Live: The Higher Education and Research Bill

A Higher Education and Research Bill has been announced by the Queen as she sets out the government’s new legislative plans. We’ll be tracking all the developments and setting the new Bill in context of HE policy history.



  • That’s all folks!

    Thank you to everyone who’s been checking in. We hope you’ve found our little nuggets of information helpful. We are finished with our coverage for this evening but of course the analysis, comment and discussion will continue on Wonkhe in the weeks to come.

    Have a good evening.

    Mark and David

    8 years ago
  • Will the TEF help students make choices?

    The following paragraph from the newly released BIS research on teaching quality will raise a few eyebrows in the sector:

    Teaching quality did not feature as a key issue that the students explicitly considered when applying to university. However this is not to say that would have been the case had more information been available- indeed, some students appeared to have used the reputations of universities, departments and academic staff as proxies for teaching quality. Issues students considered included university reputation, reputation of department; research profile of the department; and whether an institution was within commuting distance. Other factors mentioned were course content, the general ‘feel’ of the university (“can you see yourself living here?”), location, personal experiences and observations at open days and interviews, universities prospectuses online, other websites – such as Which University? – which provided information on universities, league tables which rank universities, employment outcome information on the UCAS website, and social media. For many students, fellow students’ comments about their experiences at universities on social media websites such as Facebook and The Student Room were the most useful and trusted sources of information.

    Most students were agreed that they would have considered TEF data when applying to university (apart from those who were set on applying to a particular institution), but many doubted whether TEF would have influenced their decision.

    One interesting shift from the Green Paper was the slight reframing of the rationale for the TEF away from ‘quality’ and more towards enabling student ‘choice’, though doubtless the authors believe that the two go hand-in-hand to some extent.


    8 years ago
  • Designated quality providers need not apply?

    A subtle signal in wording seems to confirm suggestions in the White Paper that the Secretary of State and OfS’s nomination of a ‘designated quality body’ will be optional. If this option were not taken up, the OfS would be responsible for monitoring and assessing quality and standards themselves.

    HERB quality clause

    HERB quality schedule

    Team Wonkhe believe that this is for one of two reasons. Either this is precisely how the quality system is intended to work in the long-term, with HEFCE’s approved tenders for QAA, HEA and LFHE providing merely a ‘transition’ arrangement before the OfS cement their overlordship of the sector. Or the option is merely there to keep the designated provider (or providers?) on their toes, with the threat of withdrawing the option hanging overhead.

    If it is the former, there may be yet more cause for unease about the power of the OfS, particularly if it is made as distinct from the established sector as the government seems to intend.

    8 years ago
  • Partial transparency

    In a huge climbdown from the aspirations of the Green Paper, which highlighted the differential outcomes for students from across ethnic groups, the Bill provides for transparency only in relation to students who applied to, and completed at, the institution.

    It also matters how those students performed. The HEFCE report on which the point was based noted: “The differences between white and BME student groups are widest in relation to the achievement of first or upper second class degrees.”

    This is disappointing: it’s a missed opportunity to shed light on some of the worst inequalities in our higher education system.

    Screenshot 2016-05-19 14.21.26

    8 years ago
  • Confirmed: the OfS will be able to validate degrees

    From the explanatory notes to the Bill:

    Clause 47: Validation by the OfS
    192 – This clause sets out the power of the Secretary of State to authorise, by regulations, the OfS to enter into validation arrangements (for either `taught’ awards or `foundation’ degrees) with either all, or some, registered higher education providers. The regulations may require validation agreements to conform to prescribed terms and conditions; enable the OfS to authorise registered higher education providers to provide some or all validation arrangements on behalf of the OfS; enable the OfS to deprive a person of an award. The Secretary of State may only exercise this power after having regard to advice from the OfS.

    The OfS appears to be a veritable jack-of-all-trades: funder, regulator, awarding body, and (if you interpret the below post as thus) SWAT team.

