Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 24 February 2017


Unis Wales Update

At the end of last week we submitted our response to the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee’s inquiry into inter-institutional working, ‘A stronger voice for Wales: engaging with Westminster and the devolved institutions’.


HEFCW Consultation on revised guidance for student charters

HEFCW circular W17/02HE provides a consultation on revising the guidance for Student Charters, to replace that provided in circular W14/05HE. This is because the guidance has become dated in light of subsequent developments, including the HE (Wales) Act 2015. The guidance will apply to regulated institutions. Students of franchise HE provision will be covered by the franchising institution’s Charter.

Institutions are also asked to provide one or more examples of good practice on engaging with ‘hard to reach’ students to ensure that the voice of the diverse student body is heard. These will be published jointly by HEFCW and Wise Wales.

Response by: 11 April 2017


UUKi: International Higher Education Forum – 21 March 2017

There are still some places left for this all day conference, which will explore international opportunities for UK higher education in the context of changing political landscapes.

Themes include:

  • HE in tumultuous times – the political, economic and geopolitical changes affecting your international strategy​.
  • HE’s role in the UK’s industrial strategy, soft power and science diplomacy.
  • Research funding – opportunities outside the European Union.
  • Ways to grow reputations internationally using partnerships and campaigns.

See here for more information


QAA TNE Review – In-country reviews of UK transnational education (TNE) provision in Ireland, Hong Kong and Malaysia

The Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong and Malaysia have been selected for the next three years of in-country reviews under the newly developed TNE Review method. These reviews will support the strategic development of TNE by UK providers, taking into account the strategic importance for UK TNE, and the interests of host country quality assurance bodies in the UK provision within their jurisdiction.

TNE is a significant area of provision and growth for many UK higher education providers. In 2015-16 around 700,000 students worldwide were studying offshore towards a UK higher education programme, and over 80 per cent of all UK degree-awarding bodies are engaged in some form in TNE.

The UK’s higher education funding bodies – the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland, the Scottish Funding Council, and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales – have contracted QAA to continue to undertake in-country reviews of UK TNE.

TNE Review has been developed as part of the new operating model for quality assessment in England and Northern Ireland, and forms part of the Quality Assessment Framework for Wales and the Enhancement-led Institutional Review process in Scotland (links open in new windows). It will help ensure that UK TNE students can continue to be confident that they are accessing an education that meets the same expectations for quality and standards as those studying in the UK.

A handbook for TNE Review, developed in consultation with the higher education sector, is now available. Higher education providers will soon be notified about the timeline for TNE Review in the Republic of Ireland, starting with a survey of UK TNE provision in the country.


Political Update

  • A new £5m fund to help deliver better services and generate savings in the Welsh public sector has been launched by Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford. A written ministerial statement was also issued.
  • Following the announcement, Helen Goulden, Executive Director of the Innovation Lab for Nesta, has written an essay for the Institute of Welsh Affairs discussing the partnership.
  • Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, has announced a £95 million package to support a range of education and training programmes for healthcare professionals in Wales. The Cabinet Secretary also issued a written statement on the matter.
  • A graduate programme helping to develop and retain industry professionals and future leaders in Wales’s financial services sector is being extended for a further two years following a £1m EU funding boost.
  • The Cabinet Secretary for Education has agreed targeted Initial Teacher Education incentives for eligible student teachers commencing postgraduate teacher training courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status in academic year 2017/18.
  • The Welsh Government needs to get ‘a much firmer grip’ on how it monitors Education Improvement Grants, according to a National Assembly for Wales committee. The full Children, Young People and Education Committee report can be viewed here.