Higher education policy

Universities warned Cameron in 2011 that trainee cuts would cause nursing shortage | Education

Universities warned the government for years that they needed to train more nurses to avert a staffing crisis – but ministers repeatedly refused, saying nurses would end up unemployed, letters seen by the Guardian show. Now there are 44,000 nursing vacancies in the NHS, and leaked government documents suggest this could reach 70,000 in five years. Universities say they have been unable to attract enough nursing trainees since the bursary for nursing degrees was abolished in 2017. The Conservatives’ manifesto…

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‘Best time ever’: school-leavers have pick of university courses, says Ucas | Education

Today’s school-leavers are enjoying “the best time ever” to take their pick of university courses, thanks to fierce competition between institutions recruiting from a shrinking pool of 18-year-olds, according to the UK’s university admissions administrator. Ucas, which operates the admissions process for undergraduate courses, said nearly 98% of applicants received offers of a place to study for a degree this year, and that could be even higher next year as the demographic dip among British school-leavers reaches its lowest point.…

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Oxford and Cambridge universities fail to raise UK student numbers | Education

Oxford and Cambridge universities are teaching nearly 1,000 fewer British undergraduates than they were five years ago, despite spending millions of pounds on programmes designed to widen participation and improve access for disadvantaged UK applicants. Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency have shown that Oxford and Cambridge are almost alone among the competitive British universities in failing to expand their intake of domestic undergraduates while slowly increasing the proportion of sought-after places going to EU and international students. But…

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UK academics face furious backlash for encouraging students to vote | Education

When Carrie Paechter, a professor at Nottingham Trent University, tweeted two weeks ago that students could register to vote at both their home and term-time addresses, she didn’t anticipate the tirade of anger it would unleash. She was reported to the police and the Electoral Commission, and someone wrote to her vice-chancellor calling for her to be disciplined. Prof Paechter, who is director of Nottingham Centre for Children, Young People and Families, posted what she thought was an innocuous tweet…

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‘Symbolically posh’ Bristol University expanding to wrong side of tracks | Education

In the well-heeled district of Clifton in Bristol, with its Georgian crescents and French brasseries, 100% of school leavers go to university. Yet in the southern suburb of Hartcliffe, the figures are the lowest in the country: only 8.6% make it there. This is the divided face of Brexit Britain. Bristol University, part of the Russell Group and a favourite among private school students, has long been at the privileged heart of Clifton. But it has radical plans to pull…

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Education secretary backs review of university admissions | Education

The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has backed a review into university admissions, including a fresh look at whether school leavers should only apply for places after receiving their A-level results. Williamson said recent developments, such as the steep rise in unconditional offers to sixth-formers, reopened questions over the admissions system and its calendar, as part of a review being carried out by the Office for Students (OfS), the higher education regulator for England. “I recognise that we need to review…

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Universities hit back after report proposing funding cuts | Education

University leaders said their sector could be pushed into “survival mode” if the funding cuts proposed by a new report into student financing become government policy. The Augar report on post-18 education in England, commissioned by Theresa May, recommended a shift in funding away from universities towards further education (FE) and vocational training, with the report sharply criticising universities for offering too many “low value” courses. The report seeks to make degrees less attractive by increasing student loan repayments by…

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May urges Tories to cut tuition fees and revive student grants | Education

Theresa May has thrown down the gauntlet to the Tory leadership candidates to slash tuition fees and reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students. In a speech in London, the prime minister acknowledged she no longer had power to implement the policy as she was leaving office. However, she put pressure on her successor to reduce the burden of debt on young people, as she believed the system was not working for many students and their families. “I’ve spoken to…

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Give worse-off students £3,000 to stay in education, says report | Education

Disadvantaged students in England could receive grants worth £3,000 a year to encourage them to remain in education after leaving school, according to proposals from a government-commissioned report backed by Theresa May. The report into post-age 16 education and funding would, if accepted by a future government, see a shift in funding from universities to further education (FE) and vocational training. Universities would lose income for “low value” courses while their graduates would be making higher student loan repayments until…

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EU students will not face Brexit penalty next year | Education

EU students going to English universities next year will be eligible for domestic tuition fees and student loans for the duration of their course regardless of Brexit, the Department for Education (DfE) has announced. Chris Skidmore, the universities minister, told a meeting of ministers in Brussels that EU students would continue to be funded on the same basis as students in England for undergraduate and postgraduate courses starting in the 2020-21 academic year. “We know that students will be considering…

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‘It’s cut-throat’: half of UK academics stressed and 40% thinking of leaving | Education

When Ed Harris, a management lecturer at a modern university, stopped sleeping and began having marriage problems, he realised he was no longer coping with the pressures of his job. “Most of the time you handle it, but the anger and unhappiness build up,” says Harris (not his real name). “I was constantly stressed. There was a lot of micromanagement and setting of deadlines and I was always working late and checking emails at all hours.” Harris says he went…

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