    The obvious question is: who will assure the quality and standards of OfS validated degrees? Will it be the designated quality assessment body appointed and overseen by the OfS?

    For now, that appears to be the only option.

    8 years ago
  • Entry and search powers

    The below section of the Bill, from Schedule 5, relating to Section 56, might well send shudders through proud proponents of HE sector autonomy:

    Power to issue search warrant
    (1) A justice of the peace who is satisfied that the requirements in subparagraph (3) are met in relation to relevant higher education premises may issue a warrant under this paragraph (a “search warrant”) in respect of the premises.

    (2) “Relevant higher education premises” means premises in England which— (a) are occupied by a supported higher education provider, and
    (b) are used for, or in connection with, the provision of higher education courses by such a provider, but does not include premises which are used wholly or mainly as a private dwelling.

    (3) The requirements of this sub-paragraph are met in relation to premises occupied by a supported higher education provider if—
    (a) there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that there is, or has been, a breach of a registration condition or funding condition of the provider,
    (b) the suspected breach is sufficiently serious to justify entering the premises,
    (c) entry to the premises is necessary to determine whether the suspected breach is taking place or has taken place, and
    (d) either of the requirements in sub-paragraph (4) is met.

    (4) The requirements referred to in sub-paragraph (3)(d) are—
    (a) that entry to the premises has been, or it is likely to be, refused;
    (b) that requesting entry may frustrate or seriously prejudice the purpose of entry.

    The OfS or the Secretary of State may apply to a Justice of the Peace in order to set this in motion.

    Two points stand-out:

    The real fear here will likely be not of BIS, but of the Home Office and its zealous persuit of tightening up Tier 4 visas.

    In all likelihood, this provision has not been draw up with established HEIs in mind. Instead, it might reflect BIS’s own unease at the potential for foul-play or fraud with the extent of the relaxation of market-entry. The government has been here before giving public money to a register of private education providers in order to free up a market. That was the Individual Learning Accounts fiasco from 1996-2001, where over £97 million was siphoned off by bogus training providers who exploited low market-entry barriers. There is also fear that a repeat might happen in the upcoming delivery of the apprenticeship levy.

    Does this thus suggest that BIS are hedging their bets? Nonetheless, the dramatic language of entry and search will raise some jitters.

    8 years ago
  • Curious forecasting

    The just-released Impact Assessment from BIS makes for curious reading, especially in the forecasted growth of HE providers. BIS Impact Forecast

    Firstly, despite the introduction of provisions for ‘market exit’, BIS anticipate that none of the established HEIs will exit the market between now and 2027-28. Secondly, despite the very same department currently leading a scheme of ‘area reviews’ of Further Education Colleges (FECs), with the stated objective of reducing the number of FE providers through mergers, the forecast contains no reduction in the number of FEC HE providers. Government forecasts, it seems, should be taken with a healthy degree of scepticism. Who knew?

    Wonkhe understands that these breakdowns will help lead us to the mysterious ‘£1 billion of extra funding per year’ for the sector mentioned in the White Paper, but we’re still trying to make sense of it. We will provide an update as soon as we crack it.

    8 years ago
  • Power and autonomy with OfS and the Secretary of State

    The Bill outlines the scope of guidance that the Secretary of State may be able to give the OfS. Many of these caveats will no doubt be a relief to many in the sector, some of whom were worried that such protections of the sector’s autonomy would not be explicitly stated in this new Bill. SoS guidance regs in HERBBut elsewhere, OfS is given lots of other powers that are likely to prove controversial…

    8 years ago
  • Explanatory notes

    Alongside the Bill itself, the government has published explanatory notes relating to the Bill and is a useful starting point if you are looking to navigate this big new piece of legislation. Read it here.

