Independent HE News – September 2016 Newsletter


IHE give evidence to Higher Education & Research Bill committee

The Higher Education and Research Bill continues its passage through Parliament, where Independent HE Chief Executive Alex Proudfoot and Vice Chair Paul Kirkham gave evidence on Tuesday 6 September to the Public Bill Committee, alongside representatives from Universities UK and GuildHE. A full recording of the session is available to watch here; and the transcript is online here. Two Independent HE members, Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design and UCFB, also gave evidence later that day. Our evidence was then quoted directly in subsequent committee sessions by both the Minister for Universities and Science and MP members of the Committee. The meetings are scheduled to continue until 18 October 2016, when the Committee is expected to report. The role of the Bill Committee is to scrutinise the Bill line by line, and consider amendments proposed by MPs and outside organisations. Duly amended, the Bill will enter its Report stage in which the full House of Commons will again debate it in its entirety before proceeding to its third reading and thereafter sending it over to the House of Lords.


Independent HE launch pilot Validation Project in partnership with OU and QAA

Independent HE, in partnership with the Open University and QAA, has launched a pilot project to test a more efficient and streamlined approach to validation. The pilot scheme will see the development of a model to further increase efficiency, removing barriers to institutions seeking validation, whilst upholding the quality and standards essential for a sustainable and reliable validation service. This new approach could eventually operate right across the sector to include FE Colleges and alternative providers and will provide recommendations on the role the Office for Students could play to improve validation partnerships.

The press release from the OU, which includes a statement from Independent HE’s Chief Executive, is available here. You can also read Alex’s blog post on this ‘new vision for validation in the HE sector’ here.


Alex Proudfoot, Independent HE CEO placed at #34 in 2016 Wonkhe HE Power List

Wonkhe, a respected higher education blog and think tank, has published their 2016 Higher Education Power List, with Alex Proudfoot, Independent HE Chief Executive, placing 34th in the table. The list documents the most influential “Movers and shakers” in the Higher Education sector, and concludes that in 2016’s root-and-branch changes to English HE, “it is the group of ‘challenger’ institutions that have been most influential in the development of the reforms on the table”. Alex has worked tirelessly on securing this more favourable regulatory environment for independent providers, and his efforts have also seen a rise in understanding and knowledge of the independent sector across the British political spectrum. His powerful role in shaping the HE Bill was evident earlier this month, when Independent HE and its members were given equal footing with representatives of Universities UK when giving evidence to the Public Bill Committee. As further analysis from Wonkhe reports, a lot has changed since the last Power List, with the influence of the ‘alternative’ sector particularly growing in strength.


New blog to feature students from independent education providers

Independent HE has recently launched a new blog which will provide a platform for a range of voices, including guest posts from students at independent providers. Our first guest blogger was Jedrzej Szymanski, a Polish student at our member institution New College of the Humanities. He writes about his perspective on the Higher Education and Research Bill, arguing that it will allow more employers to distinguish between graduates of different universities and colleges. Our second blog was written by Ruth Lyons, another NCH student, giving her take on the second reading of the Bill in the House of Commons.

We are keen to feature guest blogs from both staff and students at member institutions, so that the public can hear directly from new voices across the independent HE sector. If there is a topic you would like to write about or you can put us in touch with some students who might be interested, please contact and we will be delighted to hear from you.


Independent HE CEO, Alex Proudfoot speaks at Policy UK forum on Alternative Providers of HE

Independent HE’s Chief Executive, Alex Proudfoot, spoke at Policy UK’s forum on Alternative Providers of Higher Education on 7 September. The forum was focussed on new entrants, quality standards and student protection. The panel featuring Independent HE addressed faster entry for new providers, Degree Awarding Powers and ensuring quality. Alex explained the role of Independent HE within the sector; considered the current status of alternative providers; dispelled some myths around the new DAPs provisions in the HE Bill; and the broken system of validation, which needs to be much more open and efficient.

Alex will also be speaking next month at the Universities UK conference ‘The HE White Paper: What it Means for your Institution’, on 11 October.


English UK take on the Three Peaks Challenge in memory of late Chief Executive, Eddie Byers

The team from our close associates English UK are taking on the Three Peaks Challenge in memory of their late Chief Executive, Eddie Byers, who sadly passed away last year. Eddie was a close friend of ours who was very supportive of Study UK (now Independent HE) and the money raised will go towards the Eddie Byers Scholarship, creating a lasting legacy in his name. Eddie believed that education transforms people’s lives and wanted to create a scholarship to give students from around the world the chance to study English in the UK. You can find out more and donate here.

  • On 15th September 2016