With the future of OFFA in doubt as the government moves to reshape the landscape in HE, new CEO of Brightside Anand Shukla makes the case for keeping the access regulator in order to achieve the ambitious targets on widening participation set by the Prime Minister.
This week sees the 50th anniversary of the Robbins Report. Appointed by the Government in February 1961, a committee led by Lord Robbins was instructed to review higher education and, “in the light of national needs and resources”, to advise “on what principles its long-term development should be based”. Peter Scott once described the resulting report as “the constitution of modern British higher education.” How and why do we remember Robbins? Tom Bailey takes the long view.
On the blog last week, Jim Dickinson criticised the Higher Education Commission’s recent report in to HE regulation for not including enough protection for students. Now Jess Bridgman, a researcher to the Commission, responds to the charge that the report failed students and shows why its recommendations are underpinned by a need to provide good regulation for the benefit of students.
Another week, another report is published on the gaps in regulation left by the Government’s interesting new take on consumer-focused reforms; triple fees, publish a white paper offering protections, fail miserably to implement them – in that order. Jim Dickinson takes a look at the HE Commission’s report on regulation and finds little new protection for students.
Universities are ‘places where students can develop their capacities to the full, where research and scholarship are pursued at the highest level’. With critical issues at a time when our university system is undergoing some of the most traumatic changes in recent history, the CDBU has been launched to defend the academy and this is why I’ve joined.
I carry with me at all times a 2009 report for Universities UK prepared by the legal firm Eversheds. Why? On page 7 of ‘Developing future university structures’, you will find a diagram entitled ‘A model for university buyouts’. I suggest you look at that diagram and then read the stories about London Metropolitan University’s intentions to ‘outsource’ all staff besides teaching staff and vice-chancellor. What they are doing is something new; they aim to create a vehicle to run universities across the UK.
In last June’s Higher Education white paper (yes it really was that long ago), BIS declared their intention to reduce the qualifying threshold for university title from 4,000 to 1,000 students. All the other qualifying criteria – notably the need to hold degree awarding powers – would remain intact. Those institutions that might benefit from such a change made headlines when the precise proposals and criteria were published in the subsequent technical consultation in August 2011.
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.
Last night, The Telegraph reported that the expected Higher Education Bill is being dropped, or at least delayed until later in the Parliament. This news must be greeted with caution and scepticism until we know the facts. It is clear that the Government has made no final decision, but the fact that this could be the direction of travel is very revealing. In lieu of further information, we can however assess what we know and what it might mean.
The long-awaited analysis of the HE White Paper was published today. Its long gestation allowed authors John Thompson and Bahram Bekhradnia the time to cast their net very widely and speak to many colleagues across the sector and Government. This has enabled them to provide the most thorough analysis of the White Paper to date… read more
Music fans of a certain vintage will have been reminded this week of the disappointment that greeted the release of the Stone Roses second album. Coming four and a half years after the Roses’ ground breaking debut, the ‘Second Coming’ was doomed from the start. Nothing would be good enough to satisfy the anticipation that the long delay had created.
There is a myth going round that science and engineering are having an easy ride, with both teaching and research escaping the new climate of austerity. After all, unlike in the arts and humanities, science and engineering undergraduate degrees will still be part-funded by HEFCE rather than relying solely on student fees – and the science research budget was frozen during last year’s spending review rather than being hit with cuts. So what’s to worry about?
In reality, HEFCE teaching grants took a hit across all disciplines. The only reason science subjects still get anything at all is because they cost more to teach, and were therefore getting more from HEFCE to begin with; think of the cost of a physics laboratory compared to a philosophy library.