OfS has published some useful new data, which enable you to explore differences in rates of student continuation, completion, attainment and progression according to various characteristics. You can find everything you need here.
However, the reliance of OfS on data is also one of the aspects from which OfS has come under criticism this week. GuildHE argues that an overreliance on data, an asymmetric relationship and an inequitable fee structure disadvantages smaller providers in particular and calls for an independent review of the regulator. There’s something about this on the WonkHE podcast too.
A different regulator, the Charity Commission, has issued an official warning to Christ Church College, Oxford on the basis that its governing body did not manage the charity’s resources responsibly in relation to the departure of its former Dean.
At a national level, we have a new Minister for Higher Education: Robert Halfon brings to the job his many years as Chair of the Education Select Committee, his previous experience as Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, and is an outspoken supporter of degree apprenticeships.
And finally, anyone wanting to understand more about quality assurance in Higher Education can find a potted history of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and some thoughts on what the status of “Designated Quality Body” may signify on WonkHE.
The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has published a new report on opportunities to improve university governance. The headlines are that the roles of governing bodies still require clarification; that the academic assurance function is the one in which most governing bodies have least confidence; and that composition and skills matter, and that some staff members feel a conflict of interest between the ideas of representation and collective responsibility.
UCU has announced that staff at 150 universities will take industrial action on 24, 25 and 30 November, with action short of a strike beginning on 23 November. October ballot results gave UCU a mandate for national action over pay, working conditions and pensions.
WonkHE looks at the range of measures being taken by universities to reduce the cost of being a student in the UK. Meanwhile, the interest rates for student loans will be held at a reduced level in England and Wales for the next three months.
OfS has published SUMS Consulting’s independent evaluation of the initial impact of the OfS statement of expectations on harassment and sexual misconduct, finding that performance is mixed. The University’s very own Rose Stephenson has an article on WonkHE in response to this, in which she calls for universal standards in prevention and case handling.
Shakespeare Martineau’s Green Campus report shows up something of a mismatch between the level of importance students place on their universities having clear climate change strategies, and the level of importance universities think they place on this (which is much lower). Meanwhile, Universities UK has published an overview of the progress made by universities in tackling the climate crisis since COP26: 75% are now committed to scope 1 and 2 net zero targets, with 6% planning to tackle scope 3.