Gordon McKenzie of GuildHE examines some of the unanswered questions at the heart of the OfS and its relationship to the industrial strategy.
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.
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.
A few days after the Autumn Statement, Martin McQuillan considers the Osborne plan to expand student numbers based on questionable finances that the IFS have labelled ‘economic nonsense’ and have slowly started to unravel. This short-termist policy may have big implications in years to come as BIS will have to make up any further shortfall in the HE budget – a budget already under extreme pressure. With so many risks ahead, the HE sector needs to take a long and detailed look at this scheme.
I was lucky to be in the audience for White Noise, University Alliance’s seminar on the policy implications of the HE White Paper. The event was quite well attended and, I felt, indicative of the sort of seminars that mission groups should be putting on. UA evidence was presented and then an open discussion had, which raised some interesting points, two of which have continued to play on my mind.
The first came from UA’s Director, Libby Hackett. She said that, within the white paper, the wider view of higher education and how it fits into the economy is limited. In fact, it’s barely discussed. At the time I tweeted that I have never agreed with a sentence more and I stand by that.
Today’s news that Pfizer is closing its European HQ for research and development which was based in Kent will be catastrophic news for the local community. The centre is in a particularly economically deprived part of Kent which already has high levels of unemployment due to the historic decline of the docks, agriculture and the tourist pound. Until Canterbury… read more