    8 years ago
  • You didn’t expect these amendments…

    The new Bill is long, and will take some time (and legal expertise) to fully digest on all the most pertinent matters. So for now, here’s a curious list in Schedule 11 of the Bill highlighting the weird and wonderful existing pieces of legislation that are due to be amended:

    • Geological Survey Act 1845
    • Mining Industry Act 1926
    • Science and Technology Act 1965
    • Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967
    • Agriculture Act 1967
    • Conservation of Seals Act 1970
    • Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970
    • Mineral Exploration and Investment Grants Act 1972
    • Supply Powers Act 1975
    • House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975
    • Northern Ireland Assembly Disqualification Act 1975
    • Patents Act 1977
    • Further Education Act 1985
    • Water Resources Act 1991
    • Scotland Act 1998
    • Northern Ireland Act 1998
    • Freedom of Information Act 2000
    • Government of Wales Act 2006
    8 years ago
  • TEF Chair advertisement released

    Elsewhere, the Cabinet Office have released details for those interested in applying to be the ‘Chair of TEF’.

    TEF Chair Description

    We expect that £12,000 for 30 days work will be very appealing… If readers are interested:

    The candidate must demonstrate how they meet the following essential criteria in their application:

    ·      Experience of senior leadership

    ·      Up to date knowledge of a broad range of approaches to teaching and learning

    ·      The ability to command the respect of higher education providers, as well as students and employers

    ·      Substantial experience of chairing complex and intensive decision-making processes


    Candidates can demonstrate how they meet one or more of the following desirable criteria in their application:

    ·    Experience of providing independent assessment (for example as a reviewer or external examiner)

    ·    Pedagogic research relating to education and higher education in particular

    ·    Disciplinary and/or professional leadership at a national level

    ·    A proven track record of demonstrably improving teaching quality and standards, the student experience and outcomes within their organisation

    ·    Experience and understanding beyond the educational sphere, for example in business

    8 years ago
  • Bill to be introduced later this morning

    According to the House of Commons agenda for today, the HE and Research Bill will be introduced to Parliament this morning. We think around 11.30am. The item reads:

    Screenshot 2016-05-19 07.29.47

    8 years ago
  • Labour to launch campaign against higher fees

    Perhaps a little slow out of the gates, Labour appear to be gearing up for a fight on the inflationary increases to tuition fees announced in the White Paper. The New Statesman’s political editor, George Eaton tweeted the following:

    This is unsurprising, not only given Jeremy Corbyn’s and John McDonnell’s support for abolishing fees, but also because it is a flagship issue for their brand of left politics that distinguishes from those in the party who support either fees or a graduate tax. It may also be due to the lack of new announcements in the Queen’s Speech that Labour can successfully drive a news-worthy wedge between themselves and the government.

    8 years ago
  • Bills we’ve known and loved: Higher Education Act 2004

    The Higher Education Act 2004:

    • Established the statutory post of Director of Fair Access
    • Enabled institutions to charge ‘top-up’ fees more than £1000, if they obtained approval from the Director of Fair Access for their ‘plan to promote equality of opportunity in higher education’ (which we now know as ‘Access Agreements’), up to a maximum limit defined by Parliament
    • Gave the Secretary of State the power to specify a student complaints scheme, and designate a body to run it (which was then applied to the OIAHE); also required institutions to comply with obligations imposed on it under the approved scheme, including a requirement to pay fees to the designated body
    • Removed any right to have SLC loans cancelled in the event of bankruptcy

    The Prime Minister was Tony Blair and the Secretary of State was Charles Clarke. This legislation extended the fees system so that institutions could charge higher fees, conditional on meeting new obligations to support fair access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The political left, including NUS and also much of the Labour Party (which were at that time more closely connected), hated the fees proposals and campaigned vociferously. The political right hated the new access duties (branding them the ‘OF-TOFF’ regime). At second reading, the government’s majority was reduced from more than 170 to just five. After the Act became law, Parliament set the new maximum fee level at £3000; unlike 1998 it was explicitly envisaged that a variable prices market would emerge between £1000 and £3000, but this was always a very dubious notion and it proved fallacious. In 2010, Parliament moved again under this legislation to endorse a Con-Lib coalition proposal to increase the maximum to £9000.

