UA comment on OFS funding reforms

Responding to the Office For Students (OFS) announcement on funding reforms for 2021-22, University Alliance CEO Vanessa Wilson said

“It is disappointing to see OFS progressing with the decision to cut funding for high-cost creative subjects, despite collective concern and opposition from across the sector.

We were 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. 

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.

These cuts are also contradictory to the Government’s own ambitions laid out in the 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 are also deeply concerned that funding will be diverted through the small and specialist institutions, resulting in provision being heavily concentrated in London and in the Southeast, and at institutions which typically attract students from more advantaged socio-economic backgrounds. This will make studying creative arts the preserve of a small group of elite students who can study away from home, and is completely contrary to the Government’s levelling up agenda.

We strongly urge the reconsideration of these cuts, 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.”

You can view UA’s consultation response here

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