Policy impact – some steps you can take and why it’s a good idea (despite appearances)
We wrote a blog on this topic – you can read it here.
We wrote a blog on this topic – you can read it here.
Dominic Raab has been appointed as the new Brexit Secretary. Previously he was the Minister of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire) now holds the Housing role). Dominic’s political interests are civil liberties, human rights, industrial relations, and the economy. Alongside Dominic Chris Heaton-Harris MP (Daventry) has been appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union.
Boris Johnson resigned as Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Monday (Politics Home covered his resignation). Local MP Conor Burns (Bournemouth West) has resigned his position as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Boris Johnson at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Boris is replaced by Jeremy Hunt.
As the reshuffle ripples outwards Matt Hancock (previously digital) has been appointed as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with Jeremy Wright QC appointed as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Geoffrey Cox QC MP (Torridge and West Devon) has been appointed as Attorney General.
Dame Martina Milburn has been confirmed as the Chair of the Social Mobility Commission. She is expected to set out her priorities and strategy for improving the impact of the Commission and championing social justice shortly. Her remit states she should avoid duplicating the work of other organisations and think tanks. The Dame is known to support vocational education and apprenticeships.
Brexit – There has been no escaping Brexit this week with the high profile resignations and the Brexit white paper. UUK International’s response to the white paper to focus on research:
MillionPlus weren’t quite so magnanimous:
The Creative Industries Federation stated:
There was also an immigration parliamentary question focussed on the Creative Industries this week:
Q – Dr Lisa Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will take steps as part of the negotiations for the UK leaving the EU to seek the creation of a visa system between the UK and EU countries to meet the needs of the creative sector.
A – Caroline Nokes:
This week’s Brexit/Research parliamentary question is:
Q – Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether UK (a) companies and (b) institutions will be able to participate in EU research and development projects after 2020.
A – Sam Gyimah:
Such an association would involve an appropriate UK financial contribution linked to a suitable level of influence in line with the contribution and benefits the UK brings. The UK looks forward to discussing the detail of any future UK participation with the European Commission.
The Government also published their response to the Science and Technology Committee’s second report into Brexit, Science and Innovation this week.
UCAS published their analysis of the national picture of full-time undergraduate applications made by end June 2018 (2018 cycle entrants). Key points:
It’s likely that nursing applications have fallen so far because of the double whammy of reducing numbers of mature students accessing HE and the removal of the NHS bursary. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has noted that applications to nursing courses have dropped by one third in the two year since the bursary has been removed. They go on to note
The news on the poor recruitment is a blow for NHS England’s nurse recruitment campaign (launched last week). The RCN have stated:
The Science and Technology Committee continue their inquiry into research integrity and published their latest report this week (follow this link to access a more readable pdf version of the report). The inquiry aims to investigate trends and developments in fraud, misconduct and mistakes in research and the publication of research results. The recent report looks at problems arising from errors, questionable practices, fraud in research, and what can be done to ensure that problems are handled appropriately. Findings include:
The Committee issued this press release: Quarter of universities not reporting on potential malpractice
Norman Lamb, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, said:
A parliamentary question on plagiarism this week:
Q – Tonia Antoniazzi: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to tackle (a) contract cheating services and (b) essay mills in Universities.
And: whether his Department is undertaking a review to establish the extent to which the practices of companies offering (a) essay writing and (b) other cheat services to students in the UK are illegal.
And: if he will bring forward legislative proposals to make it illegal for third party companies to provide exam answers to students.
A – Sam Gyimah: [Same answer to all of Tonia’s questions]
The Fair Education Alliance (FEA) released Putting fairness in context: using data to widen access to higher education which summarises the full research that they commissioned from the University of Exeter’s Centre for Social Mobility. The FEA state the report
The FEA go on to state:
The report goes on to explore how to improve the use of contextualised admissions, the role of data within admissions and current practices.
For a quick read the FEA’s press release covers the main points and background to the report.
