Live: The Higher Education White Paper



  • End of the live blog

    After an epic twelve hour shift, Team Wonkhe is closing out the HE White Paper Live Blog so that we can focus on the more detailed analysis of today’s developments that will follow in the coming hours and days on the site. In the mean-time, you can read the live blog below which contains lots of interesting stuff and find our other articles so far:

    The Teaching Excellence Framework: take two
    Does the White Paper make Watson’s eight ‘category mistakes’?
    Higher education quangos: where are they now?
    Credit worthy
    White Paper: first reactions from the sector
    Let’s get down to fundamentals
    Peace in our time? The other future of quality assessment

    On days like today, we are reminded what an absolutely incredible audience we have in the higher education community: constantly engaged, curious, full of ideas and always constructive. It couldn’t be more of a pleasure to bring you the HE wonkery when it’s most needed.

    Thanks in particular to Team Wonkhe:

    David Morris

    Louisa Darian

    Ant Bagshaw

    Helen Lock

    And special thanks to the many people that wrote in with ideas, comments and suggestions for how we might cover the White Paper today. There’s a great deal more to follow as we digest everything published today – but you will always be able to find everything under the White Paper tag. And if you want to stay ahead of the curve, we’ll provide additional policy briefing to subscribers of the Wonkhe Daily – more information about that here.

    Mark Leach, Editor

    8 years ago
  • TEF Take 2

    Elsewhere on the site, Louisa Darian has been exploring what’s new for the TEF in the White Paper since the original announcement in last year’s Green Paper. We’ve also made a timeline for the next few years which you can find at the bottom of the article.

    You can read the analysis in full here.

    8 years ago
  • First they came for the wonks…

    The complexity and urgency of a great deal of work highlighted in the White Paper will require every drop of HE policy development and delivery expertise available. Sadly we may well be at the point of losing a great deal of it.

    Wonkhe has already covered the issue of the proposed closure of BIS Sheffield, whose 247 staff include some of the most experienced HE specialists in BIS. As no relocation expenses are on offer, and any savings are predicated on losing 90% of the current staff, it is fair to say that (unless we get a pleasant surprise on May 29th) today’s White Paper is the last flourish of a very talented team, and there is no immediate scope for an equally skilled replacement.

    This issue is compounded as the Bristol-based HEFCE is split into two, with the obvious for a potential movement of at least some of the research functions to Swindon where UKRI and Research England will live. The split between teams at HEFCE is very porous, with many essential elements (for example the regional teams, and the analytical services team) working on both teaching and research equally. It is good to be reassured that current HEFCE staff will receive support into transitioning into the two new organisations, but the inevitable wastage and loss of read-across could lead to a further weakening of English HE policy implementation expertise.

    8 years ago
  • From Green to White: the TEF

    While the Government’s overall intentions for the TEF have changed relatively little, there is a fair amount more detail about how it will work in practice in the White Paper and technical consultation. Some of the key points include:

    • Four phases of implementation, rather than the original two, with TEF developing over a period of four years.
    • The core metrics will remain the same, but with new metrics to be consulted on. In addition to NSS scores, retention and DLHE employment outcomes data (it does not seem that earnings will be included), the government will consult on a new highly skilled employment metric (proposed as SOC codes 1-3) and measures of contact hours and teaching intensity.
    • Variable fees will be delayed until Year Three: in Year’s one and two eligible all providers will be able to access an inflationary increase.
    • Ratings will be on a three, rather than four, point scale: Meets Expectations, Excellent and Outstanding.
    • But differential fees in Year three will be brought in at just two rates: those ‘Meeting expectations’ will be eligible for 50% of the inflationary uplift, while providers with a rating of Excellent or Outstanding will be eligible for 100% of the inflationary uplift.
    • Inflationary increases will be calculated on the basis of the more generous RPI, rather than previously thought CPI.
    • In Year Four the government will look to introduce disciplinary-level TEF awards, as well as awards for taught postgraduate courses.
    • TEF will be history blind: where a provider’s TEF level drops for an academic year they will have to lower their fees for all existing students. Conversely providers will also be able to increase their fees providing they have been explicit about the possibility of this in their ts and cs (in line with consumer law).
    • TEF will be delivered by the OfS. Until that point it will be jointly overseen by HEFCE and QAA with BIS playing a role in overseeing the creation of the TEF panel.
    • Alongside student and employer representatives, the White Paper confirms that the TEF panel will also include a WP expert. This is just one of a number of measures to ensure that institutions that are doing the most to support disadvantaged students are recognised for it, alongside commitment to benchmark data by prior attainment, subject and age, and will be split by POLAR quintiles.
      TEF outcomes will be published in Unistats and on UCAS.
    8 years ago
  • From Green to White: tuition fees and inflation

