Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 2 October 2015

Review of Conservatoire Provision

On 30 September 2015 the Minister for Education & Skills announced that he had asked his officials to draw up proposals for independent review of conservatoire and related performing arts provision in Wales (see here).

Direct Funding for Educational Psychology Professional Training Programme

On 25 September 2015, the Welsh Government reported its cabinet decision (taken on 2 June 2015) to provide direct funding for delivery of a Doctorate in Educational Psychology (DEdPsy) at Cardiff University, a professional training programme approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) (see here and here for a written statement).  The programme is a mandatory requirement for becoming an educational psychologist. In February 2014, Welsh Government stated announced that an additional allocation had been made to HEFCW’s budget as a temporary measure to secure ongoing provision (see here and here). Following the Welsh Government’s written statement published on 23 September 2015 (see here), the programme will now be funded directly by the Welsh Government.

Questions in Plenary on HE funding

The questions in Plenary to the Minister of Education & Skills on 30 September 2015 included a number of questions concerning HE funding (see the record of proceedings from 14:54 here).  The Minister received questions concerning the Diamond review of student finance and HE funding, the quality assurance of Access to HE provision, and the sustainability of the current tuition fees policy. The  Minister confirmed that he expect to receive a factual summary of the evidence considered as part of the Diamond Review by the end of November 2015, and to publish it at the earliest opportunity following submission.  The Minister also stated that he was not convinced that Access to HE courses necessarily represented best value for the public purse: he had asked his officials to look at this sort of provision and had also asked Professor Sir Ian Diamond to give it particular attention in the review.

Consultation on Changes to the National Student Survey and Unistats website

On 1 October the four UK funding councils published a consultation on changes to the National Student Survey and to the Unistats website (see HEFCW W15/22HE), requesting responses by 4 December 2015 to HEFCE.

Publication – Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and Special Educational Needs (SEN) developments

On 25 September 2015 the Welsh Government announced its decision to publish a copy of the final report of the People and Work unit entitled ‘Workforce planning of SEN specialist services’ (see here).  The study was commissioned in in 2014 to establish the current and future capacity requirements of those specialist services in Wales that provide support for children and young people with SEN up to the age of 25 and to consider workforce planning priorities. The Welsh Government also published a Draft Additional Learning Needs Code on 30 September 2015 (see here), a working draft provided for illustrative purposes only, with the intention of supporting the consultation on the draft Bill.