HE Policy Update


Conservative Article

An article on Conservative Home raised speculation around the upcoming Green Paper.  Amongst several assertions, the article claims that HEFCE, QAA and OFFA are likely to be replaced with one teaching, quality and access focussed super-regulator. The accountability and transparency revolution. Coming soon to a University near you – courtesy of Jo Johnson (Conservative Home).



The Guardian identifies flaws in the measures of student satisfaction that will inform the Teaching Excellence Framework. The article states the TEF is unlikely to encourage discussions around the structure of programmes and modules which is crucial for students. The Teaching Excellence Framework: can higher education up its game? (The Guardian).

HEFCE Figures

A ‘transposition error’ meant that HEFCE wrongly stated that state school leavers were more likely than private peers to get a good degree at university. In fact it is private school students who are more likely to do better at university according to the figures. State schools versus private schools: Hefce sets the record straight (THE).


Student Protests

On Wednesday, a student protest ‘grants not debt’ marched through London. The protest was calling for the abolition of tuition fees and the retention of maintenance grants. Students protest against tuition fees (BBC News).


Gender Gap

According to a new analysis of 2013-14 data by the Equality Challenge Unit, some 37,425 male academics are paid at least £50,000, compared with just 17,415 female academics. Similar disparities exist for professional and support staff, with 3.9 per cent of women paid more than £50,000 compared with 7.9 per cent of men. ‘Striking’ inequalities in higher education fuel gender pay gap. (THE).  


Higher Education Green Paper

The government’s higher education Green Paper was published today, it outlines major proposals which if enacted, will see great changes to the higher education sector. The main points from the paper are below.

  • The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) will start next year and will consist of different levels (1-4). For the first year, providers will automatically gain a level 1 TEF award if it meets the current quality assurance threshold. Providers will be able to apply for higher levels of the TEF in consequent years, however there will be pre conditions. The government will set a maximum fee cap for institutions successful in the TEF and providers will be entitled to raise their fees in line with inflation.
  • HEFCE and OFFA will merge to create a new Office for Students (OfS). This body will have responsibility for access agreements, teaching funding, the TEF and quality assurance.
  • Similar to that of private providers, institutions will not have to respond to Freedom of Information Requests.
  • The next REF will be held by 2021, however the government proposes to challenge the associated cost and bureaucracy that attracts negative views concerning the REF.