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Showing posts from July, 2018

The vast majority - one million - of students have no employment when in full-time studies.

This posting  is intended to lay down a challenge to all post-16 education providers.It is especially important for Universities and Colleges to understand the constraints on their students. Most do not consider what their students are actually doing with their time week on week. They prefer to concentrate on what they produce and assess that as progress and attainment. 

They do not generally consider how the assignments or studies are done or what might be the constraints and time frames for their students. It is time for this to change and each institution must be asked to gather more information from all of their students on how much time they have to study. Many students have plenty of spare time on their hands, whilst others are in employment to fund their studies. The current situation amounts to a massive and deteriorating deficit in equality of opportunity that affects thousands of students. The deficit in equality and study time. The AdvanceHE and Higher Education Policy Unit (H…

Social Mobility, Higher Education and Driving with the Handbrake on.

For disadvantaged students, the prospect of a debt  30 years has to be balanced against securing greater earnings. To most students, Social Mobility means a better house, job or even a new car better than that of their parents. For poorer students, progress means having a house, any job and maybe a car.


A report in The Financial Times (FT) last week ‘UK social mobility at risk as progress stalls’ [1] prompted some thought about looking again at what Social Mobility actually is and how it is progressing. The FT relied heavily on a recent OECD report ‘A Broken Social Elevator? How to Promote Social Mobility’ [2] that reviews the position of countries around the world with regard to Social Mobility. The basic argument of the FT is that the UK has made considerable progress in Social Mobility and cites the introduction of tax credits and the minimum wage as the main drivers of improvements made since 1990. However, in the last two years there as been a slowing of the progress. Any gain…

Teaching rankings in Europe and the experiences of students fuels a call for change.

The overarching feeling this week was that things are changing. The Times Higher Education survey and teaching rankings will come in for some considerable criticism. However, they have set out a major challenge for universities if they are to truly serve our society and redress the social imbalances. The important input from students in the survey is highly valuable in fuelling the debate. The earlier Stand Alone conference illustrated the pressing need for this through the direct experiences of students. Their voice should be more widely heard and appreciated.
This week saw two events at the University of Glasgow that will have a direct effect upon students and the provision of Higher Education.The link between the events is more than just a coincidence or geographical. Very important factors that determine the success of many students in universities were under examination. The Times Higher Education Summit announced the ‘Teaching Rankings in Europe’ that are bound to fuel considera…

Teaching, learning and globalisation - who pays? Proceed with caution!

“Students spot when they are being patronised, they will smell a rat”.

Maybe a rat by any other name……………







This week was a busy time for conferences on Higher Education in the UK. They covered funding to widening access and teaching practice. Taken all together, they highlighted the chaotic tensions that exist in Higher Education in the UK. There seems to be a lot of things happening at once but still not much evidence of ‘joined up thinking’ from government. In response to a statement by Theresa May in June 2017 “a country that works for everyone” and “delivering a programme of serious social reform”, Heather Rolf of the National Institute of Economic and Social research launched a series of papers in the National Institute Economic Review [1]. She made a plea for experts and ‘joined up thinking’ to create a genuine meritocracy.
“….mechanisms which restrict social mobility and reinforce inequality operate throughout the life-cycle from birth into our working lives. They act to ensure …