The second annual report calls for students to be seen as equal partners in their education from start to finish, working flexibly, together with tutors, to find the way of learning that suits them best.
Amongst its recommendations, the group particularly looked at the flexibility of universities in the courses they offer and how students can combine qualifications gained in one institution with those gained in another.
However, it emphasised that this flexibility must not come at the cost of excellence, which is as valuable in teaching as it is in research. Students must be confident in the system they are part of and feel confident that they will receive teaching of the highest quality as they embark on their studies.
Ultimately, universities and colleges can only respond to the needs of students by working with them and by giving them the opportunity to design and manage their own learning.
Maeve Sherlock, Chair of the National Student Forum, also specifically urged senior staff and local student unions to use the Forums report as a starting point to work together to help tailor the learning opportunities and support services provided to students and learn from the examples of good practice already identified.
We want to begin a dialogue with students, HE staff and HE sector bodies. This is why our second report is an interactive publication, inviting feedback from staff and students and asking them to provide their own examples of good practice. This is the best way to find out what is happening on the ground and to maintain high standards.
Students invest a good deal of time and money in their higher education. They deserve the best possible academic experience, opportunities to acquire key skills and knowledge, and mechanisms to engage with staff as equal partners in their learning.
Weve examined some important areas for all students, identified what students should reasonably expect and shown how this is already being done in many cases. However, we will only see everyday improvements for students if universities and colleges use our report to review their own arrangements.
The group looked at a wide range of issues as they examined the higher education sector, including teaching and learning, technology-enhanced learning, student accommodation and employability: of particular relevance during an economic downturn.
This years publication has also looked especially at issues affecting postgraduate students; mature and part-time students and disabled students.
Receiving the report, Lord Young, Minister for Students, re-iterated the call for the sector to work together in partnership.
The Forum has produced another excellent report, which examines the issues that are most important to students themselves.
We need to work together, Government, universities and students, to identify how we can maintain a system that provides the best possible experience for those who are studying. Teaching and learning are obviously central to this but we also want to make sure that students everyday concerns are heard and answered.
Todays students are tomorrows workforce and the National Student Forum is invaluable in raising the issues that matter to them. I have appreciated, as always, the opportunity to engage with the sector and to feed comments back to the work we do in Government.