    In November’s Green Paper the suggested outline of powers for the Secretary of State included “a power to set tuition fee caps” (note the plural). However, today’s White Paper has reversed that proposal, and the fee cap “will continue to be set under the same Parliamentary procedure as now”. This will be claimed as a victory by anti-fees groups including NUS, and will prevent the Labour and SNP opposition from accusing the government of a power-grab.

    As to differential fees under the TEF, “Government policy is that any fee changes under TEF will not be higher than inflation and could not exceed the maximum fee agreed by Parliament. We will shortly announce the fee caps for 2017/18 [i.e. the first year where TEF assessments will apply].” It would appear that the government has backed down from any risky dogfight over tuition fees after several months of internal party conflict and several Commons and Lords defeats since last autumn.

    That said, one subtle difference from the Green Paper will result in a relative windfall for universities. Whilst the Green Paper’s plans for inflationary increases were assumed to be based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation, Wonkhe has been informed by BIS that the new measure will be based on the Retail Price Index (RPI). This is significant. CPI currently sits at 0.3%, and is forecast to sit at 2% in 2020. RPI, which differs by including property costs including mortgage payments, is currently 1% and is forecast to be 3.25% in 2020. Compounded over the years, that represents a significant upturn for institutions’ income.

    Wonkhe’s back-of-a-napkin calculations, based on OBR projections, suggest the fee cap would be at around £9,600 in 2020-21 with CPI increases, but would hit £10,000 in the same year with an RPI increase. The White Paper claims that £1 billion per year would be raised for the sector with the inflationary increases. It should be noted, however, that forecasts of inflation and economic growth over the past few years have often been wildly inaccurate.

    To add to the controversy, the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies has called for abandoning the RPI, and the OBR has stated that RPI “does not meet international statistical standards”.

    8 years ago
  • Where is the ‘teaching excellence’ in TEF?

    At the back end of last week the HE Academy released a call for applications to the 2016 National Teaching Fellowship scheme. There had been many rumours that the scheme, having run since 2000, would fold as the Academy itself transitioned into a fully subscription-funded future focused on their own fellowships. In the NTFS2016 peer review of a submitted portfolio of evidence will identify a small number of outstanding HE teachers, would will receive recognition, post-nomials and a £5,000 (down from £10,000 grant for further research and practice development.

    The NTFS represents the last embers of a once all-encompassing flame – the idea that individual academics should be supported, encouraged and rewarded in improving their own individual teaching practice. New researchers are supported by national networks, and encouraged to apply for project grants to support themselves – and similar national networks and funding competitions once existed to advocate for and draw together staff with an interest in improving HE teaching.

    This morning’s White Paper, though ostensibly focused on “teaching excellence”, will not attempt to support academics in developing their own teaching practice – there will be no research projects into HE teaching at a local or national level, and no attempt to understand or collate what makes for excellent teaching, either generally or subject by subject. The TEF is a stick to draw teaching into compliance with institutional and sector norms, not a carrot to encourage the sector to examine in an evidence based manner whether these norms are the right ones.

    A blizzard of acronyms mark the graves of these now nearly forgotten initiatives – FDTL, TQEF, LTSN, TLTP, ILTHE, the CETLs… it was once possible for an interested academic to develop a career around gaining a better understanding of teaching in HE. No longer. Ironically, the TEF – the latest in an acronym – looks to have all of the issues that earlier attempts were criticised for. It is expensive (£1bn a year?), unbelievably burdensome and bureaucratic, has no clear mechanism of change and is disconnected from other ongoing processes. Yet it does not engage individual academics in the positive case to become more thoughtful, and thus better, educators. Indeed, the teaching quality enhancement role appears to be missing entirely from the remit of the new OfS.

