University Alliance responds to OfS consultation on recurrent funding

Vanessa Wilson CEO

University Alliance calls for protection of creative arts education and re-instatement of London weighting to enable fair access to HE for most disadvantaged students

Creative arts education courses must not face cuts, or the Government risks undermining its own ambitions, says University Alliance.

Responding to the OfS’s consultation on recurrent funding , the mission group for professional and technical universities ardently opposed proposals which could see funding cut for high cost subjects within the creative arts education portfolio.

The 12 Alliance universities train over 15% of all creative arts and design students, and these courses provide a vital pipeline of talent for creative and related industries, and a vital pathway for students from low participation backgrounds to access careers within the creative arts and indeed beyond.

University Alliance have responded on behalf of their member universities. Their submission focuses on the proposal to reduce high-cost funding for C1 subjects, and the withdrawal of the London Weighting from the student premium allocations. The submission argues that the two proposals will have unintended consequences, namely that they will adversely affect a growing, world -eading part of the UK economy and make it more difficult for the government to deliver on its levelling up agenda. They will also have a disproportionate impact on students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Commenting on the proposals, University Alliance CEO Vanessa Wilson said

“We have been clear in our submission that cuts to funding for these courses would be a strategic mis-step. The Government themselves have identified persistent skills shortages within the creative and related sectors, so to attack  and ultimately cut-off the pipeline of talent is counter-productive, and contradictory to the Government’s ambitions as set out in the Skills White Paper.

We are also deeply concerned that proposals could see funding diverted through the small and specialist institutions, resulting in provision being heavily concentrated at specialist institutions  predominantly in London and in the South East, and at institutions which typically attract students from more advantaged socio-economic backgrounds. The proposals in the consultation threaten to make studying creative arts the preserve of a small group of elite students who can study away from home. This is completely contrary to the Government’s levelling up agenda.

The creative industries contribute £115.9bn Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy a year, and as we look to build back from the current Covid crisis, a thriving creative sector will be a vital driver of economic, social and cultural recovery; yet there is a concerning disconnect between this recognition of the economic importance of creative businesses, and the support for creative education.

The proposals are also directly contradictory to the strategic ambitions laid out in the Government’s Plan for Growth, which not only recognises the economic value of the creative industries but the wider value of creative education and skills in driving innovation and enterprise.

We strongly urge the reconsideration of these proposals, and the protection of creative education pathways across a diverse higher education system. This will not only benefit the creative industries but help drive wider economic growth and industrial innovation.”

The full UA consultation submission can be found here.


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