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Total Equality For Students is about equality of opportunity and equal access to time and resources for all regardless of disability, gender, ethnicity or a low income background. 
This should be the overarching aim of all education that unlocks the full potential in our citizens.

Many students are held back from achieving their full potential because of their circumstances. Even one student failing because of financial pressures on time and resources is a tragedy – one casualty is one too many. At University did you:
Repay fees? Work part-time? Have what you needed? Have a life? Succeed? Many now do not have these basic advantages. If you did, then please do something about it.
 “Courses of higher education should be available for all those who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.” Robbins Report, 1963 This did not include “and as customers have at least £9000 per year available for fees and can feed and house themselves for at least three years”
Recent posts

Ofqual lets the cat out of the bag

Ofqual concluded this week that they had little option but to release the minutes of their board meetings. The news broke yesterday, and they are now in the public domain (Ofqual board minutes for 2020 and Ofqual board minutes for 2019). They make for sobering and very depressing reading as the extent of confusion and conflict between Ofqual and the government is revealed.
As time progressed, and students were sent their results, the public became aware of the extent of the blunder. The Scottish government was the first to realise the enormity of the error they had made and took full responsibility at the political level. The administrations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland capitulated in their own way. There was utter confusion in England, poor communication, and a blame game. It seems the minutes released an angry 'cat out of the bag'. The actions of the government in England probably reflect their reluctance to let go of their ‘standardisation’ process that maintains…

Chasing the bus: White, disadvantaged and left behind

There is a growing unease about  the numbers of young ‘White’ people  missing out on educational opportunities. It seems they are chasing after a bus they missed, or simply could not afford the fare, and are playing catch up throughput their lives. However, the problem becomes confused by constant use of the term ‘working class’ and the Education Committee fell into this obvious trap on Friday. There is a clear issue about first identifying who they are. Then there are observations from different perspectives contaminating objective evidence and how it is interpreted. The emphasis is too often put onto less tangible reasons such as lack of aspiration. But there are many different factors that must be disentangled. The Education Committee must try to do this. The first thing to do is to separate lack of resources and poverty away from the real scandal of racial discrimination. Using the term ‘White’ at the outset simply confuses the two issues. Then, accept that aspiration and encour…

Ofqual holding back information

Ofqual has responded to an FOI request from TEFS this week. They held a staggering twenty-nine board meetings since March. Despite promising the Parliamentary Education Committee over a month ago they would publish the minutes “shortly” after their meeting on 16th September, they are still not able to do so. They cite “exemption for information that is intended to be published in the future” for minutes that are in the “process of being approved for publication”. More concerning is they are also citing exemption under the “Public Interest Test”. This means they might not be published, and Ofqual will open themselves up to legal challenges. If both the Department for Education and Ofqual are prevented from being more open, then public interest will lie shattered on the floor and lessons will not be learned. 
Ofqual finally responded to the TEFS Freedom of Information (FOI) request to publish the minutes of its board meetings on Tuesday. It should have been replied to by 17th September a…

Don’t ignore the dashboard warnings and don’t blame the students

A sharp rise in students testing positive for Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has coincided with a return to tighter lockdown measures announced yesterday. While some media outlets looked toward the role of students and universities (Daily Mail and Guardian yesterday), the WHO’s Director-General held a media briefing and denounced calls for a ‘herd immunity’ approach with “Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It is scientifically and ethically problematic”. The UK is becoming a dangerous place for the least advantaged and most vulnerable. The government, projected directly from No10, ignored the advice of its own scientists three weeks ago and deliberately led us to this pivotal point in time. Whatever the motivation, they are heading for a ‘herd immunity’ resolution and are prepared to sacrifice people to achieve this. The most chilling passage in the ignored SAGE advice on the 21st September …

COVID-19 in Universities, widening gaps and ‘Herd Immunity’: SAGE Advice

UPDATE 12th October 2020 
The report of the latest SAGE meeting on COVID-19, from the 21st September 2020 were released today. They confirm what we suspected all along. The government was clearly advised not to open universities and colleges for face-to -face teaching as one of five serious recommendations. Whilst some of them are only being introduced from today, the universities are not being asked to go online. Despite this, many will be planning to do so as even more students become infected. It surely looks like the government. It surely looks as if No10 is going its own deliberate way. It is noticeable that there was an anonymous observer from No10 (arrowed). However, the notes indicate this was one of several junior officials who were redacted. Original post from 9th October 2020
The metaphor of a stampede of nearly a million students onto our university campuses in the last few weeks fits well with the notion that ‘herd immunity’ is back on the agenda. What better way to spread t…

Campus lockdown and Parliamentary encounters

The chaos at many universities unfolded further this week as the number of COVID-19 cases increased across our campuses. Many students complain of being in ‘prison’ as online teaching becomes the norm. This was entirely expected and should come as no surprise to those in Parliament. Some universities can cope better than others, but it is the less advantaged students who will be most affected most. It is therefore with alarm that the House of Commons had to witness two sorry encounters between the Shadow Education Secretary and the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson.  He told us of an imaginary £100 million digital access fund for universities. Then of equally imaginary extra maintenance support from the Student Loans Company. This was topped off by him crowing about £256 million for student hardship funds, despite it being a cut from £277 million last year. Each imaginary assertion combined to highlight the cynical attitude of the government to student hardship. It will take ti…

Riders on the storm: Urgent action is needed or reset the clock

UPDATE 27th Sept 2020 More news today of students locked down in cities across the UK means that action should be taken with immediate urgency. They must be dispersed home in an orderly way as soon as possible. A policy of ‘test and disperse’ must be in place within days and followed through.  All universities must then cooperate to improve access to facilities with the inevitable shift to online learning. It must be treated as an emergency and dealt with now, not at Christmas. If this is not done soon, then we should reset the clock and start again with a fresh term in January. All institutions across the UK must allow access to their facilities to ensure students can study online nearer to their home and within the inevitable lockdown areas at home. 

By suggesting that students may not be allowed to travel to their family homes at Christmas, it means that the government has finally confirmed  the ‘experiment’ has failed. All advice they received this summer pointed to the dangers of op…