    Neither are there provisions to preserve and update what has already been discovered. The essay mill argument re-erupted recently – students paying others to write their assignments! – a problem which has already been addressed in the early years of this century. Guidance existed, through the work of the LTSN, JISC and others to support the design of assessments that could not be “beaten” in this way. The principles are simple, the underpinning research robust and the findings… well, they may be on the internet archive somewhere.

    Today’s White Paper talks at length about teaching excellence, but it won’t support excellent teachers. Neither will it develop excellence in teaching.

    8 years ago
  • Competition? What competition?

    One curious aspect of this morning’s BIS press release on the White Paper was the choice of institutions used to highlight the benefits of opening up the HE market and increasing competition. University Campus Suffolk and the upcoming Hereford New Model in Technology and Engineering both feature prominently as institutions poised to benefit from the upcoming reforms, yet neither quite fit the bill of what many in the sector have in mind when they think of ‘alternative’ or ‘private’ providers. Furthermore, neither institution emerged ‘naturally’ from market demand, but both have their origins in collaboration.

    UCS was originally a cooperative venture between the University of East Anglia and the University of Essex, and arose from an initiative by Suffolk County Council to bring higher education to one of the few areas of the country without any provision. Start-up funding came from HEFCE and the East of England Development Agency. Cooperation and planning, not competition and markets, were the nexus of UCS’s development.

    Similarly, Hereford NMITE was formed from a political initiative to bring higher education to a new region, particularly after extensive lobbying by the local Conservative MP. Greg Clark, former universities minister, was heavily involved in the project. Other alternative providers highlighted in the White Paper include fellow specialist institutions such as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

    It is thus interesting to see the above institutions highlighted in the argument for the need to challenge established institutions. Each provide a relatively specialised or local service that is designed to fill gaps in existing provision, rather than challenge it. What will result from the regulatory reforms is that any demand gaps will be filled much more quickly than was previously possibly – surely a positive – but this is quite different to the ‘challenger institutions’ the government seems determined to create.

    8 years ago
  • John Kingman to head new government research body

    The FT reports that former HMT head John Kingman will lead the new UK Research & Innovation (UKRI):

    John Kingman, the Treasury mandarin at the centre of the 2008 bank bailouts, is to lead the creation of a £6bn research and innovation body, intended to improve Britain’s record of turning knowledge into cash.

    Mr Kingman will set up UK Research and Innovation, a body which brings together a range of organisations with a remit to provide a strategic vision, improve multidisciplinary research and to turn research into world-beating innovations.

    The Treasury official and banker, who previously worked for Rothschild and has extensive contacts in the City of London, has been asked to give British research more of a cutting edge and more commercial clout.

    Kingman is also the son of a former vice chancellor of University of Bristol. He narrowly missed out on the Permanent Secretary role of HMT earlier this year. He’s said to be very close to George Osborne and carries significant clout and respect in Whitehall. He knows his way around universities as well.

    So a big hitting insider to help bring UKRI in to the world – seems sensible. Apparently the intention is for a senior scientist to lead the organisation further down the line.

    8 years ago
  • The White Paper’s eight category mistakes

    Back in 2013, the late, great Sir David Watson wrote a paper for HEPI entitled Misunderstanding Modern Higher Education: eight category mistakes. Watson outlined eight frequent misapprehensions about UK HE that were often made in policy discussions and policy making.

    Interestingly, Watson’s long campaign for a credit-transfer system appears to live on in the White Paper’s unexpected passage calling for evidence about this might work. So keeping David Watson in mind, and as the first in a series of pieces that will evaluate the White Paper against criteria for effective policy making, we ask, have his category mistakes been made or avoided?

    Read it in full here.

    8 years ago
  • Where are they now?

