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The cracks between the government and universities are widening

The cracks dividing the government’s vision of Higher Education and that of the HE institutions in England are becoming wider.  It is hard to ignore the dangers of the rift as the main regulator, the Office for Students, flexes its muscles. In the last two weeks, we have seen the closing of three major consultations…

Levelling up and HE reform:  More ‘Claptrap’ Part One

This is the first part of an overview of the ‘Levelling up’ agenda and the role of Higher Education (HE) reform announced last week. HE reform must be viewed in the context of wider moves by the government and their consequences to make more sense of what is planned. The recent ‘Levelling Up the United…

Response to Augar: Much more to consider beyond the leaks

The long-awaited response on higher education reform from the government to the Augar recommendations of May 2019 emerged today. It will take considerable time to take in the full implications and prejudgements are probably premature.  Meanwhile the announcement was swamped by the terrible news unfolding from Ukraine. Much of the content was pre-empted by media…

New OfS Director to be appointed: But no role for the Commissioner for Public Appointments

The position of head of the Office for Students (OfS) is pivotal in steering the future of post-18 education institutions in England. Late on Friday saw the announcement of the process to recruit a new CEO for the OfS.  This comes at a time of considerable uncertainty and change.  Yet, unlike the previous appointment, this…

Back to the future seen through the eyes of students

One thing for certain is that university life was already miles distant from the experience of most of our political leaders. Now the pandemic has transformed it into something unrecognisable from anything seen in the past. Two events this week added to the rising tide of information about how students across the UK are coping…

Are independent schools cheating or ‘gaming the system’? Season three, Episode one

The Sunday Times kicked off the new examinations season today with a further warning about independent schools ‘gaming’ the examination system. Their main target in ‘Private schools ‘gamed’ Covid rules to give their pupils more top A-levels’ was the astounding grade inflation at A-levels and GCSEs between 2019 and 2021. The uplift in A* grades…

Predictions for universities in 2022: UPDATE. Student Loans and a failing government

UPDATE 28th January 2022 The predictions for 2022 made by TEFS at the start of this month are holding up for now. More news of student loan repayments emerged today by stealth. This follows a week of more revelations about the fate of Johnson and No10. He is hanging on as predicted but will surely…

Toxic culture at No10 exposed for what it is: Us versus Them

It is fair to say that everyone in the UK is aware of the ‘goings on’ at the heart of the government in No10. It would also be fair to assume we are all amazed about the revelations.  Three issues emerge that shatter confidence in how the government of the UK is being conducted.  Firstly,…

OfS consultations: Higher Education regulation by decimation

The latest three consultations from the Office for Students (OfS) emerged yesterday. It could be that they are in effect the main response to the Augar recommendations that has been long delayed. The impact will have a massive effect on the HE sector and will lead to a ‘decimation’, in both the numbers of institutions…

Consultation, Consultation, Consultation: The OfS rides again

The Office for Students (OfS) closed its latest ‘Consultation on OfS strategy for 2022-25’ on Thursday. It is critically important for anyone interested in seeing the direction of travel in how our universities will be regulated.  The consultation took place with the incumbent CEO, Nicola Dandridge leaving in April and no replacement in the wings.…

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