HEW Weekly Wrap Up 11 July 2014

News – Welsh Government Cabinet Reshuffle

In light of Alun Davies’ sacking as Minister for Natural Resources and Food, the following changes have been made to the Welsh Cabinet: Edwina Hart adds Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to her existing portfolio; John Griffiths adds Environment to his Culture and Sport portfolio; and Rebecca Evans is promoted to become Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.

News – Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Bill

The Bill was laid by the Welsh Government on 7 July 2014. The Ministerial Statement, as well as the Bill and accompanying documents are available online. The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), as a specified public body, would be required to pursue the wellbeing goals set out in the Bill and the related requirements. The Public Services Board would be required to consult with and involve universities with their activities as appropriate.

Publication – Analysis of the financial position of the HE sector 2012/13

HEFCW has published its financial analysis in circular W14/27HE. The publication examines the financial position of the sector in the first year of increased fees (up to £9,000) in Wales, and the introduction of fee grant payments. The headlines are:

  • Total income of the university sector in Wales – £1,273million in 2012/13, compared to £1,274million in 2011/12.
  • Sector reported an operating surplus of £16.1million in 2012/13, compared to £30million in 2011/12.
  • Total long term debt (external borrowing) rose to £151.8million, an increase of 6.7%.
    • When adjusted to take account of the full economic cost adjustments for the cost of capital and infrastructure, the sector’s position was an aggregate deficit of £85million in 2012/13, compared with a deficit of £64million in 2011/12.
    • Funding Council grants fell by -£124million, from £395million in 2011/12, to £271million in 2012/13. Tuition fees and education contracts increased by £127million, from £432million to £560million.

Publication – UCAS applicant statistics

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has published its analysis of applicants for the June 2014 deadline. Applicants to institutions in Wales increased by +5.6% (+4,040) from 72,390 in 2013 to 76,430 in 2014.  This compared to an overall increase of +3.6% across the UK as a whole.

Publication – Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education data

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has published its UK Performance Indicators relating to the employment of graduates. The employment indicator (UK domiciled leavers obtaining first degrees from full time courses 2012/13) in Wales was 92.4%.

Publication – Student Finance Wales – part time information

The Student Finance Wales application service will launch in late July 2014 for part-time (PT) and PT distance learning students. This includes:

  • PT student information pack – quick guides on helping prospective students understand how to apply, and explaining repayment. Universities can place bulk orders of paper copies online.
  • PT application packs – the pack contains an application form and guidance notes, and will be available to order in later July, when the application service opens.
  • Continuing PT application packs – continuing students should receive an application pack from their Local Authority in August. If they don’t, students should contact their Local Authority to request a pack, or visit the website.

Further details on PT are available on the Student Finance Wales website.

Publication – Advances Wales – Wales research article

Advances Wales – The Journal for Science Engineering and Technology (issue 72, summer 2014) has published an article based on the findings of the independent study conducted by Elsevier. The article describes Wales’ use of research inputs as highly productive and efficient, outranking most comparator countries of a similar size.

Appointments – LFHE – Interim Chief Executive

The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) has announced that Alison Johns has been appointed as interim Chief Executive. Alison will take up post from 12 July 2014. She is currently head of leadership, governance and management at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). Alison has worked in leadership, governance and management in HE for over 20 years, and at HEFCE since 2003. Before that she was a career civil servant and a management consultant. She is the President of Association of University Administrators.