IHE responds to proposals by the Office for Students

IHE responds to proposals by the Office for Students

Alex Proudfoot, Chief Executive of Independent Higher Education, has commented on proposals by the Office for Students on a new approach to regulating student outcomes:

“IHE’s central mission is to promote the values of diversity, flexibility, innovation, student focus and collaboration within UK higher education, and to support our members who put these values into practice. IHE members pride themselves on delivering excellent teaching and learning, and making a real difference in the professional lives and ambitions of their students.

“We will consider carefully what the 700 pages of policy detail published by the Office for Students today will mean for our members, and for the values that they share. The sheer length and complexity of the B3 consultation alone speaks to the potential pitfalls of believing that one can regulate for an equality of outcomes, not the equality of opportunity that every student deserves.

“We welcome the OfS’s clear commitment to taking account of context as well as data before making any regulatory decisions, and we look forward to working with them to address what are sure to be major challenges with applying their new approach in the case of smaller independent providers and innovative new institutions. Statistical uncertainty will be a huge concern for those with small or unique datasets, which it may not be possible to mitigate in full, while there is a real risk that the indicators they propose to use are already out of date in a world where flexible study options, microcredentials and lifelong learning are growing in importance every day.

“While demographics will mean a boom in the number of school leavers in the years ahead, it is more clear than ever that our higher education sector must serve a far more diverse student population, including working adults who want to refresh their knowledge, further their career or move into a new industry. In its focus on outcomes data, the OfS must be careful not to put unnecessary barriers in the way of student choice or the kind of flexible provision which can respond quickly to what businesses and the economy need to move forward.”

  • On 20th January 2022