    8 years ago
  • Bills we’ve known and loved: Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998

    The Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 established the core architecture of income-contingent loans and imposed a requirement on institutions to charge ‘specified students’ (i.e. full-time home undergraduates) a fee ‘equal to the prescribed amount’ (which was £1000).

    The Prime Minister was Tony Blair and the Secretary of State was David Blunkett. The Labour Party had come to power in 1997 and immediately, and controversially, introduced fixed fees of £1000 per annum for FTUG programmes in England. At the same time, they reformed student loans to make their repayment less onerous, introducing the basic features of the system we have today (though it has been revised in some important respects); but crucially there was no loan available specifically to cover the £1000 fee. The argument was that higher education represented a large ‘middle class subsidy’ which should be curbed. There was an ongoing and widespread ‘doorstep backlash’, and NUS was seen as complicit. It is worth noting that the fee was intended to be truly fixed, not variable, except reductions for means-testing – it was not open to institutions to actually charge less than £1000, but a grant from government paid it up for qualifying students.

    8 years ago
  • Bills we’ve known and loved: Further and Higher Education Act 1992

    The Further and Higher Education Act 1992:

    • Merged the UFC and PCFC to form HEFCE; the new body to be appointed by the Secretary of State, taking into account the ‘desirability’ of having members of the board who have shown ‘capacity in the provision of higher education’
    • Established a duty on HEFCE to ‘secure that provision is made for assessing the quality of education’ it funds or may fund, and established a statutory committee within HEFCE to advise on this duty
    • Also gave the Secretary of State fairly sweeping powers to confer supplementary functions on HEFCE and to interpret whether a particular function is a proper function of it; and gave HEFCE powers to require information from institutions and carry out efficiency studies
    • Established the powers of the Privy Council in relation to university title and degree awarding powers

    The Prime Minister was John Major and the Secretary of State was Ken Clarke. This legislation underpins the core elements of the HE system we have today. It created a single funding council supporting a unitary sector, and laid the ground (following some toing-and-froing covered recently by Registrarism) for our current quality assurance regime. The 2016 Bill will make big changes here, abolishing HEFCE and replacing it with an ‘Office for Students’, to consolidate a shift from the ‘grant-making state’ to the ‘regulatory state’ in relation to HE teaching. In keeping with that, this body will lose all responsibility in the area of research, innovation and knowledge exchange. The OfS may, however, obtain powers that the 1992 Act allocated to the Privy Council (either in whole or with some complex provisions to keep the Privy Council involved somewhere, even if only for symbolic value). Finally, a collision between HEFCE’s recent policy on quality assessment and this new legislation may result in a totally new framework for this aspect of policy being enacted.

    8 years ago
  • An astonishing mis-use of statistics?

    You may have noticed in the below ‘key facts’ section of the government’s briefing a claim that “over 60% of students said they feel their course is worse than expected”. This stat has also been repeated in several government press releases and in the White Paper itself.

    The source is the 2015 HEA-HEPI student experience survey, and merges together two separate figures:

    The survey asked students to think back to when they applied for their current course, and to compare their expectations then with the reality of their academic experience to date. More students (28%) said their expectations had been exceeded than said their experience was worse than expected (12%). But around half of respondents (49%) said their experience was better in some ways and worse in others.

    No doubt many in the sector will view this as substantial misrepresentation of the survey. If this statistic is repeated on end around the press, it will be cause universities some difficult public-relations problems.

    8 years ago
  • Higher Education and Research Bill – government briefing

    Below text is from the government – a briefing about the Higher Education and Research Bill:

    “To ensure that more people have the opportunity to further their education, legislation will be introduced to support the establishment of new universities and to promote choice and competition across the higher education sector.”

    The purpose of the Bill is to:
    Deliver greater competition and choice by making it easier for new, high quality universities to set up, ensuring that students receive value for money and that our higher education system is giving employers the skills they need.

    Cement the UK’s position as a world leader on the research and innovation stage and maximise the Government’s investment of over £6 billion a year in research and innovation.

