Universities Wales Weekly Wrap Up – 7 July 2017

Estyn review

The Welsh Government announced an independent review of the role of Estyn, to be led by Professor Graham Donaldson, on 4 July 2017.  The review will begin in August and report in early 2018.  See the Welsh Government news here and Estyn website here for the announcement, and here for the terms of reference.


UKPIs – employment indicators

HESA published its summary of the latest UK performance indicators relating to employment for 2015/16 on 6 July 2017 (see here).  The employment indicator measures the percentage of leavers in employment or further study. This showed, for instance:


Table E1a – Employment indicator: UK domiciled leavers obtaining first degrees from full-time courses 2015/16:

Employment indicator %
England 94.2
Wales 94.7
Scotland 95.2
NI 94.4
UK 94.3


No institution in Wales had an employment indicator that was significantly higher or lower than its benchmark.


IFS report on HE funding in England

The Institute of Fiscal Studies produced a report on HE funding in England on 5 July 2017 (see here). This highlights, in particular, increases in student debts and considers a number of policy options.  See here for the Wonkhe anlaysis, and here for comment from the Minister of state for universities and science.


UCAS Chief Executive appointment

Clare Marchant started as the new Chief Executive of UCAS on 3 July 2017 (see here). 


Nicola Dandridge to leave UUK for new role as CEO of the Office for Students

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, has been named as the first CEO of the new Office for Students. She will leave UUK on 1 September 2017 after eight years at the organisation. Universities UK will shortly begin its search for a new Chief Executive to succeed Nicola Dandridge, with a view to announcing a new appointment ahead of UUK’s annual conference on 6-7 September 2017.


Inspire! Adult Tutor Awards 2017


Learning and Work Institute is proud to be hosting the Inspire Tutor Awards this year.

The Awards celebrate the achievements of exceptional Tutors across Wales and we are inviting nominations for influential individuals who have shown outstanding passion and commitment to teach and continuously inspire and support other adult learners to pursue their goals, whether it’s in their community or the workplace.  Remember to read through the Inspire! Tutor Awards Guidance & Categories first before nominating!

You can nominate an inspirational Tutor by completing this form and return to  They have also created a guide on ‘How to Write a Successful Inspire! Tutor Award Nomination’ click here to get your copy.  You can find more information on the Tutor Awards on our website.


Job Opportunities

Vacancy on HEFCW’s Quality Assessment Committee

On 02 June 2017, HEFCW announced that it is seeking candidates for the appointment of a Member to HEFCW’s newly established Quality Assessment Committee (QAC). See here.


Non Executive Chair of the British Geological Survey (BGS)
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the British Geological Survey (BGS) are inviting applications for a non-executive Chair to ensure a successful transition to a new relationship between NERC and BGS. The closing date for applications is 21st July.  Further details on how to apply are available here


EPSRC seeks applicants for strategic advisory bodies

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is welcoming applications for membership of its strategic advisory bodies. Applicants are sought from academia, industry and other stakeholders to advise the organisation on research and training strategy as members of the Strategic Advisory Teams (SATs).

As well as our standard vacancies, EPSRC is looking to appoint non-academic members to each SAT team from business, industry, third sector or government organisations, whose role is focused on managing the use of academic research to deliver innovation, economic growth or societal change.  Further information is available here.

The recruitment process for SAT applications is open until 16.00hrs on Friday, 04 August, 2017. Applications will be through an online form.


Political Update

  • Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Welsh university Vice Chancellors attended the Cross Party Group on Universities, chaired by Huw Irranca Davies AM, on Wednesday evening.
  • In minutes recently released from a May meeting, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure introduced a paper on creating a new Wales Digital Gateway Project to implement a more joined up and streamlined approach to marketing Wales across online government platforms. Recommendations include “looking into developing new Study and Live and Work websites – subject to further research and partner discussions.” Cabinet approved the paper.
  • The Cabinet Secretary for Health has made a written statement giving an update on health professional education and workforce development in Wales and plans to create a new body called Health Education and Improvement Wales. According to the statement, the move to a single organisation will “create opportunities to build on the strengths of both the Deanery and WEDS, whilst learning from elsewhere.”
  • Economy Secretary, Ken Skates and Lifelong Learning Minister, Alun Davies visited Blaenau Gwent earlier this week to discuss plans for the new Welsh Government funded £100m technology park. Meanwhile, latest statistics reveal inward investment levels in Wales remained at a near record level in 2016/17.
  • The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language agreed additional funding to support the expanded Junior Apprenticeships pilot across Wales.
  • An independent review of the role of Estyn in supporting education reform has been announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams and the Chief Inspector, Meilyr Rowlands. A written ministerial statement was also issued.
  • The Welsh Government is investing an extra £4.2m to support the teaching and learning of Welsh and subjects through the medium of Welsh.