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Inns of Court student presidents write to BPP over teaching concerns

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Group express solidarity with BPP Law School bar and GDL students experiencing ‘systemic deficiencies’ this term

The presidents of the Inns of Court student associations have written to BPP University Law School about what they describe as “systemic deficiencies” with the teaching this term.

In a joint letter, the student presidents of the four Inns, Gray’s Inn, Inner Temple, Lincoln’s Inn and Middle Temple, who study at different providers to BPP, express their “unwavering solidarity” with fellow members “negatively impacted” by the quality of teaching on BPP’s Bar Course and Graduate Diploma in Law.

The group explain in the letter that over the last few weeks they have been made aware of a number of grievances articulated by BPP students, and have been “shocked” to learn how commonly and extensively the issues have been experienced by students across the law school’s campuses. It is unclear exactly how many BPP students expressed their concerns.

The presidents, who are all current bar course students, have now stepped in on their behalf to demand BPP address, with immediate effect, three broad issues that have been raised as “serious causes of concern”. These include the quality of online teaching during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown period; the proximity of a “challenging” bar exam to those set centrally by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and the conditions in which it will be conducted; and the “inconsistency” of messages received by BPP students from senior members of staff.

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Within the context of online teaching this academic year, the group outline concerns including class sizes, issues with IT and a lack of hard copy course materials. On the latter point, the group claims that many students did not receive hard copies of essential practitioners texts Blackstone’s or White Book. Although available online, they assert that these would be easier to work from in printed form ahead of this month’s centralised assessments, one of which adopts an “open-book” format.

They also allege that last week the first of two civil litigation exams was stopped five minutes in due to some bar students receiving the incorrect paper. “Many students have expressed their frustration about the unnecessary disruption to an already highly pressurised exam,” they write. “By contrast, we have not received any complaints from students at other course providers about the delivery of their BSB exams last week.” The group continues:

“It is gravely concerning that every major cause of concern this term has stemmed from our Inns’ members studying at one of BPP’s campuses. The breadth and frequency of complaints has led us to the conclusion that there are systemic deficiencies in the way BPP has approached the provision of its teaching this academic year.”

They go on to say that they will enter into discussions with the regulator should BPP be unwilling to address the issues.

BPP University Law School declined to comment.

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