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Showing posts from October, 2018

REF, TEF and Bobtail and a 'Bill of Rights': Analysing the Government's response to the TEF consultation

Two very important reports emerged this week. Firstly, the government's consultation response about the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework – although renamed earlier this year, it is still known 'popularly' as TEF [1]. This was followed by the shocking findings in the report, 'Is Britain Fairer' from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) [2]. Although some may see both as somewhat unconnected, the juxtaposition of the reports is important at this time since they shed some light onto what should be the real priorities. The TEF Consultation response. The government's cunning plan was to win over the so called ‘providers’ to their well worked proposals on the design of subject-level TEF. So far so good it seemed. The position of the government is clear enough since they see that "the movement to subject-level as an important development in TEF, ensuring that prospective students have information about a provider’s teaching exc

OfS progress on widening participation: Reserve your seat now for 2204AD.

Last Friday the OfS closed its call for submissions to the consultation ‘A new approach to regulating access and participation in English higher education’. Even if the trend of an almost insignificant narrowing of the so called access ‘gap’ for the last seven years continues, we might see parity by the year 2204AD if we are lucky.  The TEFS submission can be downloaded by linking here. The aim of the consultation appeared to be to seek endorsement of its already well worked access and participation plans. The consultation can be divided into sections related to:  the cycles of approval and monitoring of access and participation plans  annual monitoring and planning  access and participation plan targets  funding and investment in access and participation  evaluation  the approach to data, including the transparency information condition and an access and participation dataset.  The TEFS response concentrates on funding for students and the approach to data gathering.  The go

HE Conference: No More University, teaching or Degrees

This week saw the annual Higher Education Conference and Exhibition at the QEII Conference Centre in London. The excellent conference series  provides an observer with a lens with which to observe how universities are reacting to the changing times. It also 'takes the temperature' of the HE patient who is looking to the future treatment with a degree of apprehension. Most of the delegates appeared to be professionals from HE with largely administrative roles. They are of course likely to bear the brunt of government changes and are highly important. This was reflected in interest in, academic integrity, student welfare and how data can be managed to identify students possibly at risk.  Amidst the alarming jargon that infected the HE patient, there were very serious points made about student welfare and identifying them more readily. It made the trip well worthwhile. A new lexicon and liberal use of novel jargon. It became clear at an early stage that the traditio

The Conservative Party Conference 2018: Mono culture it seems.

As the sitting Government, the Conservative party held their annual conference this week.   The cost for me to attend was too steep as were the hotels in Birmingham.   I noted that even for members it would have been £100s for a full member pass. The conference www site has been taken down and the Conservative HQs in both London and Edinburgh were unable to confirm the costs today. I attended the Labour Conference for £65 for a full pass – albeit one for a retired person (ordinary member passes were £110). BREXIT, BREXIT, BREXIT. The Conservatives were exercised with Brexit and this dominated the event in the press.   Dancing Queen, Theresa May (Independent School and Oxford Graduate) did her best to rally everyone around the camp fire whilst a full blown bush fire raged around her [1]. The incongruous sight of her dancing on stage took a while to sink in as the cringing subsided. She used the words of Robert Binyon from ‘For the Fallen’ written in 1914, when the horro

Social Mobility and its Enemies – A review: Finding the Lost Souls.

The eagerly awaited text ‘Social Mobility and its Enemies’ [1] was published on Thursday of last week. Like many others, I pre-ordered it on Amazon and it arrived the same day for reading to commence. Using a title that paraphrased the iconic two volume text ‘The Open Society and its Enemies’ [2] written by Karl Popper in New Zealand during the destruction of Europe in World War 2, was perhaps a little presumptuous. Popper’s magnum opus is one of the most influential critical texts of the 20 th Century and it shaped our new beginning. That one of the authors, Stephen Machin, is a Professor of Economics at the LSE, makes it no accidental choice of title. Popper arrived in the UK in 1946 to join the LSE. The book offers an analysis of the persistent inequalities in our society and races through the various reasons in as much detail as the 259 pages will allow. The fact that the authors are compelled to do this in itself represents a failure to ensure fairness and governmen