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HEAR: Academic skills

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Enhance your skills to get the most out of your academic programme

Academic Skills Programme

Academic Skills Certificate

This student has attended a series of skills workshops and completed assignments where they have demonstrated the application of their learning. The transferable skills developed include: effective reading strategies, effective communication in group situations, listening skills, note taking, researching and identifying relevant information, and writing skills.


  • Register for the Certificate on
  • Complete the Skills Self-Assessment questionnaire on
  • Attend 4 of the Enhancing Academic Skills Workshops or other approved workshops (pick up a stamp card at one of the sessions and get a stamp for each workshop attended)
  • Submit reflection and/or evidence on for the learning gained through each workshop. Each piece of reflection/ evidence should clearly reference 2 – 3 action points taken as a result of the workshop.
  • Submit Stamp Card with at least 4 Stamps

How do I find out more?

Find out more about the Academic Skills Certificate or contact Miriam Lowe, Learning Support Coordinator.


English Language Centre

Academic English Skills

This student has successfully completed Academic English Skills development: an optional short course which develops skills valuable for the workplace: writing in a clear, concise and persuasive manner, negotiating various writing genres, prioritisation of tasks and managing time effectively, enhancing research and note-taking skills, and developing confident presentation skills.  


  • Completed at least 80% attendance
    Demonstrated engagement by completing tasks set by the teacher

How do I record this activity on my HEAR?

Find out more about the English Language Centre or contact Marl'Ene Edwin, Centre Manager.


PAL Leader


Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) is an international model for peer-led learning called Supplemental Instruction. PAL Leaders are trained to facilitate in pairs. PAL Leaders deliver a weekly 50 minute session for under 20 students and attend regular debrief sessions with PAL staff. Leaders develop skills including communication, time management, leadership, teamwork, group dynamics and facilitation.


  • Be available to attend a 1.5 hour briefing in May
  • Be available to attend 2 days of training in June
  • Provide 20 hours of face to face study sessions across the academic year (primarily in autumn and spring terms)
  • Participate in session preparation prior to and debriefings following PAL sessions
  • (To become a PAL Leader you must have achieved 40% or above in all modules required to proceed into year 2 of your studies.)

How do I find out more?

Find out more about the PAL scheme or contact the Learning Support Coordinator (PALs).

PAL Leader Plus


Leaders qualify for PAL Leader Plus by participating in additional work to support the PAL Scheme. This includes Orientation and Open Days events, Exam PAL, PAL promotion and other administrative duties. Plus Leaders have advanced communication and interpersonal skills; demonstrating leadership and professionalism in the role. They also develop experience in organising and prioritising workload.


Involved in minimum 15 hours of additional work on activities including those listed below:

  • GoldStart – facilitate mock PAL/Seminar following mock lecture
  • Welcome Week Activities
  • Open days
  • Offer Holder Days
  • 2 hour exam PAL sessions
  • PAL Scheme Administration
  • Facilitate additional PAL Sessions including pre-exam sessions
  • Study Skills Team Liaising
  • Assist with other events throughout the year

How do I find out more?

Find out more about the PAL scheme or contact Learning Support Coordinator (PALs).

PAL Senior Leader


PAL Senior Leaders successfully complete a competitive recruitment process to supervise small teams of Leaders. They’re trained to evaluate sessions objectively, provide constructive feedback, troubleshoot issues and provide support. Selected on the basis of their professionalism, communication, analytical and leadership skills, the role is vital to the quality standards in the accredited scheme.


  • The PAL Senior Leader will need to evaluate each pair’s session throughout the year (approximately 5 times) – 30 minutes each time would be more than sufficient. (7-8 hours*)
  • Feedback and debriefing – 5 hours (20 minutes following each evaluation)
  • 4 Meetings, additional debriefing and troubleshooting with PAL group (2-3 hours*)
  • Contact with Learning Support Coordinator throughout the year (1-2 hours*)
  • Administration to support supervisory role (email communications and general administration for the scheme, Facebook maintenance and engagement, academic and support services liaising) (2-3 hours*)
  • Minimum 15 hours + training

How do I find out more?

Find out more about the PAL Scheme or contact the Learning Support Coordinator (PALs).

PAL Awards

Senior PAL Leader Award

Nominated by current PAL and Senior Leaders this PAL Senior Leader Award identifies the positive impact of the Senior Leader on their team’s development through team-building, evaluation, mentoring, training and administration.

PAL Leader Pair Award

Nominated by attendees, this award is presented to two pairs whose enthusiasm and good PAL practice have made a positive impact on student experience and achievement.

PAL Leader Single Award

Nominated by attendees, and current and senior PAL Leaders, the PAL Leader Single Award is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated excellent PAL practice and support to the overall scheme. This Leader has significantly improved student and Leader experience in the module they have been involved with.

PAL Non Attending Study Buddy


NA students are a vulnerable cohort that for personal reasons are not required to attend classes whilst finalising outstanding work. NA Study Buddies deliver sessions tailored to NA students’ study needs. They provide this via email and face-to-face contact. Recruited from PAL, Study Buddies are involved in coaching, building relationships and communicating effectively to promote student progress.


  • Run 8 x 90 minute sessions (1 per fortnight from week 4)
  • Plan as a pair for the above sessions (20-25 mins per session)
  • Write an email to the non-attending students fortnightly from week 3 (sent via the wellbeing inbox) with just in time advice and study strategies (30 mins each fortnight)
  • Meet with the PAL and Wellbeing Coordinators each term (2 hours)
  • Engage with /Refer issues to the Wellbeing team (as required)

How do I find out more?

Contact the Learning Support Coordinator (PALS).