Living with fewer restrictions

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Free lateral flow testing is set to end this week on campus in England. In a communication earlier this week, it was announced that universities will no longer be authorised to distribute free lateral flow test packs. A formal public communication is set to follow next week.

Advance HE’s Governors' Views Roundup discusses 'Getting the balancing act right on Covid campus guidelines'. With many restrictions now lifted across the UK, and an encouragement from ministers to resume face-to-face teaching, read the views from a number of governors in the sector, considering the potential impact on the student experience, staff morale, finances and reputation.

Regulatory and governance

The Office for Students (OfS) has published dashboards which explore the geographical distribution of higher education teaching provision in England for 2019-20.  The dashboards show provider locations at various geographic areas, and a breakdown of subject provision. You can filter by characteristic groups studying higher education in each region. OfS has also published data on the number of full-time equivalent higher education students at providers which are registered with the OfS for the academic year 2020-21.

A major reorganisation within the Department for Education (DfE), in response to David Bell’s review of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, will see a single post-16 policy team under a single Director, encompassing higher education, further education, adult learning, and employer-led learning, established within DfE.

The merger between Jisc and HESA moves a step closer as the two organisations actively explore becoming one, to create “resilient joint capacity” for data and digital in the UK. This move would remove HESA’s designated data body status in England and a new body would be appointed via an OfS consultation and confirmed by the Secretary of State for Education.

Advance HE is developing a Global Leadership Survey and Framework for leadership in higher education, research institutes and related organisations. This will inform the development of a sector-led global leadership framework for enhancement and recognition.

Levelling up

In this WONKHE blog article, Hamish McAlpine looks at how universities can play an important part in levelling up, but not by themselves. He explores the central role of knowledge exchange.

Levelling up minister, Neil O’Brien, answered a question on the inclusion of student accommodation in housing development targets.


On Tuesday, THE published their Young University Rankings 2022, revealing the top institutions that are aged 50 years or under.  The results reveal that India and Turkey now lead the list in terms of representation, while a French university takes the number one spot for the first time.

In a speech at a UCAS event this week, Universities minister, Michelle Donelan, requested transparency in advertising, suggesting that all adverts for higher education in next year’s admissions cycle (whether online, on a billboard or in a prospectus) should include drop-out and progression rate data.  An advisory group, with representatives from Universities UK, GuildHE, UCAS and the Office for Students (OfS), will publish guidance in the spring.

In this OfS article, former Undergraduate Education Officer at University of East Anglia’s Students' Union, Callum Perry explains why he thinks students should have their say on the future of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).


UCU’s industrial action over pensions saw staff take to the picket lines this week, with support from students.  Staff from a total of 68 providers will take action on pensions, pay, and working conditions for the first two days of next week.

EDI and Widening Participation

According to this year’s staff data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency only 3 per cent (130) of university governors identify as Black, with 5.7 percent (225) identifying as Asian and 2.1 percent (85) identifying as mixed race. However, record number of disadvantaged students have applied to start university or college this autumn according to  new figures from UCAS.

Living Black at University is a major new report into Black students’ experience in UK student accommodation, commissioned by Unite Students and carried out by Halpin Partnership.  The research explores the experiences of Black students across university accommodation and private halls of residence, amplifying their voices and stories to the wider Higher Education sector.

Student experience and wellbeing

The Student Futures Commission has published its final report which calls for joint action between universities and students to tackle problems caused by the pandemic. This report provides a blueprint for how universities and students can work together to develop Student Futures Manifestos, which set out concrete actions to improve students’ experience of university.

New analysis from Save the Student has calculated that full-time students will collectively miss out on £40 million through ineligibility for the upcoming council tax rebate and repay £60 million more than they will save from the £200 energy bills credit.

International news

THE examines how the letter of support towards Harvard professor John Comaroff, when accused of sexually harassing female students, has sparked a debate in US higher education about how academics will still reflexively side with a star professor rather than those alleging abuse.

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