Live: GuildHE Annual Conference



  • Hope says:

    “An MA is becoming the new BA. A lot of people are now getting an undergraduate degree, so more and more employers are expecting an MA too.

    “A few years ago, I spoke to Dave Brailsford, the head of British Cycling, which it would be my dream job to work for; I told him I was going to university and he said ‘Wow! With a degree, you’ll be overqualified.’

    “Last week, I looked on the British Cycling website and found I’d now need an MA in physiotherapy [to work for them].

    “In the space of 4 years, I’ve gone from overqualified to needing an MA”.

    She suggests this is happening across the sector.

    That draws the session to a close. Now time for a coffee break.

    2 years ago
  • Dunn reminds the audience that originally, we were told £9,000 fees would be an exception.

    She also says: “I think competition runs the risk of homogenising the sector. When we measure things in such specific ways, we risk losing the wonderful thing about HE, which is the diversity of institutions.”

    2 years ago
  • Wesley Hudson, president of University of Worcester SU, says “Students shouldn’t be seen as consumers but as partners.

    “SUs have a big role in developing this culture and relationship with the institutions. To give an example here [at Worcester], we have a really good student rep system, where students have the chance to buy in to the university and develop it to ensure their course is for them – not just for their year but future years as well.”

    Hudson also points out that a large majority of Russell Group universities are majority 18 to 21-year-olds, whereas GuildHE institutions can be quite different: “Worcester is 63% mature students.”

    Dunn agrees: “We talk about ‘the student experience’… There is no singular student experience.”

    2 years ago
  • International students

    Anglo-European College of Chiropractic (AECC) SU Charlie Bertoia, who is originally from Canada, echoes Dunn’s criticism of visa restrictions:

    “I only got back on Saturday – I was deported. I had to apply for a visa to get back into the country. Student protection is imperative, especially to smaller universities and GuildHE institutions, which can be seem to be passed over – as international students from them are seen as ‘only 500 students of 1.3 million’… They fall through the cracks the most.”

    2 years ago
  • NUS president Megan Dunn

    Megan Dunn comments: “Having a panel titled ‘students and value for money’ is interesting in itself in how we’re discussing students and where we view students within HE.

    “It’s a phrase that in reality students don’t use much. ‘Value for money’ is not how students frame it to begin with. So it’s interesting to see a narrative coming from the government that students are asking for ‘value for money’.

    On the TEF, she says: “I don’t understand why students should have to pay more than £9,000 to expect excellent teaching. I’d say that’s an awful lot of money. I challenge you to find an 18-year-old starting university or a parent returning to university who says £9,000 is not a lot of money. I don’t think we should ever be shy about talking about the enormity of it.”

    2 years ago
  • Students and Value for Money panel

    Delegates are now being addressed by a panel, chaired by University of Abertay VC Nigel Seaton, consisting of three Students’ Union presidents and the national president of NUS.

    Jodie Hope, University of Chichester Students’ Union president, who was a first-generation university student from a single-parent household, says her biggest concern about the TEF is the prospect of the price of higher education increasing: “I think it’s completely unfair that people coming from my neighbourhood might not have the same opportunities I had.”


    2 years ago
  • GMK cropped

    McKenzie: “The TEF is not a Christmas Tree. I think former colleagues in BIS are aware of the risk people will want to hang things on the TEF.

    “When I was a civil servant, I found that someone somewhere always wants universities to do something, somewhere that they perceive they’re not doing at the moment.

    “A new policy initiative about challenging provider could look a bit like ‘Oh, can we just hang this thing onto it?'”, he warns, adding that he has confidence that his former colleagues will try to avoid this.


    2 years ago
  • Gordon McKenzie

    McKenzie on the Spending Review:

    If, as some commentators predict, the government is to make £1.4bn of savings, “There are large lumps of money there if you’re looking to try and get to £1.4bn. But they feel like quite significant changes if you are actually in that territory. Maybe converting the Innovate UK grants to loans – you’re still getting the product…

    “But do you need to find balancing money from the HEFCE teaching grant? If you did apply a 30% cut, that could be as high as £500m taken off that. With that scale of cut, it’s hard to see how you’re not putting pressure on student opportunity funding and funding for high-cost subjects.”


    2 years ago
  • David Green opening remarks

    Prof David Green

    After being welcomed by Carter, David Green says the Conference Suite he’s speaking in is to be renamed the Joel Richards Conference and Media Suite after the former Worcester student who was the youngest victim of terrorist attacks in Tunisia this summer.

    Green says the arena, winner of The Guardian‘s Buildings that Inspire award, has been “a runaway success”.

    “An attractive facility to students, the arena is also used by other members of the community. And, among other things, it has played host to the biggest paralympic event since the 2012 Olympics – the 2015 European Wheelchair Basketball Championships.”

    Green adds that the arena “Fits perfectly within the mission of GuildHE”.

    He then hands over to Gordon McKenzie.

    2 years ago
  • Event set to get underway

    The Conference Suite here at the University of Worcester Arena is starting to fill up, with the event scheduled to kick off shortly (or, perhaps we should say, “tip off” given that the room overlooks a basketball court). Delegates will first of all be addressed by Professor Joy Carter, University of Winchester vice-chancellor and GuildHE chair, and Professor David Green, vice-chancellor of the University of Worcester, who will be followed by GuildHE chief executive Gordon McKenzie.

    2 years ago