David Blaney, the CEO of Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), talks about the strengths and challenges of increasingly divergent higher education systems
Following a recent HEPI report on the issue, Peter Halligan writes on the Welsh perspective of student mobility across the UK and the right of Welsh-domiciled students to take their student fee grant when studying elsewhere in the UK.
Part-reflection, part-justification, and part ministerial handbook, Dewi Knight reviews Ministering to Education, the new book by former Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews. Set against a backdrop of political and ideological lines that divided nations more than the left or right, Andrews’ work is essential reading for all in UK higher education policymaking.
Following the Welsh Government’s publication of a Higher Education Bill, Greg Walker looks at the implications of its policies and the reactions to them in the Welsh HE sector. Greg also shows how some of the controversial measures designed by Labour in Wales might be replicated in English HE, should Labour come to power after the General Election next year.
Leighton Andrews, the former Welsh Government Education & Skills Minister resigned on Tuesday in a shock move. The former Minister has long been a divisive figure, hitting national headlines with his Welsh student support package, the reconfiguration agenda and his qualifications spat with Michael Gove. But despite negative headlines and plenty of arguments, the Minister has rarely been on the back foot. Indeed, he has reshaped the landscape and topography of Welsh higher education – far reaching policies that are likely to reverberate for many years to come. As we wait to learn the future of the Welsh Government’s HE policy, we look at the legacy of Leighton Andrews and his controversial policy agenda.
It’s not just the torrential rain and gales that have hit university campuses and rattled Vice Chancellor’s whisky cabinets across Wales over recent weeks and months – the whirlwind reform and restructuring in higher education demanded by the Welsh Government and HEFCW also took its toll. But the publication last week of the Government’s White Paper on Further & Higher Education had the effect of bringing some calm to the storm.
The headline higher education news in Wales can be summed up in one word: mergers. Nothing gets Welsh education correspondents’ filing copy quicker than a ‘buried’ Government report into amalgamations; threats of ‘judicial reviews’; or concerns about the very future of institutions.
On the political battleground of recession, jobs and growth, the rhetorical weapon of choice is the “plan”. Whether you’re signed up to the UK Coalition’s ‘Plan A’, prefer to think there’s been a subtle change towards ‘Plan A+’, or you’re more of a Two Eds ‘Plan B’ supporter, you’re nobody if you’re not a “man with a plan”.
In a classic ‘Take out the Trash Day’ move last Friday, it was announced that University of Wales would move under the royal charter of Trinity St David once it merges with Swansea Metropolitan, effectively abolishing an institution which has stood for 190 years.
I have reflected a great deal about how my grandfather, a Welsh nationalist and academic, would have reacted to recent events. The University of Wales was an iconic higher education symbol for the Welsh identity, but I am sure he’d agree the effectiveness and relevance of this symbolism was waning long before recent events. With the more respected universities like Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor looking to move away from the UoW collegiate, it became harder for the university to hold the same significance it once had in Wales.