Mark Leach

The rising tide

by Mark Leach on May 22, 2014

Last night The Guardian kicked off a major new investigation in to how some private HE colleges are abusing student loans. These revelations, along with those that are planned to follow it over the coming days, are damaging to the whole sector. With the Queens Speech just days away, the Government has one final chance to provide the legal underpinning to allow respectable institutions to thrive, and crack down on those that are exploiting the system.

What is a wonk?

by Mark Leach May 12, 2014

The question ‘what is a wonk?’ has come up many times since wonkhe was launched three years ago. But in three years, understanding has come a long way. As the higher education sector in the UK has accepted if not embraced the term, there is still some clarification to be done. In this piece, Mark Leach looks at who the HE wonks are and draws lessons from other countries and other sectors.

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Big update

by Mark Leach April 11, 2014

A few months ago we embarked on an ambitious project to substantially grow this site and its activities and I am pleased to report that things are progressing very well indeed. We want to be the sector’s daily destination for all commentary, debate and analysis about higher education and be an important platform for the new and previously unheard voices in the sector. Our big ambitions are backed up by a big strategy that we are now in the first phase of delivering and I wanted to report back today about our progress and announce the first of many partnerships, as well as a new Editorial Group.

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Review of wonkhe’s 3rd year

by Mark Leach January 31, 2014

Wonkhe went live three years ago today, and as we celebrate our 3rd birthday, founder and Editor in Chief Mark Leach looks back at the last 12 months. With lots of exciting plans for the site and its surrounding organisation, today is also a good moment to preview some of the interesting developments that we have planned. Thank you for reading and supporting us for another year.

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Debating the future of research

by Mark Leach November 25, 2013

The REF submission deadline has finally arrived. But it’s only the beginning for researchers, departments and universities that have gambled big and need a good result. The results will make or break many universities’ ambitions and long-term strategic plans. The REF’s importance to the sector, or the impact on it cannot be overstated. But it’s not just the REF looming large on policymaker’s minds. With severe pressure on the whole of the BIS budget and many outstanding issues to resolve, will the next Parliament afford the opportunity for a far-reaching debate to help shape the next long term settlement for research and science in the UK?

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Review of Wonkhe year 2

by Mark Leach February 4, 2013

This time last year on Wonkhe’s first birthday, we had a brief look back at the first year in operation. Another year has passed and so as we celebrate our 2nd birthday, it feels like the right time to have another review of the year gone by. This post will give a list of the top 10 locations for reading the site, as well as the most popular content. And as usual, we will have a little look towards the future. Thanks for reading.

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Bursting bubbles in higher education

by Mark Leach September 11, 2012

In higher education, policy bubbles are commonplace. They float around the sector drawing disproportionate levels of interest and as they grow, they become less rooted in evidence, research or coherent thought. It is important to understand these bubbles if we are to improve policy-making in higher education, a project that has never been more important.

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Comprehensive spending

by Mark Leach July 16, 2012

As Oxford announces a £75 million donation to help its poorest students, Mark Leach tries to put the money in context and dreams about what else could be achieved with a chunk of change that size in higher education. Also, the news that the 2013 Comprehensive Spending Review may be delayed until late 2014 tells us some interesting things about the state of the Coaltion.

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Understanding higher education in further education

by Mark Leach July 11, 2012

There are few things that excite wonks more than excellent and well-timed policy research. Last week, BIS published its report Understanding Higher Education in Further Education Colleges, written by a dream team of policy researchers – Gareth Parry from Sheffield and Claire Callender, Peter Scott and Paul Temple from IoE. HE in FE is one of the least-understood parts of UK tertiary education, and despite pockets of work in other quarters; no one else has attempted such an exhaustive study of this issue. Although it will surely have its critics, this new report is without a doubt the seminal work about HE in FE right now and absolutely essential reading no matter which side of the HE/FE divide you fall.

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