Don's diary

一月 15, 1999


First day back after the break. I check my email only to discover that a message I sent before Christmas was not delivered. The Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education is in consultation with the Department for Education and Employment over the new student support arrangements. The email was supposed to forward the latest (lengthy) documents to a colleague for comment. Given that the deadline for responses is close, the non-delivery is critical. Attempt to resend, and pray that she will have time to do something with it.

I ring the Student Loan Company to finalise a date for its senior staff to visit Liverpool. I am convinced problems in the past were because of misunderstanding about the differences in culture between universities and what is, in effect, a private sector company. This was brought home to me when I visited the company before Christmas and I hope that a return visit will have a similar effect on them.

Turn my attention to the new nursery I am trying to get off the ground and ring the architect. Before Christmas all was doom and gloom because there were problems with planning permission. It now looks more hopeful and we agree to go out to tender as originally planned.


Meeting with the local consultant in communicable disease control to review last term's activities in relation to meningitis. Agree that our preparations stood us in good stead with the single case of meningococcal septicaemia at the university but we are both aware that if we had a series of cases and/or deaths the situation would be harder to manage. We are confident that we are as prepared as we can be but hope we never have to put it to the test.


The morning is taken up by a training session for about 20 student services staff on issues of confidentiality.

I get back to the office just before 2pm to find a huge list of telephone calls which I need to return. A colleague from the AMOSSHE Steering Group who is organising our next one-day conference (on mental health) wants to know if I will lead one of the workshops. I agree.

Social services have called about the new nursery; not more bad news, I hope. Unfortunately I never find out. There seems to be a fault on the council's phone system and, having disturbed some poor lift engineer in the housing department three times, I give up.

I still have not put AMOSSHE's response to the latest DFEE consultation on paper. There are points we want to raise, for instance, about the documentation students will have to provide when applying for loans. There is an issue too over the amount of discretion local education authorities have in certain circumstances since this can produce anomalies in the way students are treated.

I begin to gather my thoughts when the phone rings; a radio station wants to interview someone about meningitis. I deal with that and get back to the response. I finish it at 5.15pm and then have to fax it.

I run all the way to pick up my three-year-old son from the nursery where he is, once more, the last child left. I resolve that the new nursery should have longer opening hours.

Pamela Bell-Ashe Assistant registrar at the University of Liverpool and chair of AMOSSHE.



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