Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 17 July 2015

Review of the Regulation and Oversight of Post-Compulsory Education and Training in Wales, with special reference to the future role and function of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)

The Minister for Education and Skills issued a Written Statement on 14 July 2015 announcing a Review of the oversight arrangements for post-16 non-compulsory education, including higher and further education, adult learning and work-based provision.  The Review will focus on the variety of bodies providing oversight, with particular focus on HEFCW. The Review will be undertaken by Professor Ellen Hazelkorn, Policy Adviser to the Higher Education Authority and Director, Higher Education Research Unit, Dublin Institute of Technology and will start in October and report in the Spring 2016. The review will look at the effectiveness of the current arrangements, international best practice and make recommendations for future arrangements in Wales.  The Minister has also asked Prof Hazelkorn to indicate whether there may be a need for legislation and new or reformed institutional arrangements to take forward future arrangements proposed in the light of this evaluation.


Publication – Insight into Employability: How Welsh Universities Hone Graduate Skills

Universities in Wales have taken huge strides in recent years to develop provision that meets employer needs and have seen the number of graduates in employment and in graduate employment six months after leaving universities increasing over the past two years. However, universities are aware that the economy and skill needs will always be changing and that they must meet these changing needs. The new publication provides an insight into some of the initiatives that demonstrate how universities in Wales are honing graduate skills to meet the demands of the labour market locally, nationally and internationally.


HEFCW Circular W15/15HE – Providing postgraduate taught information, and launch of ‘Steps to Postgraduate Study’

HEFCW circular W15/15HE provides information on a new postgraduate tool, which provides information and resources for prospective UK, EU and international students considering a taught postgraduate course. All higher education providers are encouraged to link to the tool from their postgraduate course pages. For further information please contact Peter Vokes at HEFCW (


HEFCW Circular W15/14HE – Invitation to comment on future changes to the UK Performance Indicators

HEFCW circular W15/14HE invites comments on future changes to the UK performance indicators (UKPIs) as part of a UK consultation process. The proposals look at coverage and scope, widening participation and research output UKPIs. Responses should be returned to the UKPISG Secretariat (  For more information please contact Celia Hunt at HEFCW (


Feedback from the SPA Event Wales: Applicant Experience and Transition to HE  

SPA ran an event in Wales in May, with support from HEFCW, which was well attended by the majority of Welsh HE providers. The event focused on the applicant experience to HE and the transition stage in particular, as well as the role of planning in the applicant experience.

In workshops, participants involved in admissions, widening access and outreach, planning and student recruitment considered what transition activities or issues affect the applicant experience and how these can be improved or resolved.  Participants also shared ideas for induction programmes to aid transition and mitigate the risks of no-shows or drop-out. Notes from the group discussions are now available on the SPA website and could provide a helpful starting point for other HEPs wishing to improve the transition stage of the applicant experience.


Feedback from the Supporting College HE Admissions Event and Consumer Protection

Resources from SPA’s highly successful Supporting College HE Admissions Event in June have already been circulated to participants and to the College HE Admissions JISCMail group. However, as a key element of the day was on consumer protection law, including a keynote address from Mike Lambourne, Assistant Director of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), SPA thought it would be worth highlighting output from the day for others in the sector currently considering how this topic impacts on their HE recruitment and admissions.

Presentations from the day and other resources, including the College HE Admissions Issue Review Plan, which has been updated with a section on consumer protection, are available on the SPA website. Colleges should find this directly relevant, although as many issues cross the HE sector, universities may also find it useful both for themselves and for further discussion with their partners to assure compliance across all aspects of student admission.


Minister Jo Johnson MP announcement – Distribution of research funds

The new Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, has signalled there may be a shift in research funding in his first major policy speech. Mr Johnson indicated that research funds could in future be distributed more widely across the UK. Currently nearly half of public science spending is concentrated in Oxford, Cambridge and London. He also indicated that there would be more emphasis on research to drive growth. The speech can be found here.