35 results
Date Name

The OfS must not overlook FE colleges

Julian Gravatt of the Association Colleges gives his take on the Higher Education and Research Bill and wonders if the OfS will account for all types of student.

What if there isn’t a skills deficit?

David Morris argues that not far in the future, the sector may not be able to rely on old assumptions about their role in driving skills and so need to start thinking now about how universities should to adapt to shifting economic trends.

Spending review: the unthinkable predictions

Returning to his ‘unthinkable’ work from December 2014, Julian Gravatt compares the worst predictions to the realities of the Spending Review and finds a mixed bag, with things not being nearly bad as it might have been, but still with plenty of uncertainty and possible pain to come.

Universities should spend their cashable reserves

Continuing the debate started by their report published on Monday, Jonathan Simons responds to the critics – and argues universities do indeed have reserves which could be used if policy and funding is rebalanced to save FE.

Proposals to cut HE budgets are a recipe for disaster

Responding to the Policy Exchange report published today, Karmjit Kaur of UUK argues that the proposals to cut HE in favour of technical education would damage the economy and row back much of the progress made by universities in recent years.

The downfall of foundation degrees?

What ever happened to foundation degrees? Ben Verinder dusts down the current policy and communications context for the oft-forgotten qualification.

Students at the heart of the system (when it suits)

Days before the National Student Survey (NSS) goes live, the National College for Teaching and Learning, responsible for overseeing Initial Teacher Training has inexplicably pulled the plug on universities and future students receiving and learning from effective student feedback. One vice chancellor expresses his frustration at this counter-productive and contradictory move.

The future of Higher National Diplomas

Anyone interested in higher education funding and regulation should take some time out in the next few weeks to think about Higher National Diplomas. The plan recently announced by BIS to transfer HNDs and HNCs out of the higher education funding system represents an important moment in policy for both HE and FE. Julian Gravatt looks at the long history of higher nationals and the implications of BIS’ latest proposals for funding and regulation.

Reforming employability measures

It is widely understood that graduates with higher level skills are critical to the ability of the UK economy to innovate and thus be competitive internationally so it is vitally important that the way we measure how the supply of graduates meets the demand of employers is useful to both universities and businesses. Rosa Fernandez looks at recent research that shows why current measures of graduate employability are not sufficient, and shows how it could improve.

Apprenticeships or university – a false choice

As we mark the end of Apprenticeships Week, Andy Westwood looks at how politicians and the media talk about apprenticeships and the false choice they continually present between them and higher education. There are good reasons to expand higher level apprenticeships, but this needs to happen in a better way – in collaboration with universities and learning from examples abroad.

Winners and losers in the current system

There is no doubt that, as with most changes, the £9,000 fee system introduced in England in 2012-13 created winners and losers. We know that applications are back up for full-time undergraduates – and we know this includes students from non-traditional backgrounds, which is great. But that is not the whole story. On the day the Public Accounts Committee confirm the rising costs of writing off loans, Libby Hackett looks at the winners and losers in the current system, and calls for a fundamental rethink.

The narcissism of minor differences

They finally arrived yesterday. BIS published both the HEFCE grant letter and the SFA’s Skills Funding Statement. One was 6 pages and the other 60 but they both delivered roughly the same amount of cash to the FE and HE sectors. They also delivered more or less what had been set out in the Autumn Statement – i.e. some quite significant cuts to both sectors but not too much more on top of what George Osborne delivered in December. Andy Westwood gives some early thoughts on the letters and the scramble over funding that will come.