The promise to students

by Jim Dickinson on October 17, 2014

The Consumer Rights Bill currently working its way around the Houses of Parliament promises to give the sector one of the biggest shake-ups it has had in recent years. Yet with universities remaining oddly quiet about this potentially landmark piece of legislation, quieter still is the debate about what this Bill means for students’ place in the academy and the ongoing ‘consumer’ versus ‘partner’ debates that have raged for years – not least on Wonkhe. With fresh legislation now looming, Jim Dickinson takes a look at its implications and considers the power of the promises that universities make to students.

The strange death of student number controls

by Colin McCaig October 13, 2014

In December 2013 in his Annual Autumn Statement the UK Chancellor George Osbourne announced the end of the Student Number Control (SNC) regime for English higher education institutions, thereby removing the cap on places that had been in place since 2009. But how and why did we get here? Was this the Government’s plan all along? Colin McCaig builds on his recent research to take us on a journey of paradoxical adventures in higher education market making.

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Lib Dem Conference: dross, polls and fees

by Sam Cannicott October 10, 2014

Perhaps it is because liberalism is an ultimately optimistic philosophy that explains why Liberal Democrats were so up beat at their annual conference this week. Despite dire poll ratings the conference bar was full of cheery activists and senior MPs determined to cling on to their seats. As the Liberal Democrats wrap up this year’s party conference season, Sam Cannicott looks at the mood of the party and their ongoing difficulties with fees and higher education.

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QAA put on notice

by Mark Leach October 7, 2014

Some very big news from HEFCE out today. “The higher education (HE) funding bodies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are to seek views on future approaches to the assessment of quality in higher education. Based on the feedback we receive, we will then invite tenders under a joint procurement exercise. This will ensure transparency and demonstrate value for money.”

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New federalism and UK higher education

by Andrew Boggs October 3, 2014

Continuing his series on regulation and higher education, Andrew Boggs looks at the implications for UK HE from the renewed focussed on creating a federal UK following the Scottish Independence Referendum. Devolution poses many challenges for policymakers, and for higher education the implications are enormous. But with great challenges, comes interesting opportunities for the sector to draw on international experiences and recast relationships with the nations that they are a part of, as well as with the United Kingdom.

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What chance of policy change on immigration?

by Alistair Jarvis September 30, 2014

When robustly challenged about HE and immigration policy this week, James Brokenshire MP, Minister of State for Immigration made clear that, despite growing calls for policy change, he was ruling out excluding international students from the net migration figures. But are there signs that this might change after the election? Alistair Jarvis takes a look from Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

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Clearing up the information landscape

by Johnny Rich September 29, 2014

Information is dangerous territory for HEFCE. There’s a lot riding on getting the balance right between what students and the taxpayer have a right to expect, and the burden on universities in providing it. The 2011 White Paper argued that in order to be ‘at the heart of the system’, students would need a diverse ecosystem of information. A landscape that would foster free market choices and a relentless competitive drive towards quality. However the diversity has instead created a jungle of data. Johnny Rich sets out the issues and 7 principles for clearing up the data landscape.

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UKIP’s latest education policies

by Mark Leach September 26, 2014

With the General Election only 7 months away, UKIP are this week holding their final party conference and so have announced a spate of new policies include those relating to higher education. Mark Leach takes a brief look at them.

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The postgraduate identity crisis

by Jenny Shaw August 4, 2014

With rising fears that there is a crisis looming in English postgraduate higher education, Jenny Shaw takes a look at a recent study which shows that that there is a crisis in identity and belonging amongst postgraduate students. With so much policy attention focussing on full time undergraduates and their fees, is it now time to look seriously at what is going on beneath the surface of the complicated postgraduate landscape?

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