Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 10 April 2015

Consultation Response – The designation of higher education courses at alternative providers for the purpose of student support

Universities Wales responded to the Welsh Government’s consultation on the Designation of Higher Education Courses at Alternative Providers for the Purpose of Student Support Consultation, published on 19 January 2015. The response considers, amongst other things, the need for changes to the arrangements for specific designation and explores the key drivers for change that need to be further emphasised to maintain public confidence in the quality of higher education provision in Wales. The consultation document draws attention to the Welsh Governments strategy intention that all HE providers and other providers should be subject to the same regulatory controls and highlights the desirability of a ‘level playing field’ for the two routes to course designation. Universities Wales believes that the information in the consultation requires some further clarification and comment and suggests that the proposals for specific course designation may relate to a potentially wider and larger set of providers than the consultation suggests. A full copy of the consultation response can be found on the Unis Wales website.


International Unit launches its Newton Fund Network

The UK HE International Unit has announced the launch of its Newton Fund Network.  The Network will operate in a similar way to the IU’s other Communities of Practice in that it is intended as a functional community within which members can learn more about Newton Fund opportunities and share experiences and best practice. It will also be a central point for collecting and collating feedback about the sector’s experience of the programme.  Meetings will take place approximately twice a year, with most correspondence taking place electronically.  For more information including how to become a member please click here.  Alternatively please email the IU’s Newton team at or contact Gwen (


News – Universities UK response to new IFS report on student funding

On Friday 27 March, Universities UK responded to the latest report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) on the student funding system in England.

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said:

“The IFS report will make an important contribution to discussions about the student funding system, its fitness for purpose, and its cost to government. The findings of the report will feed in to the work of the Student Funding Panel which was set up by Universities UK in 2014 and which is currently finalising its own report.

“The priority for the Student Funding Panel will be to ensure that any changes to the current student funding system represent value for money for students, provide stability in funding for universities, and are financially sustainable for government.

“Universities UK established the Student Funding Panel in 2014 with external experts to review the student funding system in England, and to make recommendations on future funding options. The Panel will report its recommendations after the general election.”

For more information see the Universities UK website.


OER15 Conference – ‘Mainstreaming Open Education’

This year’s Open Education Conference (OER15) will take place next week at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. OER15 is one of a series of annual International conferences which discuss research and practice in the adoption of Open Education in all sectors of Education and Training.

The event is running on Tues 14 – Wed 15 April. Although registration is now closed, you can participate online in a variety of ways, including remote viewing of streamed sessions. Click here for more information.