The Impact of the UCU Strikes on Veterinary Students

At our Spring AVS Committee meeting, a number of our university representatives raised concerns that members had voiced regarding the impact of the 2018 University and College Union Strikes. Members highlighted the disruption of their studies and their concerns regarding the potential ramifications of this on their ability to graduate and become a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) upon that graduation.

As the representative body for Veterinary Students at all nine veterinary schools in the UK & Ireland, your welfare representative and I wrote to the Veterinary Schools Council ( and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons ( to seek clarification and to receive written confirmation from both organisations of the impact, if any, on our members so that we could present the facts and reassure students.

We would like to share with you two extracts from the letters received to help clarify the matter and reassure our members.

If you have any concerns or further questions about the impact of the strikes, or regarding the activities of AVS on the whole, please contact me on or get in touch with your university AVS representatives whose details can be found on our website.

The Veterinary Schools Council: 

“...the veterinary schools would like to reassure students that lectures affected by strikeaction will not impact on any student’s ability to graduate. This has been a difficult period for universities and everyone has been affected, but veterinary schools have worked hard to ensure that the impact on students has been minimal. Nationally the total number of cancelled lecture, practical and clinical classes for veterinary students was small. However, we know how important each lecture and class can be. Measures taken by veterinary schools included cancelled lectures being delivered as vodcasts, additional learning material being released onto virtual learning environments, and content from cancelled lectures being removed from upcoming examinations with opportunities arranged to learn it before graduation. A similar approach has been taken with small group teaching.

We are sorry for the concern that some of our students have expressed and want to be clear that we are here to help. Any student who feels negatively affected by missed lectures should discuss this with their tutor or other relevant members of staff to make sure they have covered all the necessary learning...”

Professor Ewan Cameron, Chair of The VSC

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons:

“...Where there has been some disruption, we understand that either content was delivered another way (for example, via vodcast), or students will have the ability to catch up at a later date, so that it does not have an impact on their final examinations.
However, it is worth noting that the role of the RCVS in regulating the standards of undergraduate veterinary education is to ensure that veterinary surgeons graduate with Day One Competences. We do not generally specify the way in which the veterinary schools achieve these outcomes, so, unless such strike action was very significant, it would be unlikely that the RCVS would step in.
All of the above is not to play down the anxiety that I recognise you and your fellow students have experienced over this issue, and I am sorry that you have been affected in this way...”

Lizzie Locket, CEO of The RCVS

We hope this has answered your questions and alleviated any concerns you may have. If there are any further developments we will keep you informed.

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David Charles
AVS President 2018/19

Published: 8th May 2018