    This will help deliver the manifesto pledge to increase access to higher education and ensure our universities remain world-leading (p.35).

    The main benefits of the Bill would be:

    More choice for students by levelling the playing field for new, high quality providers. The Bill would make it simpler, quicker and easier for high quality new innovative and specialist institutions to set up, award degrees and compete alongside existing institutions. This would promote innovation and competition and foster better quality provision.

    Ensuring that everyone with the potential to succeed at university, irrespective of their background, would be able to choose from a wide range of high- quality universities. Alongside the Bill, the Teaching Excellence Framework would put in place incentives that would drive up the standard of teaching in all universities, and give students clear information about where teaching is best and what benefits they can expect to gain from their course.

    Ensuring world-leading research and innovation for the UK by building on the strengths of the current system. The Bill would make sure the UK research and innovation system is sufficiently strategic and agile to meet future challenges, and would deliver national capability that drives discovery and growth. For the first time we would provide legal protection for the dual support system in England.

    The main elements of the Bill are:

    Making it easier and quicker for new high quality providers to start-up, achieve degree awarding powers and secure university status. The Bill would also ensure tough and rigorous tests for providers who want to enter the system and enable their students to receive funding. Poor quality or financially unsustainable providers would not be allowed to enter.

    A new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) will raise teaching standards so students and employers get the skills they need and will, for the first time, ensure that funding of teaching in higher education is linked to quality, not simply quantity – a principle that has long been established for research.

    Putting more information into the hands of students by requiring universities to publish detailed information about application, offer and progression rates, broken down by ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background. This would shine a spotlight on universities that need to go faster on widening participation and social mobility and will ensure that universities take further action to recruit from disadvantaged groups.


    The Bill’s substantive provisions related to arrangements for Higher Education would apply largely to England-only. The main exception to the England-only status is funding for research from Research Councils who operate across the UK.

    Key facts:

    The UK needs more highly skilled graduates. Over half of job vacancies between now and 2022 are expected to be in occupations most likely to employ university graduates.

    Despite having some of the best universities in the world, employers are suffering skills shortages, especially in high skilled STEM areas; at the same time at least 20% of employed graduates are in non-professional roles.

    And we know we need to do more to give students more choice – over a third (34%) of graduates said they would make a different decision if they knew what they knew now. Over 60% of students said they feel their course is worse than expected and a third don’t believe it represents value for money.

    8 years ago
  • Bills we’ve known and loved: Education Act 1986 & Education Reform Act 1988

    The 1986 Education Act established statutory protection of freedom of speech within the law in universities and colleges, for members, students, employees and visiting speakers; and made ‘every person connected with the government of the institution’ responsible for securing it.

    The 1988 Eduction Reform Act:

    • Removed the polytechnics from local authority control and created the new legal form ‘Higher Education Corporation’, which most of the polytechnics then became
    • Abolished the Inner London Education Authority; the polytechnics it controlled became Companies Limited by Guarantee
    • Set up the Universities Funding Council (UFC) and the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council (PCFC)
    • Ended academic tenure rights (by setting up a body of five people – the ‘University Commissioners’ – with sweeping powers to amend the statutes of any university)
    • Made it a criminal offence to purport to offer a degree without the proper authority, and made the directors of companies guilty of the same if they allow the company they control to do this


    The Prime Minister was Margaret Thatcher and the Secretary of State was Kenneth Baker. These are worth taking together as they were part of the same scene. The key context was public sector reform. The 1985 Jarratt Report had been commissioned by the vice-chancellors’ national body and recommended adoption in the universities of stronger central management structures, and the abolition of academic tenure. At the same time, the government was ‘at war’ with many local authorities and in many cases the polytechnics within them were equal in size and budget alone to their other divisions combined. The polytechnic directors had a separate lobby, which was pressing for freedom. But a single funding council was seen by vice-chancellors and conservative elements as going ‘a bit too far’, hence a binary system remained but polytechnics were less constrained within that system. Two parallel admissions systems emerged as well – though this was not a statutory matter. Freedom of speech protections went across all institutions and had their roots in Conservative opposition to ‘no platform’ policies and related practices in some institutions; it may yet be this final aspect that becomes most relevant to today’s debate, as ‘no platform’ is a hot issue once again and we may see new measures proposed by government, or by parliamentarians through amendments.