    In recent months we’ve seen an epic battle of the quangos as the agencies have struggled to assert their position in the new landscape. HEFCE, protected by Coalition inactivity after threats emerged with the 2010 government’s spending plans, it is now to be split down the research/teaching divide with the former merging with Research Councils and the latter evolving into the Office for Students (OfS).

    “By creating the Office for Students, we will put student choice, teaching quality and social mobility at the top of the agenda in higher education. With UK Research and Innovation we’re creating a strong voice for our world-class knowledge base and ensuring the UK is ready to lead the world in multi-disciplinary research where some of the most exciting breakthroughs are taking place.” Jo Johnson.

    Here’s a run down of the winners and losers.

    8 years ago
  • From Green to White: a new validating body?

    The Green Paper proposed the creation of a new validating body to ensure that new providers have means to enter the market, following concerns about the decline in the number of validating institutions and concerns about the quality of some of these. Options included giving this power to QAA, the Office for Students or even the Open University.

    Today’s White Paper confirms that a new body will not be created but that the OfS will have the power to designate a ‘validator of last resort’ if access remained restrictive. The OfS will work with the sector to revise the Quality Code on validation, against which validators will be held to account.

    8 years ago
  • From Green to White: The Office for Students

    So, what’s actually changed between the Green Paper and White Paper? Were sector consultation responses taken into account? Over the day we will provide analysis of the continuity and change, and aim to identify which organisations might have influenced the final outcomes since November.

    The Office for Students (OfS) looks to have maintained much the shape and character set out in the Green Paper, with the White Paper confirming that it will ensure “the regulation of higher education will be restructured, shifting from an outdated, top-down model of a funding agency to a market regulator clearly focused on the student interest”. As in the Green Paper, that commitment to the prioritising the student interest is subsequently somewhat undermined by also outlining the OfS’s responsibilities to the taxpayer straight after. Nonetheless, it is clear that the tone set out in the White Paper is one of more active regulation and guarding against ‘provider capture’. The OfS will not be the sector’s champion as HEFCE is now, and the language in the White Paper suggests’ that BIS’s view on this has hardened somewhat since the consultation responses began to roll in.

    The OfS’s duties will be:

    • To operate the single gateway to entry
    • To promote choice and competition
    • To provide data, analysis and information required by the Secretary of State
    • To develop, publish and operate a risk-based regulatory framework
    • To help widen access and participation for disadvantaged students (incorporating OFFA and the Director for Fair Access)
    • To secure provision for assessing quality (including the TEF)
    • To monitor financial sustainability, efficiency and governance of the higher education sector
    • Responsibility for Prevent
    • To be the principal regulator for those higher education providers that are exempt charities.


    As expected, and suggested in the Green Paper, the OfS will have the final say in granting university status and degree awarding powers, removing these from the Privy Council.

    The OfS will also have the power to obtain a court warrant to enter and inspect institutions that violate rules of funding or registration. It will also be able to designate the ‘validator of last resort’ for those institutions still unable to access the market through the loosened regulations, but it will not be the validator itself as mooted in the Green Paper.

    The explicit responsibility for the Prevent anti-extremism duty is new from the Green Paper, but was largely expected. The White Paper confirms that the OfS will be in part funded by subscription fees from the sector, but not fully, as proposed in the Green Paper. Future legislation would give the OfS the power to charge such fees, and the level of fee will in part be determined by the size of the provider.

    Importantly, with HEFCE’s research functions confirmed as being transferred to Research England and UKRI, it will be the OfS that will have monitoring oversight over all HE providers, in order to cover the (mainly alternative) providers that won’t conduct research. Current staff of HEFCE and OFFA (which also gets rolled in OfS) are expected to transfer over to the new organisation.

    8 years ago
  • Credit worthy

    “An increase in course and institution transfer would also bolster the role that higher education plays as a leading vehicle for social mobility. If the option of transferring were more available, then it would be to the benefit of students who might otherwise have dropped out, perhaps because they needed to be in a different part of the country, as well as reduce the typically three-year commitment that deters potential students with less secure backgrounds.” White Paper, p53

    Team Wonkhe decided to get a head start on newly-reopened debate about credit accumulation and transfer. We know it’s an old debate, and seen as a fringe interest by proponents of a Schengen-style borderless higher education world.

