Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 20 March 2015

Event – NIACE Cymru and the Open University in Wales – Educating the Economy
NIACE Cymru and The Open University in Wales in partnership with the Institute of Welsh Affairs are hosting an event at the Wales Millennium Centre on Monday 30th March from 9.30am – 3pm, to debate the role of adult learning and skills development in the Welsh economy.
The event will offer the opportunity to discuss the importance of Adult Education to the economy; consider the impact of regional learning and skills strategies; and encourage sharing of best practice. The conference will be chaired by Lee Waters, Director of the Institute of Welsh Affairs and Julie James, Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology will be delivering the keynote address.
More information can be found here.

Event – College Higher Education Workshop – 19 May 2015
ColegauCymru, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) are running a College Higher Education Workshop on Quality Assurance, for Welsh FE colleges with HE provision.  The event will be held on 19 May 2015 at NPTC Group’s Newtown Campus, and further information can be found here.

News – Changes to the UCAS Tariff – SPA considerations for HE admissions
The 2017 admissions cycle will see a significant change to the UCAS Tariff. At a basic level, this will involve a new set of Tariff values for all Tariffed qualifications; at a more fundamental level, it introduces a wholly new methodology for allocating Tariff points to individual qualifications.
SPA encourages all HE providers – whether a ‘Tariff-using’ institution or not – to take time to understand how the UCAS Tariff has changed and what the potential impacts are for your recruitment, selection and admissions activities. The SPA considerations are not intended as a comprehensive, worked-through action plan, but rather as a collection of prompts for thought and reflective questions.They may highlight areas that may not have been considered or clarify points of uncertainty, helping providers to develop and implement their own action plans. The SPA considerations for HE admissions can be downloaded here.

UCAS has developed a suite of resources to support the Tariff implementation – these are available in the Providers section of the UCAS website (log-in required).
If you have any queries relating to engaging with the changes to the UCAS Tariff, or would like to discuss your own HEP plans with SPA, please contact Peter Chetwynd, SPA Admissions Support and Development Manager ( or call 01242 544891.

SPA-HEDIIP Survey on the Use of Contextualised Admissions – deadline extended
The SPA have extended the deadline for responses on their survey on the use of contextualised admissions to Friday 27 March 2015.
This short survey asks about the use of contextualised admissions both in the current (2015 entry) admissions cycle and planned use in future cycles. Institutions are asked to provide the information, even if they are not using contextualised admissions.  The survey is online at

Publication – UKVA – Updated guidance for sponsors on applying for and renewing a Tier 4 sponsor licence
UK Visas and Immigration have published updated guidance for sponsors on applying for and renewing a Tier 4 sponsor licence. This includes clarified guidance on how Tier 4 sponsor licences can be structured when working across multiple sites and campus locations and with partners when delivering HE provision. Transitional arrangements have been put in place for sponsors with existing Tier 4 licences to ensure they are compliant with the updated guidance, with action required in April/May 2015, and a deadline of 30 September 2015. The updated guidance can be found on the UKVA website.

Publication – HEFCW circular – Widening access: fee plan funding supporting widening access
On 11 March 2015, HEFCW published circular W15/03HE which requests information on 2012/13 fee plan investment supporting widening access. The circular is available on HEFCW’s website. HEFCW is requesting reports now that the Welsh Government has agreed to extend HEFCW’s Corporate Strategy and targets to 2016/17. The Welsh Government has also delayed the implementation of the new fee and access planning process until 2017/18. Please direct any queries to Rachel O’Gorman (