    8 years ago
  • The Queen’s Speech

    The Queen has begun her speech and is listing off the full range of the government’s priorities, including

    “Legislation will be introduced to ensure that Britain has the infrastructure for businesses to grow” 

    “my government will ensure the United Kingdom is at the forefront of emerging technology” 

    and as expected…

    “To ensure that more people have the opportunity to further their education, legislation will be introduced to make it easier to form new universities, and to promote choice and competition in the higher education sector”


    8 years ago
  • Other legislation that will affect higher education

    Aside from the HE Bill itself, the government’s legislative and policy agenda announced today will likely involve other measures that will have an impact on HE. Many commentators have suggested that this year’s legislative agenda will be quite ‘light’ compared to last year’s mammoth list of proposals, several of which have not yet made it all the way through Parliament.

    The overall theme of the speech will be ‘improving life chances’, and the Prime Minister wishes to emphasise his interest in social policy and societal fairness. Most issues of controversy are being held back in light of the upcoming referendum and the government’s slim majority.

    • Social Care Bill: The PM wishes to take action to improve the quality of care for young and elderly people. Care leavers face a number of particular barriers to entering employment and higher education, which the government will plan to tackle. One known planned initiative is the provision for ‘mentors’ for care leavers up to the age of 25.
    • Extremism Bill: A new crackdown on extremism is planned, including a public ‘register of known extremists’ and new powers to ban certain groups. This may affect how institutions deal with their obligations under Prevent.
    • Education Bill: This will involve funding changes to education following a climb-down from the government on the full forced conversion of all schools to academies.
    • British Bill of Rights: This one is expected to make a return after a failed attempt last time and could radically redraw our constitution and impact equality legislation. However, it may yet be another ‘promise of a promise’, with numerous legal and constitutional issues to tackle.
    • A Digital Economy Bill is being announced which will crack down on intellectual property issues and give more powers to Ofcom.
    • UK Spaceport: Newquay is expected to be announced as the home of the UK’s new spaceport, which falls under the more miscellaneous of BIS’s responsibilities.
    • Skills White Paper (and Bill?): We know that new proposals on vocational education pathways are on the way, following the recent review by Lord Sainsbury. We will find out today if any legislation is required to implement them.
    8 years ago
  • Bills we’ve known and loved: Science and Technology Act 1965

    The Science and Technology Act 1965 established the procedures for creating Research Councils by Royal Charter, although only the Medical Research Council, the Science Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council were actually named. Others came later, including the splitting up the SRC.

    The Prime Minister was Harold Wilson and the Secretary of State was Tony Crosland. The wider context was Wilson’s totemic speech, as leader of the opposition in 1963, on the ‘white heat of the scientific and technological revolution’. Crosland took forward legislation to enact change in the funding regime for science. The impact at the time was debatable, though clearly the structural instruments put in place here have been long-lasting. The coming Bill is expected to significantly amend and reform this legislation to create a ‘nested’ structure with existing chartered Research Councils and some other bodies under the umbrella of a new statutory body, ‘UK Research and Innovation’.

    8 years ago
  • What will be in the HE Bill?