    To get the ball rolling, we’ve presented a few options:

    1. The transfer window

    The sector could have a window, say at the end of the first year of an undergraduate degree, where all students could put their hat into the ring (via UCAS?) with a record of the modules they’ve taken and results for their first year. Then through clearing they could seek to trade up/down/across as they see fit. This way, you can keep the coherence of the final two years of a bachelor’s degree, especially given that in many places the first year won’t count towards the final classification. This builds on the accreditation/recognition of prior learning already in place, but adds a structure to promote mobility.

    2. Pick and mix

    Students could opt, like the Open University’s Open Degree, to take a range of modules from any provider so long as they accumulate credit at the relevant levels for the award. This would be the purest form of accumulation/transfer but would require a reassessment of what it is to hold the award, given the potential for incoherence (twelve 30 credit modules for a bachelor’s degree, each from a different provider?). Where would the degree certificate come from – a role for the OU, the pioneers of this approach, perhaps?

    3. In this together

    Groups of institutions with an inclination to share their portfolios could club together to share modules. Within a city, for example, students could take courses from across the providers to gather the necessary credit. There could be efficiencies with shared teaching of some core courses such as methods training.

    Moving to a system of borderless transfer wouldn’t be easy. It would require a lot more cooperation and a willingness to reconsider the nature of the degree. And students should be protected from building incoherent awards which don’t help them develop the necessary skills, knowledge or experience.

    David Watson, writing for HEPI in 2014 summed up the stark truth about credit transfer: “The most important pressure militating against the success of Credit Accumulation and Transfer (CATS) in UK HE seems to have been institutional protectionism, reflected especially in the reluctance to grant advanced standing on admission. This is reinforced by funding approaches which devalue part-time and mixed-mode study.”

    We know the challenges, particularly for an increasingly competitive sector resistant to perceived threats to institutional autonomy. But there’s a lot of potential in the idea. Students could more easily take control of building their own experience and could more easily redress deficits in the advice and guidance they receive pre-first-time-application. If you believe that student choice and the operation of a market is a key to driving quality, then students need the chance to choose.

    8 years ago
  • From Green to White: Public body requirements and deregulation

    The Green Paper asked for the sector’s views on proposals to deregulate universities from public body requirements to level the playing field with alternative providers, and in recognition of the fact that fee income increasingly comes from students (although this is remains heavily subsidised). This included a contentious recommendation to free universities from FOI requirements, as well as other deregulatory measures.

    Today’s White Paper confirms that, in line with the recommendations of the independent Commission appointed by the Cabinet Office, providers that receive public funding will continue to come under the scope of FOI, while those that do not receive public funding will not. The White Paper also confirms that providers will no longer need to submit changes to their governing body documents and will remove unnecessary regulations related to Higher Education Corporations.

    8 years ago
  • From Green to White: students’ unions

    The Green Paper included proposals to increase transparency around Student Union funding as a means to improve accountability. At the time, on Wonkhe, we suggested that this was a recommendation that might have come direct from Sajid Javid who had a fraught history with them running back to his time at the University of Exeter when he took his union to the European Court of Human Rights. ­

    Today’s White Paper confirms that it will consider what further steps can be taken to improve transparency and accountability of students’ unions through OfS but falls short of making a concrete proposal. The paper suggests the government will discuss options further with interested parties and that this could include a central register of students’ unions, strengthening the rights of redress for students, and reviewing how effectively the existing statutory provisions regarding students’ unions are being upheld.

    8 years ago
  • New landscape, new diagrams

    We love a good diagram here at Wonkhe and will be designing our own for the new system. But in the meantime see the government’s attempt which sets out how the new landscape fits together (p28):


    8 years ago
  • TEF Technical Consultation

    Also important and published today is a consultation on the TEF for year 2 – download this here.

    Team Wonkhe is hard at work analysing this and the White Paper.

