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University catering and who pays: Some food for thought

With universities and colleges bracing themselves for the budget and the Comprehensive Spending review (CSR), they will also be looking to find more sources of revenue. Catering for students as a ‘captive audience’ on campus is one such source with one campus catering organisation telling their members “Students are willing to pay for good quality…

Skills, Skills, Skills: levelling up and hardship denial at the Conservative conference

With the dust settling on the Conservative Party conference in Manchester this week, there has been considerable reflection in all quarters. There was no indication of policy on university funding, equality or widening access. Indeed, the emphasis appeared to be on steering students away from universities to be attracted by the ‘skills’ agenda that dominated…

Higher education, fees loans, and the Labour conference

After the dust settled on the Labour Conference in Brighton this week, we are reflecting on what happened.  Most media outlets focussed their attention on divisions in the party between those trying to occupy the pragmatic centre ground and those seeking a hard socialist agenda for government. Yet this tended to overshadow radical changes in…

Privatisation storm looms for universities

With more pressure piled onto universities in recent weeks as term begins, it looks like something is bound to break soon. The crisis in admissions and examinations is only generating a sense of foreboding. Add to this the increase in numbers and accommodation shortages and it is like those heavy sultry days of summer that…

Changing the guard at the Department for Education

Major changes in the education leadership of the government in England were part of a ‘mid-term’ reshuffle last week that appears to be a clear out in preparation for an election that might be earlier than May 2024.  The signs are not good as a largely new education team tackle a legacy of apparent chaos…

Are independent schools cheating or ‘gaming the system’? UPDATE: National Reference Test a ‘scandal’

On Friday, Schools Week revealed something very surprising about independent schools with the exclusive ‘Ofqual won’t be able to explain private school grades boost’. It appears that none were included in the ‘National Reference Test (NRT) 2021’ carried out recently for Ofqual by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).  The NRT has been conducted…

Proposed radical changes to school examinations putting the ‘cat amongst the pigeons’

A report last week on the examination system in Scotland has also put the ‘cat amongst the pigeons’ across the UK.   The Scottish Government commissioned the OECD to look closely at the education system in Scotland with a view to making further reforms. The latest result  is ‘Upper-secondary education student assessment in Scotland’ (OECD 31st…

2021 Examinations: From gold standard to fool’s gold

Earlier today saw the release of the examination results that determine university entrance for students across the UK. These are A-levels in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Highers and Advanced Highers in Scotland. Those in Scotland and Wales were fortunate to have their results well in advance and were waiting for confirmation only. Unfortunately,…

TEFS is on holiday

Back soon

Levelling up: True Blue or just a bit faded?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempted to expound on his ‘levelling up’ policies in Coventry yesterday to very mixed reception. It came out as confused and lacking in any clear detailed policy to such an extent that most observers reacted with incredulity. This was mixed with disappointment and some anger. Everyone expected some new policy announcements,…

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