    From the details of the White Paper, we can begin to piece together all the many issues that an HE Bill announced today will have to cover. These include:

    • Abolishing HEFCE and introducing the OfS and its duties, overturning the 1992 Further and Higher Education Act.
    • Legislating for single entry into the HE sector through the OfS, and removing the need for the Privy Council to approve new entrants.
    • Outlining the parameters of the new quality assessment body, on the basis of “capability, co-ownership or governance by the HE sector, commanding the confidence of the sector and independence from Government or any Government body”.
    • Establishing the ‘transparency duty’ for individual institutions’ data on widening participation.
    • Overturning the Science and Technology Act 1965 to merge the research councils, and also the section of the Higher Education Act 2004 that established the AHRC.
    • The White Paper states that the government will “deregulate the constitutional arrangements that govern Higher Education Corporations (HECs) by removing unnecessary statutory requirements that are specified within existing legislation.” Whether this will be accomplished through the new legislation remains to be seen.
    • A legislative requirement for the OfS and UKRI to “work together on areas of mutual interest, such as the financial sustainability and efficiency of the HE sector”
    • Requiring “those organisations that provide shared central admissions services (such as UCAS) to share relevant data they hold with Government and researchers”.
    • Promises of “legislative protection” for the dual support system, despite the merging of the research councils into UKRI.
    8 years ago
  • Universities and the Civil War

    The annual State Opening is full of historical traditions that hark back to the conflicts between Parliament and the monarch. The Yeoman of the Guard – fortified by a glass of port – search the cellar for gunpowder to guard against the another gunpowder plot. Black Rod has the door to the Commons slammed in his face, representing MPs independence of the Crown. The Queen’s address, written for her by the government, represents her ultimate sovereignty invested through Parliament: the ‘fusion’ of the British legislative and executive branches in uneasy compromise.

    During the Civil War the two English universities found themselves at odds with Parliament as they took the side of Charles I. Oxford became the Royalist headquarters, and Charles set up an alternative assembly in Christ Church College. Cromwell forcibly seized assets from the Cambridge colleges, and the universities had to petition Parliament for protections.

    With the White Paper indicating a healthy amount of distrust held by the current executive towards the established institutions, might the universities and Parliament be heading for another round of conflict?

    8 years ago
  • Bills we’ve known and loved: Education Act 1962

    Throughout the day we will be publishing brief reflections on past legislation that has shaped higher education today. 

    The Education Act 1962 introduced a duty on all local authorities to give grants to qualifying students from their area to enrol on qualifying courses anywhere in the UK.

    The Prime Minister was Harold Macmillan, and the Minister of Education was David Eccles. This hugely important legislation ended the ‘postcode lottery’ for getting a grant depending on where you grew up. It can be no coincidence that this was seen as an essential move towards expanding opportunity at a time when people born during World War Two were reaching young adulthood, and in economic affairs the country was emerging from ‘austerity’. The Act’s legacy of student grants in England has only recently come to a close with the conversion of maintenance grants into loans confirmed in January.

    8 years ago
  • How will the opposition respond to the HE Bill?

    On the weekend Martin McQuillan wrote for Wonkhe with a scathing criticism of the Labour Party’s opposition on HE policy. Since then, we’ve got a little more of an insight into how Goredon Marsden, the Shadow Minister, will respond. He’s written for Politics Home and criticised the White Paper for overlooking devolution, part-time study, and stronger action on widening participation.

    Jo Johnson and his colleagues need to stop their ideological obsession with markets and competition and instead work with the grain of an entrepreneurial state, local government and business to embed social mobility and economic success for the next generation of young people who will enter HE.

    8 years ago
  • How will an HE Bill proceed through parliament?

    After being formally announced in today’s Queen’s Speech, it is unclear when exactly the text of the HE Bill will be introduced in Parliament. Nonetheless, after being formally introduced it’s a long and drawn out journey through both chambers before receiving Royal Assent. Over on Policy Watch, David Morris has given a quick overview of Parliamentary procedure and the anticipated ‘hotspots’ for the passage of an HE Bill.


    8 years ago
  • Good morning

    It’s the State Opening of Parliament and Queen’s Speech today. We know that the Queen will announce an HE Bill – the first time universities have been substantially before Parliament since the debates over the 2004 Act. We don’t know if we’ll see the actual Bill today, but we thought it would be fun and/or interesting to situate this odd tradition in context and look back at Bills of old and forward to what the new HE Bill might bring.

    Updates will start soon.

    8 years ago