Following the government’s lifting of Plan B measures, the University has set out its plans for operating during Semester 2. The guidance on working from home has been lifted and in person meetings can resume. The Governance team will be in touch regarding the format of upcoming meetings.
In last week’s digest we reported that OfS had launched its consultation regarding minimum student outcomes and the new Teaching Excellence Framework (‘TEF’). This week, Wonkhe explains the new proposals on minimum student outcomes and also has a long read setting out the policy history of quality regulation, TEF and “low value courses”.
QAA has also published the headline findings of its research into how the shift to digital and hybrid teaching and assessment during the pandemic impacted student engagement, contribution and achievement. The full report is due to be published next month.
Finance and funding
THE has published an analysis of the 2020-21 financial accounts from a number of universities, including Bath. It suggests that the tension may grow between saving money and investing in staff and facilities.
In pensions news, UCU has written to USS setting out the union’s updated USS pension scheme proposals. These proposals are aimed at resolving the dispute and avoiding further industrial action planned for February.
Tuesday was the deadline for submitting evidence to the House of Commons inquiry into the educational challenges facing children and young people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller backgrounds. The inquiry is part of the Committee’s work examining the issues faced by these groups and how they can be best supported.
The Office for National Statistics has also released its initial findings examining the earnings outcomes relative to the Living Wage for 25 year olds who received free school meals. This article explores demographic and geographic factors. It is the first in a planned series; the next will explore educational factors.
Student experience and wellbeing
On Wednesday Conservative MP Richard Graham introduced a new Bill under the Ten Minute Rule motion which would make the act of spiking its own criminal offence. In addressing the House of Commons, he stated that he believed it was “not a coincidence” that a four-fold increase in reported cases of spiking in his constituency had coincided with the full re-opening of universities in October 2021. The Bill received the support of the House and the second reading will take place on 18 March 2021.
QAA has also launched a suite of open educational resources that identify good practice in weaving mental health support throughout the HE curriculum. The resources were created through collaborative research by teams from seven higher education providers and a students’ union. Wonkhe has an article from the project leader, Dr Zoe Allman.