University Alliance responds to the Department for Education’s release on Higher Education reform

UA logo

Today (Monday 17 July) the Department of Education have released their response to a consultation on Higher Education reform, alongside comments from the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Education.

Responding to the release, Vanessa Wilson, CEO of University Alliance, said:

“The UK’s university system is one of the best and most successful in the world. We have the lowest dropout rates in the whole of the OECD, and graduates report consistently high levels of satisfaction with their employment outcomes. 95% of graduates from UK universities are in work or further study just fifteen months after graduating, and 93% of those say their activity is meaningful.

In the context of a growing high-level skills shortage, with a potential shortage of 2.6 million high-skilled workers by 2030, we need policy solutions which will help educate more people to degree-level and sustainably fund higher education for the long term. Instead, government have chosen yet again to berate one of the few UK sectors which is genuinely world leading. If this continues, there is a real risk of exacerbating shortages of teachers, doctors, engineers and countless other professions at the same time as drastically reducing the UK’s ability to produce world-class research and innovation. The results will be disastrous for the UK economy.”

On foundation years:

“Today’s announcement is disappointingly regressive, decreasing the foundation year fee levels makes them financially unviable to deliver. Disadvantaged students and the ‘Covid Generation’ will lose out if this provision is reduced or lost. Foundation years are a popular and vital means of ensuring students can reach their full potential and aspirations by helping them gain the entry level needed for a degree.”


On reducing apprenticeship bureaucracy:

“For years, universities and employers have been urging government to reduce the bureaucracy involved in running apprenticeships. We are pleased that the government has announced that they will cut the steps involved in registering to take on an apprentice by a third. This is a real and very welcome change that we hope will help universities and employers grow the number and diversity of apprenticeships we can offer. Government will need to consult carefully with universities and employers alike to ensure that these changes have the maximum impact.”

Further reading