Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2012): Education - UK - higher

Bright students miss the top universities as places are cut

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Mar. 29th 2012, p. 12

It emerged that almost 100 out of the 130 universities in England could be forced to reduce undergraduate places in 2012 following government reforms designed to drive down tuition fees. The reductions in places followed measures that effectively penalised universities charging tuition fees of more than 7,500. To keep the student loans bill down, 20,000 places were redistributed to those institutions charging fees of less than 7,500 per year, many of which were cheap further education colleges. At the same time 10,000 places, offered in previous years to cope with a sudden surge in applications, were not made available in 2012.

Dozens of universities likely to see student numbers plunge

J. Vasagar

The Guardian, Mar. 29th 2012, p. 8

A "squeezed middle" of English universities was expected to suffer sharp falls in student numbers in autumn 2012. Figures identified a band of 34 universities which would be hit by the coalition's reforms because they neither attracted the best-performing students (those getting A-level grades of AAB or higher) nor offered the lowest fees of 7,500 or less. The universities - including Bedfordshire, the University of Central Lancashire, Leeds Met and Sheffield Hallam - were expected to suffer drops of more than 10% in undergraduate student numbers for autumn 2012. The steepest drop, of 12.6%, was expected to be at the University of East London.

Policy implementation and academic workload planning in the managerial university: understanding unintended consequences

S. Hornibrook

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol. 34, 2012, p. 29-38

Within an increasingly dynamic and volatile external environment, university managers are charged with implementing strategies including models that attempt to distribute complex academic workloads fairly and transparently in order to meet institutional goals. However, the impact of such models on individual academic behaviour is often unexpected. This paper explores a theoretical approach based on perceptions of fairness, to explain the unintended consequences arising from the use of a workload allocation model. Using results from a case study of a multi-disciplinary department in a UK university to illustrate theoretical constructs, the research identifies the reasons behind academic resistance in response to such models.

Reconsidering the social and economic purposes of higher education

J. McArthur

Higher Education Research & Development, vol. 30, 2011, p. 737-749

In this article, the author seeks to reconsider the social and economic purposes of higher education. It begins with the premise that there appears to be a general trend towards governments positioning higher education primarily in terms of the economic role that it can fulfill. Such a trend, however, has attracted considerable criticism. In this article it is argued that the problem for higher education is not it having an economic role, but the narrowness of the way in which that role is often conceptualised. Drawing on critical theory the study explores the interrelation of economic and social factors within higher education and the wider society in which it is situated. This article argues for a redefinition of the purposes of higher education to ensure that both universities and workplaces are sites of human creativity and that the profound and exciting work within institutions of higher education benefits all members of society.

A review of business-university collaboration

T. Wilson

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 2012

This review of the relationship between business and higher education admitted that many businesses had concerns with graduate skills levels. A lack of experience was a 'key barrier' to finding employment. The report recommended: 1) allowing every full-time undergraduate the chance of an internship during their course; 2) lifting controls on student places to increase the number of four year sandwich courses; 3) introducing modules on employability skills as part of standard degree courses; and 4) allowing consortiums of further education colleges to award two-year foundation degrees in response to local employment needs. The review also criticised recruitment programmes run by firms that filter out candidates who fail to gain at least a 2:1 degree as they could run counter to employers' diversity policies and militate against a widening access agenda.

Student part-time employment: characteristics and consequences

D. Robotham

Education + Training, vol. 54, 2012, p. 65-75

The numbers of students working part-time while studying are rising. This paper set out to investigate the nature of students' part-time employment during term and to report on its consequences. Data were gathered through an online survey at a UK university. Results showed that a majority of undergraduates work part-time during term and that some spent more time at work than studying. Unlike much previous research, the respondents reported more positive than negative outcomes.

Ucas about-turn on proposed university application reform

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Mar. 28th 2012, p. 8

Plans for pupils to apply to university once they have received their A-level results rather than with their predicted grades have been scrapped. Ucas, the organisation that co-ordinates degree applications, warned in October 2011 that the current system - whereby universities offer students provisional places based on their expected grades - gives an unfair advantage to pupils at private schools. Some of these pupils are encouraged to apply well before the official deadline and, for some courses, this gives them a greater chance of a conditional place. Ucas's chief executive, Mary Curnock Cook, argued that teenagers should submit applications for degree courses only when they have their final grades. This would have led to the most radical changes to university admissions for 50 years.

Warwick and Queen Mary to pool lecturers in face of funding cuts

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Mar. 20th 2012, p. 9

Students at Warwick University and at Queen Mary, University of London planned to share lecturers in what would be one of the closest alliances between two higher education institutions in England. Academics at the two universities would teach each other's English, history and computer science undergraduates from autumn 2012. The universities would not be merging timetables in these subjects, but said this could be possible in coming years. In future, more subjects were likely to be jointly taught. The two institutions, which are 80 miles apart, would also share teams that work on increasing the diversity of their student populations, and would work together on their outreach activities in schools.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web