27 results
Date Name

Liberal-minded students could swing the EU vote

Analysis of students’ voting preferences attitudes confirms what many of us already know: the student vote will be vital to Remain’s chances of success in the EU referendum. Adam Wright shows how.

Priorities for the new BIS team

After rumours of its demise had been widely circulating, today BIS finds itself in an unexpectedly strong position, with a fresh ministerial team made up of high profile and influential MPs within this majority Conservative administration. Jonathan Simons looks at their priorities for HE, science, FE and skills.

DIUS ex Machina? Or whither or wither BIS?

As a government reshuffle is now under way, Andy Westwood looks at the prospect for BIS and the universities and science brief – could they be moved around Whitehall? And what of the likely personalities in the frame to have an influence over the future of the sector in government?

General Election: what next for universities?

The UK wakes up this morning to a defacto Conservative majority, leaving decimation amongst the Liberal Democrats and Labour Party. But what happens now for our universities?

How the Lib Dems were wiped out

As the Lib Dems face almost complete wipeout at the General Election, Dewi Knight asks why this happened, and what implications it has for the party now.

Labour set to win the student vote

Mark Leach looks at the final YouthSight poll of student voting intentions ahead of the General Election. Labour are set to win the student vote, with the Conservatives coming in 2nd place.

How will universities swing in a hung parliament?

With the election getting closer, but the ultimate result looking as uncertain as ever, Martin McQuillan predicts a confusing five years ahead for higher education. How will the sector respond to a rainbow coalition, perhaps without the mandate to pass primary legislation? And how will universities maintain the stability they crave on a fundamentally unstable landscape?

£6,000 fees: unanswered questions

As the dust settles on the Labour announcement that they would lower fees to £6,000 next year, Julian Gravatt looks in detail at the policy and asks ten questions on funding, regulation and policy that are raised by the promise of lower fees.

Blue skies thinking

After the heat and noise around Labour’s announced £6,000 fee policy, Martin McQuillan continues his monthly series on higher education politics and policy by turning his attention to the Conservative Party – their policies and what life might be like for universities if the Conservatives are returned to power in May.

The £6,000 question

As the shockwaves reverberate, Mark Leach takes a look at the reaction in the press, sector, political parties and in early public opinion to Labour’s plan to lower fees to £6,000.

Labour’s HE funding plan – why raiding my tax break is a good idea

In the run up to Labour’s expected announcement that they will cut fees from £9,000 to £6,000, Graeme Wise looks at the method proposed to pay for it – the controversial cut in pensioner tax relief – and finds a progressive solution that has the added benefit of rolling back the marketisation of the sector and reducing some of the risks associated with the student loans system.

Fees, austerity and war: understanding the student vote

In the week that the Labour Party is expected to set out its plans for higher education after the General Election, Adam Wright explores the student vote, how it maps against wider social trends and looks at how and why student support for the Green party may impact Labour in May.

The history of university representation

British universities used to have their own parliamentary constituencies and famous names like Francis Bacon, Issac Newton, William Pitt, W E Gladstone, H G Wells and J B Priestley all stood for election for university seats. Heading in to a fresh General Election, Mike Ratcliffe looks at the history of the relationship between universities and political representation.

Green Party 2015 higher education policies

Twenty fifteen is the year that we need to start paying attention to party policymaking at all levels. With the Green Party increasing their membership and now gaining ground in the opinion polls, not least amongst students, David Kernohan reviews the state of the party’s higher education policies – with some surprising results.

OECD: whose side are they on?

Amidst the first serious skirmishes of the general election campaign, the OECD’s support – or not – of England’s higher education reforms, has become a source of significant political disagreement. Using OECD data and quoted positions, Labour and the Conservatives were trading blows about HE in Parliament last week. This has brought confusion and counter-claims about OECD’s actual line on the recent HE reforms. Andy Westwood cuts through the spin to find out what’s really going on.

