Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 23 June 2017

Post Compulsory Education & Training

A consultation has been launched on the Welsh Government’s White Paper on proposals to reform post-compulsory education and training in Wales. Universities Wales’s response to the announcement is available here.  Proposals include creating a new commission to oversee the HE and FE sectors and the full consultation documents are available here 


TEF results

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) published TEF results for higher education providers across the UK this week.  The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a new scheme for recognising excellent teaching, in addition to existing national quality requirements for universities, colleges and other higher education providers.  The TEF was developed by the Department for Education in England, but individual institutions in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where education is a devolved matter, are also able to choose to participate in this scheme.

The TEF is voluntary and each higher education provider decides whether or not they wish to take part.  Participating providers receive a gold, silver or bronze award reflecting the excellence of their teaching, learning environment and student outcomes. The awards cover undergraduate teaching.  Providers are able to appeal their award and any resulting changes will be made in August 2017.  TEF outcomes can be viewed on the HEFCE website.


Universities UK Conference – Research in Universities: successful strategies for 2017 and beyond

UUK are holding a national, one date conference for all those with strategic responsibility for research in universities and the wider higher education sector.   The conference, to be held on 5 December 2017, will offer delegates from a diverse range of institutions in the UK the opportunity to examine the changing research infrastructure and landscape, including:

  • the transition to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Research England
  • the move towards open access, and the monitoring of this
  • research funding, including international research funding
  • international collaboration, particularly post-Brexit
  • research skills and the development of researchers
  • research integrity
  • the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Further information about the event and online booking is available via the UUK website.


A Stronger Voice for Wales

Ben Arnold of Universities Wales, along with other stakeholders, appeared before the National Assembly for Wales’ Constitutional and Legislative Affairs committee earlier this week, as part of its Stronger Voice for Wales Inquiry. A webcast of the session can be viewed here.



UUKi launched a new report showing that international students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.  The report reflects the great student experience that UK universities offer international students.  It would be great if you would share the news via your social media channels with the hashtag #CompAdv17.


UK Strategy for Outward Student Mobility 2017-2020

As we celebrate the 30th year of Erasmus+ and its predecessor programmes, Universities UK International has launched its Strategy for Outward Student Mobility 2017 – 2020.

In order to achieve its vision of increasing the proportion of UK-domiciled students accessing international opportunities, the second phase of the UK Strategy for Outward Student Mobility will promote the benefits of study and work abroad, monitor trends in student mobility, build capacity in UK HE to facilitate outward mobility and provide a collective voice for UK higher education, including informing discussions about the UK’s future participation in Erasmus+.

Universities UK International will work with the UK higher education sector, the four UK governments, sector organisations, employers and professional bodies to implement the Strategy.


Unis Wales update

This week has been a busy one.  As well as giving evidence to Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, and seeing the release of the Welsh Government’s White paper on Post Compulsory Education & Training and TEF results (see above); Unis Wales members have met with the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams and the Chief Executive designate for UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), Professor Sir Mark Walport


Political update

  • The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government appeared before the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee earlier this week to discuss City Deals and the Regional Economies of Wales. His evidence paper is available here, along with those from The Manufacturers’ Organisation and Mid Wales Manufacturing Group.  Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, Assistant Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of South Wales, also appeared before the committee and a webcast of the session is available here.
  • A drive to connect Welsh pupils with coding, backed with £1.3 million of new funding, has been announced by the Education Secretary. During the launch of the action plan, the Cabinet Secretary issued a written statement citing Welsh universities as one of the partners that “have demonstrated their support to work in partnership with us in taking forward the plan”.  
  • The External Affairs & Additional Legislation Committee has also published its Inquiry into the future of regional policy – what next for Wales?, where it calls for certainty on what will replace EU structural funds post-Brexit. The report goes on to say that Wales should be no worse off as a consequence of leaving Europe, and that the Welsh Government should start looking at the future of regional policy immediately. The full report can be read here.
  • Owen Evans, Deputy Permanent Secretary – Education and Public Services, has written to the Public Accounts Committee giving an update on a range of education issues, including regional education consortia and the use of digital technologies.
  • The Minister for Skills and Science and the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure have agreed the future Procurement of Employability and Apprenticeship Programme 2019-23.
  • Latest statistics on student support applications for higher education and Education Maintenance Allowances in Wales have been released.