Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 28 July 2017

Welsh education secretary urges recognition of Welsh Baccalaureate

The Cabinet Secretary for Education at the Welsh Government, Kirsty Williams AM, has urged UK universities to adopt the reformed Welsh Baccalaureate – Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate as part of their entry requirements.

In a blog on our website, she highlighted the baccalaureate’s comparability with GCE A Level, reflected by the tariff score it has been awarded by UCAS as well as its content and the level of challenge it provides.

Introduced in September 2015, the baccalaureate will have its first certification this summer.


Patterns and Trends Report

Universities UK published today [Friday 21 July] its latest Patterns and trends report which presents a range of data and analysis on the changing size and shape of UK higher education.

The report covers the decade between academic years 2006-7 and 2015-16, a period that has seen a transition to new higher education funding systems across a large part of the UK.

This year’s report includes a forward-looking chapter on some of the emerging demographic, technological, economic and political changes and the opportunities and challenges for the sector.

Key points from the report include:

  • Disadvantaged backgrounds – Students from a wider range of backgrounds are now entering higher education, with the number of 18-year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds on full-time undergraduate courses increasing by 52% since 2006 and reaching record levels in 2016.
  • Demand for courses – Entrants to full-time first-degree, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research courses have increased considerably since 2006–07 (by 31.2%, 30.5% and 25.7% respectively), and the proportion of 18 year olds applying and entering HE were at record levels in 2016. However, demand for part-time courses has continued to decline, with entrants to part-time first degree courses falling by 28.6% and entrants to other part-time undergraduate courses by 63.1% since 2006-07.
  • International staff – Non-UK nationals accounted for nearly two thirds of growth in all academic staff since 2006-07. For some subjects, such as engineering, and the humanities and language-based studies, non-UK nationals have accounted for most of the growth in academic staff numbers (63.5% and 54.6% of growth between 2006–07 and 2015–16 respectively).
  • Staff equality and diversity – Between 2009–10 and 2015–16, consistent increases are reported in the number and proportion of both black and minority ethnic (BME) and female professors. BME professors increased by 50.7% over the period (compared to 10.5% for white staff) and female professors increased by 41.8% (compared to 6.5% for males), however both groups are still under-represented among professors in 2015-16.
  • Employment – Young and older graduates have had consistently lower unemployment rates and higher earnings compared with non-graduates, even during recessions. In 2016, graduates aged 21-30 were 40% less likely to be unemployed compared to non-graduates in the same age group.


Updated Guidance from HEFCW on Student Charters

HEFCW published revised guidance for Student Charters, applying to all regulated and funded institutions. All documentation is on the HEFCW website.


Transnational education: here to stay

Universities UK International (UUKi) is hosting a transnational education conference on 1 November.

UUKi is still working on the programme, which is expected to include some case studies and the chance for delegates to network and scout out new TNE opportunities.

You can book your place now:


Political Update – The National Assembly for Wales is in recess this week until the 17 September 2017.