Universities, the economy and immigration

Higher education is now at the centre of a tentative Conservative Party leadership election battle between George Osborne and Theresa May. With May ever-pandering to right-wing impulses in immigration policy, Osborne is presenting himself as a friend of universities and growth, and both are preparing the battle lines that will follow after the General Election. As universities enter the heart of this new and intense political struggle, Martin McQuillan looks at its implications for higher education.

Poll: Green Party surges in support from students

A new poll shows a surge in support for The Green Party amongst students They are now the second choice party for students, moving ahead of the Conservatives for the first time. Labour remain the first choice party, but support is slipping as the General Election approaches, a trend seen amongst the wider population. This is the first time since this polling began ten years ago that any party apart from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats or Labour have been in a top three position.

Understanding the unthinkable post-2015 cuts

The Autumn Statement confirmed the Chancellor’s plans to make further substantial cuts in the next Parliament. Around £4bn will likely have to come out of the budget for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Julian Gravatt thinks the unthinkable about what this means for HE, research, science and skills.

Lib Dem Conference: dross, polls and fees

Perhaps it is because liberalism is an ultimately optimistic philosophy that explains why Liberal Democrats were so up beat at their annual conference this week. Despite dire poll ratings the conference bar was full of cheery activists and senior MPs determined to cling on to their seats. As the Liberal Democrats wrap up this year’s party conference season, Sam Cannicott looks at the mood of the party and their ongoing difficulties with fees and higher education.

What chance of policy change on immigration?

When robustly challenged about HE and immigration policy this week, James Brokenshire MP, Minister of State for Immigration made clear that, despite growing calls for policy change, he was ruling out excluding international students from the net migration figures. But are there signs that this might change after the election? Alistair Jarvis takes a look from Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

Fees still haunt the Lib Dems

Following a disastrous result at the European and Council elections, it seems that the Lib Dems are still haunted by the 2010 decision to raise tuition fees. With Nick Clegg facing challenges to his leadership and with a General Election now less than a year away, Dewi Knight takes a look at the state of the Lib Dems and their fractious relationship with higher education policy.

The higher education case for Europe

In the week of the European Elections and with Europe high up in the UK’s political debate, Chris Hale takes a look at the higher education policy case for EU membership. With much of EU policy and legislation going above the heads of many in the UK, there are several key themes that matter tremendously to university and require the sector’s full engagement at home and in Brussels.

Creating a regulatory system in English HE

The recent movement of teaching funding from public grants to student fees has triggered a wider discussion about reform of the higher education regulatory system in England. In this piece, Andrew Boggs of the Higher Education Better Regulation Group looks at the challenges posed by designing a single regulatory regime and what may need to be considered by policymakers in the next Parliament as they look towards ironing out regulation of English HE.

The parent protest

Sue Littlemore looks at recent polling to assess public attitudes towards universities and finds some sobering results. In the context of higher fees, and pressures coming from other places, how the wider public feel about the value of HE and the debts that the next generation are getting in to really matter. Universities may have been protected from public opinion in the past, but as we head towards a general election, politicians are likely to be influenced by the largest of protest groups; parents.

Whither (or wither) the Lib Dems?

The Liberal Democrats kick off the party conference season in Glasgow next week. Will they develop a firm (and different?) position on higher education as the 2015 General Election approaches? Even after a policy review headed up by Baroness Brinton and a business department led by Vince Cable, their position is still very hard to predict. In a first of a series covering each main party’s annual conference, Andy Westwood looks at the state of the Lib Dems through an HE lens.

Taking it to the limit

The HE White Paper is currently sitting on the desks of the No.10 policy wonks. Their beefed up unit charged with ensuring that everything this Government does is consistent with The Plan. So much ink has been spilt in pursuit of the underlying forces, the guiding principles, the motivations. The reason why David Cameron gets up in the morning. Over the last 12 months, much of the mainstream media has been sent on a wild goose chase. They assumed it would be this unsettling, unknown quantity of ‘coalition’ that would be driving everything. But what if the truth was so much simpler?