Referring students to SPLASH

Making an informed referral to our service.

Why do I need to know about SPLASH?

“I’m a member of staff! How is all this relevant to me?”

We believe it’s important that Surrey staff are well-informed about SPLASH when recommending students to engage with our service.

Firstly, it's important to be specific about the nature of any weaknesses in students' work. We believe that students are more likely to follow-up and seek advice if they have been referred to a specific aspect of the service rather than just told to ‘go and visit SPLASH’.

Secondly, students can be very reluctant to come forward and seek advice, seeing this as some form of admission failure on their part. Overcoming ‘deficit’ associations remains a big issue facing learning development across the HE sector. As such, we believe it is important to stress that learning development is for all and to emphasise our interlinked remit of helping students to develop academically, personally and professionally. Home students, particularly, may need to overcome associating SPLASH with prior learning experiences of more remedial (deficit) ‘study skills’ tuition.

One of the webpages we’ll be creating here in this staff-facing section will be a ‘bluffer’s guide’ to SPLASH activities to aide staff in making more informed referrals to our service. Watch this space!

Making an informed referral

We always get a few students coming to our drop-ins and appointments expecting us to ‘proofread’ or ‘correct’ their work. This, we politely explain, is not something we can do.

View the Guiding Principles (PDF) advice that we require all students to read before accessing our one-to-one advice.

When discussing aspects of good academic practice, our primary objective is to develop students as genuinely independent learners. A significant aspect of this is helping to develop student confidence and understandings that there are multiple ways in which assignments can be effectively tackled.

We will rarely advise students of ‘the correct way’ to address any assignment, but rather explore with the student ‘possibilities and parameters of expectation’ pertinent to their subject of study, the exception being in terms of the more technical aspects of academic writing, e.g., referencing expectations.

We’d therefore appreciate if, when referring students to our service, the benefits of obtaining SPLASH advice could be framed in these kind of ways, as opposed to, for example, simply advising students to ‘get help’ from SPLASH which tends to be open to misinterpretation.

Staff referrals are and will remain an important aspect in encouraging our students to access our services and a critical component in ensuring we are institutionally ‘joined-up’. Thank you for any referrals you’ve made previously and make in the future.