HEW Weekly Wrap Up 31 January 2014


This Weekly Wrap Up is published weekly on HEW’s website at Please direct any queries to

News – 6% rise in applicants to university in Wales

The January applicant deadline statistics for the UCAS 2014 cycle were published on 31 January 2014. The following are the key points:

  • Across the UK there was a 4% increase in applicants, despite the downward population trends, with the highest application rates on record for each country (except Scotland). The gap between applicants from advantaged and disadvantaged areas narrowed to its lowest on record, but the gap between female and male applicants continued to increase.
  • Applicants to Wales increased from 64,950 to 68,740 overall (+6%), with increases from every country except Northern Ireland. Institutions in Wales had the highest percentage increase in the UK (England +4%, NI +3%, Sco +2%). In particular, there was a very large increase in Non-EU applicants (+22%).
  • Applicants from Welsh-domiciled students increased by +3% and it was the highest application rate for Welsh students on record, but Wales remained the region with the lowest application rate for 18yr olds in the UK (30.1%).

The full reports are available on the UCAS website. HEW’s press statement is available on the HEW website.

Consultation – Economic and wider benefits of TNE

The UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has commissioned CRAC and a team of consultants to undertake research into the economic and wider benefits of transnational education (TNE) operations to universities and the UK. The team is now conducting a census of UK higher education institutions about their TNE delivery for the 2012/13 academic year, at programme level. Having this evidence will help HEIs to take a strategic approach to their TNE scoping, planning and delivery. The project team has contacted colleagues at universities right across the UK. For further information, please contact

Publication – Progress in Quality Assurance in HE

Published by the European Commission, this report sets out how quality assurance is helping to establish a quality culture in Europe’s universities and colleges, setting quality goals, involving students in decisions and fostering international cooperation among Member States and their quality assurance agencies. But quality assurance needs further reform to shift from a box-ticking approach to really supporting institutions in improving performance, helping them deal with challenges such as expanding the student population, aligning teaching and learning more closely to societal and labour market needs and harnessing new ICT based technologies, in an atmosphere of transparency and openness. The report is available on the European Commission website.

Publication – HEFCW circulars – student representation and student charters

On 30 January 2014, HEFCW released three new circulars: W14/04HE The impact of the guidance on student charters, and on good practice in funding of students’ unions, and student representation; W14/05HE Revised guidance on the development of student charters; and W14/06HE Revised guidance on good practice in funding students’ unions, and student representation.

Survey – Public engagement

The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) is running a survey to canvass public opinion about their work, capture some of the impacts to date, and to inform future development. The survey findings will be shared with those who choose to participate. The survey is available online.

Competition – Public Engagement with Research Competition

The NCCPE is running a national competition to find and celebrate high quality public engagement with research projects. They want to recognise and reward examples of public engagement in practice. The NCCPE is seeking applications covering projects from all disciplines, of any size, length and cost. A judging panel will shortlist the finalists who will be invited to showcase their projects at an event at the Natural History Museum in London during Universities Week where the overall winner will be announced. The overall winner will be offered £2,500 to develop or share their engagement work with others. Further details are available on the NCCPE website. Please direct queries to