It's all about levelling up

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Levelling up

On Wednesday, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove unveiled the government’s flagship Levelling Up White Paper, including the national mission on research and development (R&D), which will undertake to increase public investment in R&D outside the greater south east region of England by at least 40 per cent by 2030.

The Office for Students in its Access and Participation Plan refresh will ask universities to consider how they can improve school attainment and levelling up.  Wonkhe considered how the Child of the North report points to how to make that a reality.


Details of staff employed at higher education providers in the UK for the academic year 2020-21 has been produced by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).  Wonkhe concludes that workforce expansion is inevitable in the new future.

The final report of the Research England funded TALENT Commission on the higher education technical workforce argues that there is a lack of national strategic insight into technical capability and future technical skills needs in UK higher education.


The OfS has arranged a number of online workshops to support students and student representatives to feed into the consultations on the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and the regulation of student outcomes.

The QAA has released a briefing on the proposal for a European approach to micro-credentials being developed by the European Commission, and what the approach will mean for UK higher education providers.


Following on from the pension news in last week’s digest, USS Employers has written to UCU Chief Executive Jo Grady concerning recent proposals for alternative changes to the pension scheme following the 2020 valuation.  Universities UK has commenced a short consultation with employers to finalise the response to the 2020 valuation, and in particular on a proposed modification following responses to the statutory consultation with members that closed in January.


A report from Unite Students on the experiences of black students in university accommodation finds that they have a less positive experience that white students, and that there is a lack of culturally appropriate services and representation among staff.

International students

Recently the HE sector celebrated hitting the government’s international education strategy target of 600,000 international students at UK universities annually eight years ahead of schedule. The UPP Foundation’s Student Futures Commission has published a report on the experience of international students, which highlights the importance of employment support.  Wonkhe also discusses the topic.

The THE takes an in-depth look at overseas recruitment.

Student experience and wellbeing

A report on the experimental statistics from the Student Experiences Insights Survey in England, includes information on the behaviours, plans, opinions and well-being of higher education students in their third year or higher in the context of guidance on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It was announced that the graduate repayment threshold for undergraduate student loans would stay at £27,295 for the coming year.  Wonkhe has a relevant article.

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