HE Policy Update


Gender Pay Gap

Female science professors are paid thousands of pounds less than their male counterparts, despite carrying out similar duties according to a report on the latest university salaries of senior scientists. The new figures emerged from freedom of information requests sent by the Sunday Times to more than 90 British universities, focusing on senior academics. Female scientists paid £5,000 less a year than their male counterparts, report finds (The Independent).

Quality Standards

HEFCE have launched a consultation on a new approach to quality assessment to meet the future needs of students, employers and the sector. The proposals are intended to move away from a process-driven, tick-box approach to checking standards in universities. Instead, there would be less emphasis on regular external institutional reviews and more focus on outcomes affecting students, such as drop-out rates, feedback from the National Student Survey and graduates’ employment prospects. University standards checks overhaul (BBC News).


Campus Extremism

David Cameron has responded quickly following the terrorist act in Tunisia warning that Britain was engaged in a generational struggle against terrorism and outlined plans to crack down on those who tolerate such extremism. This includes pressing ahead with legislation to blacklist extremists from appearing on the airwaves and speaking at universities. Schools will be told today to look out for pupils being groomed by extremists. Check schools for future terrorists, heads are told (The Times).

HE Innovation

Mike Boxell, Higher Education Expert at PA Consulting, has written a piece for the Guardian HE blog about the findings of their HE Survey 2015 which reveals how UK universities compare against their global competitors. The survey revealed that in almost every area of educational innovation, they saw the UK lagging international competitors and said the most important developments were happening overseas. The UK’s outmoded universities must modernise or risk falling far behind (Guardian Higher Education Network).


Jo Johnson’s Speech on HE

The Universities Minister gave his first major speech since the election on higher education at UUK. He reiterated the government’s recognition of the value of higher education to the success of the country but reminded the sector that it is vital they demonstrate value for money for students and the taxpayer.  He also restated the government’s commitment to widening participation and asked universities to consider introducing grade point average alongside traditional degree classifications. His speech focused on his commitment to introducing the Teaching Excellence Framework which will aim to ensure all students receive an excellent teaching experience and to build a culture where teaching has equal status with research. News blog: Jo Johnson asks TEF questions and gives ‘polished non-answers’ (THE).

Nurses/Allied Health Professional Degrees

The funding system for nursing, midwifery and allied health professional degrees is no longer working and needs to change, a joint statement by the Council of Deans of Health and Universities UK has said. It was also claimed that the existing system of National Health Service grants has left universities short-changed, as funding for nursing and physiotherapy courses is now the lowest of any subject in higher education. Universities call for nurse education funding reform (THE).



The latest national data from the new Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey has been released. These statistics reveal that 93.3% of 2014’s Bournemouth University graduates are in work or further study six months after graduating. UKPIs: Employment of leavers (HESA). BU celebrates rise in graduate employability stats (Bournemouth University).

Coverage of Jo Johnson’s Speech

Degree classification/GPA- traditional degree marks will become obsolete and a new 13-point system will be introduced because too many students are receiving firsts and 2:1s, says Jo Johnson. Traditional university degree honours obsolete as new 13-point system unveiled (The Daily Telegraph).

Universities will have to show they are providing high quality teaching and giving value for money under plans outlined by Jo Johnson. Universities must prove they are excellent at teaching, minister says (The Guardian).


Immigration Debate

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, has claimed that the Conservatives’ goal to cut net migration is driven by a negative account of immigration that risks damaging UK higher education. UK universities at risk from ‘ill-informed’ immigration debate, warns Cambridge v-c (THE).