    8 years ago
  • BIS issue press release: New universities to deliver choice and opportunity for students

    new plans will make it easier to set-up high-quality new universities to give students more choice
    rigorous drive to raise teaching quality and ensure universities focus on getting students into graduate jobs
    plans deliver on key manifesto commitments to ensure universities deliver the best value for money for students and recognise the highest quality teaching

    The full document won’t be far behind. Read the release here.

    8 years ago
  • A truly conservative paper?

    Former Tory MP and now executive editor of Conservative Home Paul Goodman has been tracking Jo Johnson’s time in office and has produced one of the more interesting analyses of the White Paper so far this morning.

    Goodman summarises the working principles upon which Johnson has based his reforms:

    • Opening up the market and busting restrictive practices that lead to sector complacency.
    • A ‘Steve Hilton-type accountability and transparency revolution’ based on tougher regulation and greater quantities of information for applicants.
    • Pressuring the sector to widen its entry gates to the most disadvantaged through the publication of UCAS data.

    However, Goodman suggests that far from being a means to even further sector expansion, the minister wishes to put greater pressure on the sector to only provide courses of perceived real value, and “that if more would-be students had better information about future earnings they might not go to University at all”. Conservative Home have previously argued that higher education is too large and that resources would be better spent on vocational education and training, and have also suggested directly linking university income to graduate earnings. Whilst the government has not been bold enough to go that far (yet…), the overarching philosophy appears to be shared by the minister: ramping up market pressures will weed out ‘unnecessary degrees’ and force universities to be more focused in the quality and quantity of what they deliver.

    Obviously these initiatives will be accompanied by cries of horror from many across the sector, and there will be a lot of criticism of the White Paper from broadly leftist and liberal perspectives. Goodman, on the other hand, suggests that many conservatives will be uneasy about the “lumbering and unwieldy” TEF carried out on the basis of “bureaucratic inspection”. There appears to be a degree of disappointment that the market reforms introduced under David Willetts were not enough to drive up quality, and that the introduction of a TEF is a ‘second-best’ means to raising standards that conflict with the wider principal of freeing up the market.

    Nonetheless, Goodman and many other Tories are clearly in admiration of Johnson’s ministerial activism to “see a wind of change gust through a secretive system”, and this might play very well for the minister’s career.

    8 years ago
  • Peace in our time? The other future of quality assessment

    In all of the noise this week, we shouldn’t forget the big development at the end of last week – that HEFCE was to award the lion’s share of its quality work back to QAA. After nearly two years of agency infighting in what became known as the Second Quality Wars (the first being in the 1990s), peace unexpectedly broke out.

    But that’s far from the end of the story. The White Paper is expected to give the Secretary of State power to designate a quality body (obviously QAA) and transition to a new quality regime in 2018. Far from the wars over the last couple of years – this is a moment that all agencies will have to pull together exceptionally well.

    Read our analysis in full here.

    8 years ago
  • Let’s get down to fundamentals

    The White Paper, as well as rearranging agency deckchairs in the M4 corridor, hits at some of the core underlying principles of how UK degrees are developed and delivered. Behind these headlines, Wonkhe has been thinking about some of the key nudges which could have a significant impact on the way institutions think about some of the basic building blocks of the university.

    Read the piece in full here.

    8 years ago
  • ‘Success in the Knowledge Economy’ – heard it before?

    Some readers may feel like the title of today’s White Paper rings a bell. In fact, it gives us quite a clue into the present minister’s intellectual influences.

    Peter Drucker, the prolific management guru and required reading for all business school students, wrote in his 1999 work, Managing Oneself:

    “Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves – their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.” 

    Drucker was a pioneering thinker of the idea of the ‘knowledge worker’ and predicted the death of the ‘blue collar worker’. His ideas were particularly in vogue in the 1990s with the development of New Public Management and government outsourcing, both of which he was an important advocate. Indeed, the very term ‘knowledge economy’ has a very late-1990s/early-2000s feel to it, evoking memories of New Labour’s 1998 Green Paper ‘The Learning Age: a renaissance for a new Britain’.

