a copy of the data held about you by HEFCE,
for a small fee. If you have any concerns about the
use of data for these purposes or would like a copy
of the data supplied directly to us, please contact
HEFCE by emailing email@example.com,
or by writing to the Data Protection Officer, HEFCE,
Northavon House, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QD.
does Ipsos MORI ensure your personal information
is held securely?
We take very seriously our responsibilities to keep
your personal information secure. As such we take
every reasonable precaution to ensure your
information is protected from loss, theft or misuse.
These precautions include appropriate physical
security of our offices, controlled access to
computer systems, and use of secure, encrypted
internet connections when collecting personal
As part of our commitment to the security of your
information, Ipsos MORI has regular internal and
external audits of its information security, and is
registered to the International Standard for
Information Security, ISO 27001:2005.