Chris Millward (Office for Students Director of Fair Access and Participation) spoke at the launch of the report to urge universities to be more ambitious and extend their contextual admissions practice. He stated:
Research Professional wrote:
Further media coverage courtesy of Wonkhe:
It’s fines for Facebook and the publication of the Information Commissioner’s report into the Cambridge Analytica scandal (Investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns). One of the report recommendations is
Universities UK have confirmed they will undertake this review of how researchers use personal data, collaborating with the Information Commissioner. Research Professional state:
Research Professional continue:
Last week a study by Grant Thornton – UK regions struggling to retain young talent – considered the brain drain student retention crisis across the UK. It found that certain regions struggle to retain their best and brightest young graduates and illustrated a regional divide on whether university students stay or leave the area after graduating. Unsurprisingly London doesn’t struggle to retain its graduates – 69% want to stay and work in London after graduating – more than twice the number of any other region. Next best performing was Scotland (32%) and the North West (28%).
The study also found disparity between the regions when it comes to whether young people choose to go to university close to home or further afield. Again London performed well – 57% chose to stay in London to go to university. The South West had the lowest result of the whole country. Less than one in four young people elected to go to university in the region. While the number of young people from the South West choosing to move to London was more than double most of the other UK regions.
The research also explored what matters most to students when it comes to choosing where they want to live and work post-graduation. It wasn’t career opportunities or higher pay but having a good work-life balance that was considered the biggest motivator (48% of respondents) – mirroring the trend that’s already being seen across the Millennial and Generation Z workforce. This was followed closely by being somewhere with family and friends nearby (47%).
Time spent travelling (43%), housing affordability (43%), career development (42%) and job availability (42%) also ranked highly, while housing availability (7%), being able to start or grow a business (8%) and, surprisingly, living in a diverse place (13%) or one with a sense of community (14%) were rated as the least important factors.
Students were asked what businesses could do to encourage them to stay in or move to London after graduation, rather than to somewhere in the UK, or abroad. They responded:
Grant Thornton stated:
Scholarships & WP
Q – Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with representatives of universities on ensuring that (a) scholarships are made available and (b) those scholarships are all taken up; and if he will make a statement.
A – Sam Gyimah:
Gender Pay Gap
Q – Dan Carden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the gender pay gap in the higher education sector.
A – Sam Gyimah:
Please note Parliament updated this response from Sam Gyimah to correct inaccuracies.
Q – Ben Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of technical education provision for secondary school pupils.
A – Anne Milton:
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Essays Mill in UK HE
The use of essay mills in UK higher education has been a topic of concern for several years. It has been considered a sensitive subject within academia by students and staff alike, with institutions requiring that academics take preventative measures.
Since the increased marketisation of UK higher education in 2012, where tuition fees increased as a result of the Browne Review (2010), and the subsequent reduced cap in the number of students who can now attend university, institutions have seen an increase in students applying for a place to study.
Universities are seemingly weighted by a digital mindset coined as Generation Z (aka as iGen or Linksters), the newest age group to emerge since the Millennials, who in turn, were the largest group since the baby boom generation. The later two generations – Gen Z and Millenials – have had the advantage of technology providing instant responses and offering information 24/7, allegedly creating a generational digital need within the curriculum and delivery, processes and procedures in order to exploit engagement and feedback in ways that a knowledge institution, or its inhabitants, may not yet be fully – or seemingly desirably – aligned.
With students entering HE from a mixed economy of practical, academic, cultural and educational skill sets, alongside external issues and commitments, and hopes for secure employment, students may, at times, struggle to engage with courses, assessment, multiple deadlines, grades, and feedback.
In frustration, students may be tempted to turn to the phenomenon of essay mills, a paid-for external service that writes essays for students, and crosses intellectual boundaries that underpin plagiarism, a much-frowned-upon activity by those in academia and beyond.
It is not just the students who do not wish to admit to being tempted by an essay mill offer, it can be a complex conversation for the institution and society, too.
Project Purpose: The purpose of this project is to gather perceptions and experiences relating to the essay mill phenomena. It focuses on the academic, student, and professional staff voices, and seeks to understand experiences of students commissioning essay writers/essay mills, an external paid for service whereby essays are written to order.
This overall project was not designed to be pejorative or demonise any of the participants, but to find out what’s really going on. The data will be important for understanding the needs of the C21st student, as seen through multiple lenses.
If you would like to be interviewed informally over coffee or off campus, please contact Steph Allen: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Survey links can be found below. Please share the relevant link to academics or student cohorts.
Doctoral Candidates: https://bournemouth.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/the-commissioning-of-essay-mills-in-uk-higher-education-p-3
Deciding to take part or not, will not impact on your (or others) employment or studies at BU, or elsewhere in the future. Ethics number: 21274