Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 4 May 2018

Cross-party groups on Universities and FE and Skills meet to discuss the future of the post-compulsory education sector in Wales

Wed 1 May saw the first joint meeting of the Cross Party Group (CPG) on universities, with the Cross Party Group on Further Education and Skills. The group’s respective Chairs, Hefin David AM and John Griffiths AM, along with the members of Universities Wales and Colleges Wales created this partnership to discuss their collective vision and ambitions for the Welsh Government’s proposed reforms to the post-compulsory education sector in Wales, along with NUSW who presented the student viewpoint. The groups also heard from Kirsty Williams AM, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Alastair Sim from Universities Scotland on Scotland’s similar reform experience.

Now is an opportunity for the post-16 sector to develop a vision for the future, together.
In this IWA article, Professor Julie Lyndon urges the post-16 education sector to come together to design a shared future:

What the Welsh Government’s regulatory reforms mean for universities

In 2016, Ellen Hazelkorn’s review of the oversight of post-compulsory education in Wales was published. At its core it included the recommendations that the Welsh Government develop an overarching vision for the post-compulsory education and training (PCET) system in Wales, and establish a new authority with oversight of the post-compulsory sector.

This week, following last year’s White Paper, the Welsh Government published its technical consultation on its proposed reforms to the regulation and oversight of post-16 education in Wales. The hefty 150-page document – although not quite as hefty as the Office for Students’ recent 500 pages of consultation – covers everything from the proposed committee structure of the successor to the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) to how quality will be assured across the entire post-compulsory sector.

At the heart of this consultation is the new “Commission”, the successor to HEFCW, which, according to the consultation, would be “the sole funder and regulator for further and higher education, apprenticeships, work-based learning, adult learning and sixth forms”. The consultation also outlines how the Commission will be responsible for research and innovation funding in Wales. Perhaps less an Office for Students and more an “Office for Everything”… or at least it can feel that way for those of us thinking through the implications of the proposals on our areas of work!

What’s changing? Read on at


Going Global 2018, Kuala Lumpur

This week, our Political and Public Affairs Adviser, Beth Button, was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the international Going Global conference.  The British Council’s annual Going Global is a conference for leaders in international education to debate the future of further and higher education.

  • Providing a unique platform for knowledge sharing.
  • Connecting local, national, regional and global agendas.
  • Providing a global network for policy makers and practitioners working in the field of international education.
  • Supporting evidence led policy decisions deriving from research and regional policy dialogues.
  • Supporting global thought leadership.

The theme of this years event was ‘Global connections, local impact’, and over the three day event, delegates discussed and debated the future of international higher education. UniversitiesUK President Prof Janet Beer opened Going Global – acknowledging the importance of internationalisation that not only creates global connections but uses these networks to better connect to and serve our communities.

Bringing together representatives from over countries all over the world, the event afforded plenty of opportunities to network and meet country delegations, with the Global Wales partnership and Study in Wales platform promoted as an avenue for fostering partnership and collaboration opportunities.

The civic mission of universities was a central theme of the event, and during workshops and discussions, Unis Wales was able to share and showcase Wales’ leading work in this area.  Swansea Vice Chancellor, Prof Richard Davies, also chaired a panel debate at the event on how universities can align their research agendas to advance the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Follow #GoingGlobal2018 on twitter for more coverage of the event

Political Update

·        The Cabinet Secretary for Education has announced that two Welsh universities are to receive £1.2m to support their involvement in the UK-wide Institute of Coding. The announcement was made during a statement to Plenary on Tuesday.

·       University of Wales Trinity Saint David will be among those joining a Welsh Government trade mission to Qatar, as organisations look to capitalise on new link between Cardiff Airport and Doha.

·       The Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has announced £9.2m funding for the Reduced Industrial Carbon Emissions initiative, which will be led by the Energy Safety Research Institute at Swansea University in partnership with University of South Wales.

  ·      The Children, Young People and Education Committee has launched a consultation on the Impact of Brexit on Higher and Further Education. The deadline for responses is 8 June.