Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 29 September 2017

Study in Wales welcomes the world in Seville

Earlier this month, university representatives came together as Study in Wales for Europe’s largest international higher education conference in Seville, Spain. With access to some 5,000 delegates, our universities had an opportunity to meet with existing and new partners, while promoting Wales’s excellent higher education and location for study. Our stand was busy, with a steady stream of interest in creating new international links with universities in Wales. We also had an opportunity to boost our profile further by hosting a reception for at the Hard Rock café for university and other international partners.

We look forward to doing it all again in Geneva in 2018!

Twitter: @StudyWales  #StudyInWales

Study in Wales at EAIE 2017, Seville
Study in Wales at EAIE 2017, Seville
Study in Wales Reception at the Hard Rock Cafe, Seville
Study in Wales Reception at the Hard Rock Cafe, Seville


In April 2018, a new statutory body within NHS Wales will come into being.  Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) will sit alongside Health Boards and Trusts and will be the eleventh member of the NHS Wales family. The new organisation is recruiting independent members, as follows:

One member with Welsh as an essential criteria; and five further members, with Welsh as desirable.

If you are a Twitter user, you may wish to re-tweet the following:



The following letter was circulated by SPA this week:

Dear Colleague

SPA’s future and funding

As promised, we are writing to provide you with an update on SPA’s future and funding. SPA will cease to be at UCAS as of midday tomorrow, Friday 29 September.

Our work to secure alternative funding and a base for SPA is continuing and we are very pleased to have received support from a small number of universities to operate a centre of excellence. This would ensure that SPA’s core services would remain freely available to the whole UK HE sector. Discussions are ongoing and we expect the centre of excellence will be operational later this term.

We would like to thank all of the SPA team and are sad to have lost such great talent. Jeni has worked hard over the past few weeks to ensure new resources such as the toolkit module on additional admissions assessments are available for you before she finishes. We wish her all the best and are sure she will be an asset to any institution. Although Janet and Dan are also finishing tomorrow, they continue to develop the new plans and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the new operational structure.

As previously mentioned, we have gained the support and agreement of OFFA in England that expenditure incurred in relation to SPA may be included in your access agreement where it is related to widening participation and fair access. Please see the OFFA website for further information. HEFCW has also sent a letter in support of SPA to Vice-Chancellors of Welsh institutions.

Thank you to everyone who has shown us support over recent months and for your ongoing commitment to fair admissions.

Our contact details will change from tomorrow. If you would like to discuss these changes further, feedback to us, or send us any ideas for additional projects you would like SPA to run, please email us at or

Kind regards,

The SPA Team
Supporting Professionalism in Admissions

SPA is an independent programme based at:
New Barn Lane
GL52 3LZ

Tel: 01242 544891
Twitter: @SPA_Admissions


Political Update

During the Business StatementMike Hedges (Swansea East) (14:20) requested a statement from the Welsh Government on “how it sees the university sector in Wales helping create wealth in Wales, either via science parks or promoting entrepreneurship?”.

Developing a high-quality teaching profession and creating “inspirational leaders to help raise standards” are among the aims of a new national education plan launched by Kirsty Williams earlier this week. The Cabinet Secretary made a statement on the action plan during Tuesday’s Plenary and the National Assembly’s research service has also published a briefing paper on Welsh education.

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government was asked the following questions during Wednesday’s Plenary:

  • Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore): Will the Cabinet Secretary explain how he intends to assess the implementation of the code of practice for ethical employment in supply chains in the Welsh public sector? (Question 1; 13:30) Subsequent discussions include praise for Welsh universities committing to paying all staff the Living Wage

Huw Morris of the Welsh Government has written to the Public Accounts Committee in connection with the Auditor General for Wales’s report on Welsh Government oversight of Further Education institutions’ finances and delivery.

In the media, the new Wales school curriculum overhaul delayed a year; and scientists from three universities in Wales are taking part in a new multi-million pound project to study the effects of climate change on the seas.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education is to be asked the following questions during Wednesday’s Plenary:

  • Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on medical education in north Wales?
  • Leanne Wood (Rhondda): Does the Welsh Government remain committed to the principle of free education for all?
  • Simon Thomas (Mid & West Wales): What is the Welsh Government doing to support the development of veterinary education?
  • Mark Reckless (South Wales East): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the value placed on the Welsh baccalaureate by universities in England?