Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 6 July 2018

2019/20 EU student funding guarantee announced in Wales

EU students applying for a place at Welsh universities for the 2019/20 academic year will be eligible for financial support, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams announced on Mon 2 July.

EU nationals who are currently in receipt of student loans from Student Finance Wales and those EU nationals who intend to begin studying in the academic year 2019/20 will be eligible for support from loans and grants.


£10 million work experience programme extended for three years

WWU image 1A three-year programme designed to provide tailored work experience for full-time students under the age of 25 has been extended.

GO Wales: Achieve through Work Experience provides tailored support to eligible younger students from more disadvantaged backgrounds to get the best out of their work experience and plan their next steps.

The all-Wales programme, funded by the European Social Fund, HEFCW and higher education providers, is delivered by the universities to help students to develop and refine their employability skills though work experience, so that they are in the best situation to secure employment, training or education when they leave their course.

The programme, which started in 2016, will now complete in January 2022. To date, 655 students have been accepted onto the programme, and 351 students have been supported into work experience.


Wonkhe: Fees, funding and the future of higher education event

Universities Wales attended Wonkhe’s event looking at the future of higher education fees and funding, in particular in light of the UK Government’s review of post-18 education. The event included a Q&A with the Chair of the UK Government’s post-18 funding review, Philip Augar. The Diamond Review’s recommendations were frequently referred to by speakers at the event as a positive and progressive approach to student support and funding (as seen in the tweets below). On the topic of how the post-18 review’s recommendations may impact devolved nations, Philip Augar acknowledged the cross-border issues and stated that they were aiming to avoid recommendations which would give way to unintended consequences.

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Cross Party Group on Universities discusses the future of Research & Innovation in Wales

The National Assembly for Wales’ Cross Party Group on Universities, Chaired by Hefin David AM, met on 4 July to discuss the future of Research and Innovation in Wales. Assembly members heard from Prof Karen Holford – a Reid Review panel member – on the Review’s recommendations and David Blaney – HEFCW CEO. The Reid Review can be found here and a note of the meeting will be available soon on the Cross Party Group’s webpage here along with further information about the group.  

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Opportunity to work with the QAA on the new Quality Code

The Quality Assurance Association (QAA) are writing the advice and guidance to underpin the new Quality Code which becomes operational in November 2018. They are looking to increase the numbers in the following groups for both writers and readers:

  • Partnerships
  • External Expertise
  • Work-based Learning

The commitment for writing group: to write the advice and guidance for one of the themes during July / early August; attend a final edit meeting in Gloucester on 10th or 11th September. Probably 3-5 days in total (excl final edit meeting).
The commitment for reading group: to read the advice and guidance for one of the themes during August. Probably 1-2 days in total.

They also need employers, students, and ‘alternative providers’ for all 4 groups.

If you would like to take part, please contact Alison Felce at the QAA (


Political Update

  • Adam Price and Rhun ap Iorwerth are to challenge Leanne Wood for the leadership of Plaid Cymru.
  • Economy Secretary Ken Skates has confirmed he will not run for the Welsh Labour leadership
  • The Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning has visited Neuadd Pantycelyn at Aberystwyth University, where she confirmed that the Welsh Government will provide £5m of funding from its 21st Century Schools and Education programme.
  • The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Mark Drakeford, recently appeared before the Finance Committee as part of its inquiry into replacing EU funding. During his appearance discussions were held about the impact on Welsh universities if they lose access to Horizon 2020.
  • The Children, Young People and Education Committee has launched an inquiry into the Welsh Baccalaureate. The deadline for consultation responses is 20 September.
  • Meanwhile, the committee has written to the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee making it aware of its forward work programme, which is likely to be of shared interest. Two of the committee’s forthcoming priorities will be:
    • Post-legislative scrutiny: Higher Education (Wales) Act 2015
    • Pre-legislative scrutiny: TERCW and Reforming Post-Compulsory Education and Training (PCET).
  • Following a recent appearance before the same committee, the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and provided a written document outlining how Wales is taking advantage of opportunities provided by the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy. Meanwhile, the Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning has also provided further written evidence to the committee on the skills agenda with an update on actions within the Policy Statement on Skills and Skills Implementation Plan.
  • The chair of the Finance Committee has written to the other Assembly committees outlining their approach to scrutinising the forthcoming budget.
  • Writing on the Institute of Welsh Affairs blog, NUS Wales presidentGwyneth Sweatman has outlined her priorities for the year ahead.


The Conversation showcase: Highlighting the latest work by academics at Welsh universities

Orangutans have been adapting to humans for 70,000 years (Cardiff)

Walking a dog won’t make your child fitter, but it can give them a healthier start (Swansea)

How tech companies are successfully disrupting terrorist social media activity (Swansea)

Now wine lovers need to know about geology – or do they? (Aberystwyth)

Why some people being treated with anti-psychotics gain weight (Cardiff Met)