Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 27th October 2017

“Connecting the campus, the community and the world.” Taking the agenda forward at the Civic Mission Summit

civic missionOn 25th October, the Welsh Government, in partnership with Cardiff University, hosted the Civic Mission Summit. Attended by over 150 higher education leaders, academics, and community representatives, the event was an opportunity for the sector to come together to discuss the Civic Mission Agenda, reflect on and celebrate some of the ongoing work in this area, share best practice, and to discuss the challenges and opportunities in meeting it.

The event included presentations from prominent academics and thinkers in the field, and Keynote speeches from the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams, and University Wales Chair Professor Julie Lydon. A full blog on the summit can be found here.


Comms Cymru Conference

This week, our Political and Public Affairs Policy Adviser Beth attended Comms Cymru’s Autumn conference. The sold out event bought together those working in the sector to discuss the role of Public Service Communications in a #PostTrust Wales. Delegates heard from Prof Vian Bakir, Bangor University’s professor of political communication and journalism, on the role of Comms in meeting the changing nature of truth and news, and had the chance to learn lessons from trusted campaigns, including a workshop by Cardiff Met University on ‘Authentic content to power student recruitment marketing campaigns’.

The keynote address by Alex Aiken- Communications Director for UK Government – provided delegates with much to reflect upon on the role of Public Institutions in truth, news and accountability; including a discussion on the value and importance of academic freedom and institutional autonomy in this agenda.


What can Wales learn from post-16 education in the Netherlands?

Post-16 education in Wales has undergone significant changes over the past ten years with mergers, reconfiguration, regulatory changes, and new legislation for further and higher education. With the publication of the white paper on the reform of post-compulsory education in Wales there will soon be further changes to how post-16 education is funded and regulated, and the relationships between sectors and the government.

With this in mind, Universities Wales was pleased to form part of a study visit to the Netherlands to get a sense of how their post-16 education and training system works, and what Wales could learn from it.

Kieron Rees blogs on lessons learned from the Netherlands


British council -Developing successful international strategies

British Council led this workshop for university practitioners, joined by Universities UK and Universities Wales, on 26 October. The delegates: looked at international education trends, including in transnational education; found out more about the possible options pre- and post-Brexit for students wishing to study abroad; and discussed what was happening generally in higher education across government agencies.


Budget 2018/19

The Welsh Government this week published detail on the draft 2018/19 budget. You can find the budget tables here.

  • The overall higher education budget line will be increasing in nominal terms from £104.4 million in 2017-18 to £108.5 million in 2018-19. The indicative budget for 2019-20 is £124.8 million.
  • In terms of capital, the narrative document for the draft budget commits to a £30 million ring-fenced fund – £10 million in each of the next three years – to support ‘a more efficient, streamlined and energy-efficient’ higher education estate.
  • The Welsh Government’s budget lists capital spending for education infrastructure as a single budget line. The draft budget proposes to increase education infrastructure capital spending from £100.8 million to £168 million for 2018-19. The indicative budget for 2019-20 increases this further to £176 million. These increases appear to reflect the Welsh Government’s capital commitments to higher education and other sectors.


Political Update

  • The link between universities and schools must go beyond teacher training, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said earlier this week in a keynote speech.
  • New and improved incentives to teach physics, chemistry, maths, Welsh and modern foreign languages have been announced.
  • The Welsh Government has outlined a £310m package of financial support to drive up skills across Wales.
  • More details regarding the Welsh Government’s draft budget were released earlier this week, with all relevant documents available here.


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