News from the Sector – September 2016 Newsletter

TEF technical consultation and call for evidence on accelerated courses and switching providers

In July, Independent HE responded to the technical consultation on year two of the TEF (read our response online here) as well as the call for evidence on accelerated courses and switching (read our response). The Department for Education has been digesting the responses to both consultations over the summer and is expected to report its findings in September.


Chair and Members of Teaching Excellence Framework announced

The Government has announced that Sheffield Hallam’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Husbands will be the inaugural chair of the Teaching Excellence Framework, helping to steer the HE ratings system in its second and third year (2017/18 and 2018/19).

HEFCE have also announced the full TEF panel members, which include Kaplan’s Dr. Vikki Smith and Empire College London student Sala Kamkosi Khulumula from the independent HE sector.

Higher education institutions will be allocated a rating of “outstanding”, “excellent” or “meets expectations” based on a range of metrics and other evidence under this new system.


HE Bill – Technical Note on Market Entry & Quality Assurance and Information Note on Student Protection Plans

A technical note on risk-based regulation has been published by DfE that outlines the requirements that need to be met for a provider to enter the new system proposed in the Bill. Annex A outlines the baseline requirements for entry into the single-regulation system. Annex B gives in detail the requirements for Degree Awarding Powers and University status. Annex C outlines what quality assessment will involve for regulated providers. Annex D gives a table of responsibilities for process and judgements in a risk-based regulatory system, outlining the activity and which body is responsible for each. The full document is available here.

An information note has also just been published on the use of student protection plans as envisaged by the Bill. The document is available here.


Universities Minister writes open letter to students

Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP has published an open letter to students which explains the reforms proposed in the new HE Bill and the benefits which they are specifically intended to bring to students – including the linking of tuition fees to student outcomes and satisfaction, and increased availability of data on a provider’s applications, admissions, drop-out rates, and graduate outcomes.


2016 National Student Survey results published

The Times Higher Education reports on the publication of the results from the 2016 National Student Survey. Overall, the results were broadly the same as for the previous two years, with students generally satisfied with what was on offer. Included in this year’s results are 13 alternative providers, up from 5 in 2015. Independent HE members Futureworks Media School received 83% satisfaction, a full 20 points above the benchmark(2) for similar programmes and groups of students. Alongside changes to the questions and survey provider, next year will also see the NSS become compulsory for all providers Designated for student finance in England. You can read our full news story on the results here.


Student survey changes

HEFCE has announced some changes to its National Student Survey and Unistats data following a recent consultation. The consultation proposed changes to Unistats and the Key Information Set (KIS) for 2017; information published by institutions on courses for 2017; and changes to the NSS for 2017. A summary of the analysis of the consultation responses and the decisions they have taken as a result is available here – the full summary document of responses to the consultation is also available to download.


New report questions value of ‘graduate premium’

The Intergenerational Foundation has published a report claiming that, apart from Oxbridge, medical and dentistry graduates, there is no guaranteed graduate earnings premium for young people entering higher education, and querying why the government is encouraging 50% higher education participation rates if the employment market is not providing graduate-level pay in return for student investment. The report received coverage by BBC News.


Student grants replaced by loans

BBC News reports on the removal of maintenance grants for students from low-income families who are entering higher education, in favour of maintenance loans. The change, announced by then-Chancellor George Osborne MP last summer, was officially introduced at the beginning of August.


TES: ‘Number 10 scraps education adviser role’

The Times Educational Supplement reports that Prime Minister Theresa May will not have a dedicated adviser on education policy, following Rachel Wolf’s decision to step down from that role at Number 10. It is understood she will not be directly replaced as the Prime Minister looks to create policy advisers with much wider briefs, such as “economics and industrial policy” and even “public services”. The TES argues that the change could mean education will be handled more closely by Ms May’s joint chief of staff Nick Timothy, who moved to Number 10 from the free-schools charity, the New Schools Network (NSN).


UCAS postgraduate service update

UCAS has developed a number of new services to support students searching for postgraduate courses. These include a new search tool and an expanded catalogue of online resources, providing information and advice to those considering further study and details of the Government’s new postgraduate loans.

  • On 16th September 2016