    Managing Oneself is effectively a self-help book for ambitious ‘knowledge workers’ looking to get ahead in the new world of flexible careers. Drucker argued that is up to every individual to ‘be their own chief executive officer’. This clearly has appeal to traditional Tory values of self-reliance, but also more modern conservative beliefs in the value of getting ahead and defining oneself in a competitive environment. From what we know so far, these are just the lessons that the minister believes the sector needs to learn. Vice-Chancellors might find themselves re-reaching for their copies of Drucker not touched since their MBA studies.

    What’s curious to Wonkhe is that the language of the ‘knowledge economy’ appeared to have taken a back seat in public policy discussions the past few years. The link between education and economic growth has been criticised, most prominently by educationalists Alison Wolf and Sally Tomlinson, and also by economist Ha-Joon Chang. Nonetheless, today will see the knowledge economy return to the centre of educational discourse.

    8 years ago
  • HE White Paper: What we know so far

    From what we can tell, the White Paper does not radically depart from the Green Paper – the thrust of the proposals remain largely unchanged. But today’s document offers much more detail and a solid plan to roll out the proposed changes. We’ll have to wait for the final document to confirm any measures, but this is what we understand so far on TEF, Quality, student mobility, agencies, research, alternative providers, WP and the next steps – read it all here.


    8 years ago
  • How have the media covered the White Paper so far?

    The HE White Paper hasn’t yet been published, but the press has been briefed.

    The BBC have a broad overview of the two leading stories in the White Paper – the opening up of the market and the increase in maximum fee levels.

    The Financial Times have university reforms at the top of their Politics and Policy section, and focus on the link between teaching quality and higher fees, quoting Gordon Marsden’s criticism of a “trojan horse”.

    The Guardian have led with the freedoms being afforded ‘startup universities’ and the efforts to introduce competition into the sector.

    The Times have led on the ultimatum being given to universities to improve their teaching in order to charge higher fees. Anthony Seldon has also written a column full of praise for the White Paper and the minister responsible.

    The Daily Mail have led with the new requirements for universities to publish data on widening participation, and also the ‘Mickey Mouse‘ line on course quality.

    The Daily Telegraph have a unique angle, leading with Lord Patten’s criticism of universities’ “lower their standards in order to make up for some inadequacies in our secondary education system”.

    The i have highlighted the drive for higher quality teaching and say that the new proposals will squeeze out ‘Mickey Mouse degrees’.

    Fees are front and centre for the Huff Post, who focus on student opposition to the coming rising cost of tuition.

    TES focus on the benefits of opening up the market for FE colleges, who will now be enabled to compete with universities.

    Paul Goodman has analysed the proposals for Conservative Home, suggesting that a contradiction exists between the aim to free up the market whilst also introducing a stronger regulatory and bureaucratic framework for measuring quality.

    In addition, the FT also sets out details of the PM’s social justice legislative agenda and explains that BIS will have two Bills: one on skills, which will make 16-year-olds to choose between either technical courses or academia, and one on higher education.

    8 years ago
  • Where’s the White Paper?

    If you’re wondering why you can’t read the HE White Paper yet, well that’s thanks to Parliamentary rules that mean it needs to be laid before Parliament before being publicly released. We hope it will appear online sometime later this morning.

    8 years ago
  • Monday Morning HE Briefing

    This is going out shortly and contains a briefing about what we know so far about what’s in the White Paper. Don’t miss out:

    8 years ago
  • Nine key questions about the HE White Paper

    As the minutes count down to the White Paper release and then to the Bill that is expected in the Queen’s Speech, what are the issues to look for? The Green Paper presaged the biggest reforms since 1992 on the HE side, so will the government deliver on that ambition or rein back in response to the Green Paper consultation?

    No longer are we looking at the relatively homogeneous and stable sector we have had since 1992. Recent government rhetoric has been about competition, deregulation, market entry and indeed market exit. We have to recognise that the White Paper addresses all providers, not just those who have a substantial track record.

    So what would should we look for?

    Read the piece in full here.

    8 years ago
  • Good morning.

    The live blog will get underway at around 8am on Monday

    8 years ago