Who got the government’s 10,000 extra student numbers?

The government has announced, with some fanfare, allocations of the up to 5,000 additional healthcare places and up to 5,000 places for courses of “strategic importance”.

The announcement is the conclusion of the Department for Education (DfE)’s bidding round for places – it ran a metrics-based threshold for “quality” based on retention and employability data, and eligible universities – in all nations of the UK – submitted bids for the additional places. All eligible bids were accepted – and although the bids for healthcare places exceeded the 5,000 limit (in the end all 5,611 were approved) the bid for places in strategically important subjects only amounted to 3,859, well short of the 5,000 limit.

So, is this policy success or policy failure? You could view this as a test-run for the imposition of stricter number controls based on quality thresholds. Failure to meet the projected numbers could be seen as a problem, with the outcome being less additional human capital and skills. Or it could be argued that the public can now be more confident that only “high quality” providers are able to deliver these courses. You could also argue that when the government said “go ahead and step up to the plate”, the bit of the sector that was allowed to has somehow not quite managed to fill its boots.

Whichever way you view it, in any other year the notion of “extra” places would be a fiction – it’s only the existence of the student number cap (2020-21 forecast plus five per cent) that creates the possibility of extra places. You could argue that the policy failure here is with universities for asking for the cap in the first place, given they could have in theory delivered these additional places at any time in the last eight years. There’s also the small matter of whether students will be recruited to those places, which remains to be seen.

And given that we have totals by subject and totals by provider (but not totals by subject and provider, if you see what I mean) what we can’t really judge meaningfully is whether these places are any in way “extra”.

If Grittleton Institute of HE got 150 extra engineering places in this exercise, what’s to stop it now recruiting 140 extra English students and claiming it was only planning to recruit 10 until now? If, when we get to the autumn, we can’t see 3,500 more of these “good value” enrolments in these providers than we had last year, presumably there will be trouble. By then that might be the least of DfE’s worries.

InstitutionStrategic ImportanceInitial Teacher TrainingNursing, Midwifery and Allied HealthcareTotal Additional
Anglia Ruskin University00250250
Aberystwyth University10000100
AECC University College, Bournemouth002020
Bishop Grosseteste University025025
Bournemouth University002121
Bucks New University004545
City, University of London009999
Coventry University55060115
Edge Hill University020240260
GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART150015
King’s College London250050300
Kingston & St George's, University of London003434
Liverpool Hope University3540075
Liverpool John Moores University009090
London Metropolitan University002020
London Southbank University00116116
Loughborough University400040
Manchester Metropolitan University006565
Middlesex University00125125
Nottingham Trent University870130217
Oxford Brookes University003232
Sheffield Hallam University00294294
Staffordshire University002020
Swansea University25000250
Teesside University00214214
The Royal Veterinary College650065
The University of Birmingham250040290
The University of Bradford150111126
The University of Essex119077196
The University of Huddersfield02580105
The University of Kent400040
The University of Lancaster10000100
The University of Leeds200035235
The University of Leicester1470120267
The University of Liverpool125040165
The University of Manchester250040290
The University of Northampton00100100
The University of West London00175175
The University of Wolverhampton00242242
Truro and Penwith College (in association with University of Greenwich)00100100
University College Birmingham007070
University College London23000230
University of Aberdeen250025
University of Bolton00200200
University of Brighton007878
University of Bristol18500185
University of Central Lancashire007474
University of Chester030127157
University of Cumbria00101101
University of Dundee600060
University of Durham250200270
University of East London008888
University of Exeter50050100
University of Gloucestershire020210230
University of Greenwich00206206
University of Hertfordshire007070
University of Hull005252
University of Lincoln007575
University of Newcastle upon Tyne235015250
University of Northumbria at Newcastle0120126246
University of Oxford610061
University of Plymouth01099109
University of Roehampton005050
University of Salford00113113
University of Southampton130037167
University of Strathclyde250025
University of Sunderland00124124
University of West of England005050
University of Worcester025473498
University of York100025125
York St John University0301343
349436556119470
SubjectTotal Bid for
Architecture135
Biological sciences and biochemistry756
Chemistry228
Engineering1396
Engineering geology, hydrogeology, geophysics, geology and geochemistry43
Mathematics492
Physics281
Social work49
Veterinary Science114
Initial Teacher Training365
SubjectTotal Bid for
Adult nursing2827
Nursing (children's)332
Mental Health nursing576
Learning Disability nursing68
Dental Hygiene/Dental Therapy63
Midwifery446
Dietetics59
Occupational Therapy186
ODPs116
Orthoptics3
Physiotherapy317
Podiatry/Chiropody33
Diagnostic Radiography201
Therapeutic Radiography44
Speech and Language Therapy30
Paramedics310

4 responses to “Who got the government’s 10,000 extra student numbers?

  1. Intriguing to see two Scottish and one Welsh institution in the list… how does that work betwee the scope of the DfE’s role and devolved governments?

  2. When you see univerisites asking for 200+ nursing places you have to wonder about the quality of the education, how will they meet the need for skills labs places and practice placements and mentorship amongst other practical consideration like enough lecturers to deliver?

  3. And will they just take nursing students from other, local providers? I wait to be convinced that there will be an increase of more than 3000 nursing starters…

  4. @Carol The new SSSA standards where a student can work with any supervisor should to some extent create some much needed practice placement capacity…

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