Statement on the Report by Professor Sir Steve Smith on SE Wales Reconfiguration

Commenting on a report by Professor Steve Smith into university reconfiguration in South East Wales, Higher Education Wales said:

“Whilst Professor Smith’s report presents some serious challenges to universities in South East Wales, it is in line with a statement made by HEW itself last year that reconfiguration of higher education is required.

“Indeed, it is a small part of a much larger agenda for change in Welsh Higher Education. Universities are positive about the future and already seeing some great results from exciting and innovative developments. These include work on research where data has shown a marked upturn in Welsh performance. In 2010/11 research income grew by 5.7% in Wales compared to 2% in Scotland and 1.9% in England. Furthermore the 2011 National Student Survey showed that the overall satisfaction for students studying in Wales has remained high, with 83% of respondents satisfied with their course.”

– ENDS –

Notes for Editors

A link to HEW’s July 2011 statement can be found here.

That statement said:

“Though universities are legally autonomous and mergers are a matter for university governing bodies to decide, in this changed environment we are working with the approach of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Welsh Government on the size and shape of the university sector. We are clear that this new strategic approach will require further reconfiguration of the university sector and will be of all round benefit. The gains for Wales of fewer but stronger and more successful universities working collaboratively with the Welsh Government will be substantial. Higher Education Wales will therefore be working to fulfil the goals, including on reconfiguration, outlined in the Funding Council’s Corporate Strategy for 2010-11–2012-13. In this process we are pleased to have the support of colleagues in Universities UK, the wider representative body for Britain’s universities.”