Sir Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an assessment of the average number of tuition hours not accessed by university students as a result of strike action by university staff in the last year; whether her Department issues guidance to (a) universities and (b) students on reimbursement of (i) fees and (ii) other costs for tuition hours not accessed by students as a result of (A) strikes and (B) other factors affecting the delivery of academic services by the university; what data her Department holds on the reimbursement of such costs to students by universities in such cases; and if she will make a statement. 
[Due for Answer on 9 May]
The Minister of State for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education (Robert Halfon): Compensating students for disruption is the responsibility of higher education (HE) providers, which are independent from government.
The Office for Students (OfS) has made clear that they expect universities to abide by the conditions of registration, maintain the delivery of HE and minimise disruption to students in the event of any industrial action. The OfS has also highlighted providers’ obligations under consumer protection law in relation to the impact of industrial action. The OfS have wide-ranging powers to ensure that students’ interests are protected, and they expect providers to do all they can to avoid disruption to students.
The OfS’s powers include the ability to impose one or more specific ongoing conditions of registration, impose a monetary penalty, refuse to renew a provider’s access and participation plan, suspend aspects of a provider’s registration, vary or revoke a provider's authorisation for degree awarding powers, revoke a provider’s authorisation to use ‘university’ in its title, or deregister a provider. The OfS has advised HE providers that, in the event of disruption caused by industrial action, students may be entitled to repeated learning opportunities or tuition fee refunds. These remedies are determined by the contents of the provider-student contract, as well as relevant consumer protection law.