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  • Study UK has relaunched as Independent Higher Education New national representative body for independent higher education providers Today sees the launch of the new national representative body for independent providers of higher education, professional training and pathways in the UK, Independent Higher Education. Previously known as Study UK, our organisation is re-launching at a time of significant change for higher education providers across the country. Higher education in independent universities and colleges plays an integral role in our communities, offering innovative and high-quality opportunities to students and employers. Recent figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that many independent providers play a vital role in widening participation in higher education, educating more students from BME and lower income backgrounds, as well as more mature learners, than traditional universities. In light of the government’s recent HE White Paper and the Higher Education and Research Bill, which recognise the crucial contributions made by high-quality independent higher education providers, it is more important than ever for the unique interests of these institutions to be represented by a central body which can provide a strong voice for the sector. Independent Higher Education will fill this essential role, working to promote, support and enhance the independent sector through close collaboration with our members, other HE sector bodies and government. By lobbying for positive reforms to the regulatory and operating environment we aim to boost positive competition and promote good practice, in order to raise standards across the whole higher education sector. The modernising reforms in the White Paper will facilitate the entrance to the sector of new and innovative challenger institutions. The launch of Independent Higher Education provides an excellent opportunity for relevant policy recommendations to be channelled to government through a single representative body for independent providers. Alexander Proudfoot, Chief Executive of Independent Higher Education, said: “Independent Higher Education has a clear purpose and a vital role as the representative body for independent and alternative providers, which have become such an important part of the UK’s high-quality higher education provision. “We will advise the government under its new leadership to protect and enhance the flexibility of independent providers so as to ensure that they continue to be the positive force for social mobility they have become.” Professor Philip Wilson, Chair of Independent Higher Education, and Provost and Chief Executive of UCFB, said: “Having welcomed the plans for the English higher education sector outlined in the government’s White Paper earlier this year, we believe that it is crucial for the interests of independent and innovative providers to be promoted by a single representative body such as Independent Higher Education. “The White Paper reforms will leave our HE sector better able to meet the needs of today’s students by establishing a fair and competitive framework for new and existing providers. We will work with government to ensure that the voices of our members are heard during these times of change, with the ultimate goal of raising overall standards in the sector and helping the UK to remain a world leader in excellent higher education.”   Notes:  The new Independent Higher Education site is now online at www.independentHE.com The Study UK website will remain online providing archive material and institution profiles until the end of 2016 Independent Higher Education (formerly Study UK) is the UK membership organisation and national representative body for independent providers of higher education, professional training and pathways. The HESA Report “Appreciating Alternative Providers” can be found here: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/blog/3973-appreciating-alternative-providers The BIS-funded report by IFF Research “Understanding the Market of Alternative Higher Education Providers and their Students in 2016” can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/524453/he-alternative-providers-2014.pdf
  • New Report Underlines Importance of International Education in the UK  A major new report released today by Exporting Education UK reveals the importance of the international education sector to the UK economy and highlights the adverse effects of recent government policy. The report recommends that the UK develops a strong, consistent and clear ‘offer’ to international students in order to reverse the decline in their numbers and secure the significant economic contribution which these students bring to the country. ExEdUK and Parthenon-EY’s report ‘Supporting International Education in the UK’ also shows fully for the first time the diverse and interconnected nature of provision in the education sector, and the importance to international students of smooth transitions between courses. Independent providers play a pivotal role in this process with the lion’s share of flexible provision and increasingly popular pathway programmes for international students, but have suffered the most from recent drops in applications from outside Europe. The overall number of international students in the UK has declined since 2011, which the report shows is partially the result of the Home Office’s recent immigration policies and the government target to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands. This drop in student numbers has been accompanied by a significant reduction in the number of institutions licensed to sponsor them and a compliance system which those remaining have found to be increasingly onerous and unpredictable. In a new and startling analysis, the report estimates that the direct impact of immigration policy since 2011/12 has been a loss of £1.1bn to the UK economy, and that the failure to match global growth rates in international education will have incurred an opportunity cost of £8bn by 2016/17. Alex Proudfoot, Chief Executive, Study UK said: “We already knew international education to be one of our best export earners, but this report shows both the true scale and value of the sector, as well as the great opportunity we face as a country to be the world’s top study destination. It is clear from the report’s thoughtful analysis, however, that we will not capitalise fully on this opportunity unless we work as a sector and with government to make a strong, consistent and clear offer to international students. “One of the most attractive qualities of UK education is our diversity and our flexibility in supporting students as individuals through their educational journey. This report should give the government cause for concern that this very diversity and flexibility is being threatened by an overly onerous and inflexible visa compliance regime. We strongly support the report’s recommendations for greater consistency and transparency within an immigration system which must be robust but recognise the huge contribution that international education providers and their students make to this country.”   The full report is available to read here. 
  • Study UK statement on the result of the EU referendum Study UK's Chief Executive Alex Proudfoot said: "The British people’s decision to leave the European Union will have far-reaching implications for our sector and for the rest of society. We will work with the Government and its future leadership to ensure that the UK’s world-class higher education sector is properly recognised and protected during the coming negotiations. A Great Britain outside of the EU can and must remain a dynamic and outward-looking nation, and we look forward to working with Government and our partners across the education sector to enhance further the international standing of UK HE. "The Government’s HE reforms will help to secure this position, and so our priority now must be the stability which will come from moving ahead with the current legislative programme, and securing the fit-for-purpose regulatory framework which the Higher Education & Research Bill creates and which our sector badly needs. "British higher education has been a beacon for knowledge and scholarship for hundreds of years, sustained over seismic shifts in our economic and social landscape by its excellence and its ability to evolve. The sector today, newly invigorated by innovative independent providers and rightly proud of the diversity it offers, will continue to attract talented individuals from all over the world, and we are confident that Great Britain will continue to welcome them."   NOTES About Study UK Study UK is a membership association and the national representative body for independent providers of higher education, further education and professional training, with over 130 quality-assured institutions in membership. The representative body for a sector that covers university-validated higher education, industry-specialist vocational education, university foundation courses and study abroad programmes, Study UK works with a wide range of partners and stakeholders worldwide to represent the interests of the sector and its members. For further information or interviews, please contact Joy Elliott-Bowman, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Study UK, on 020 7608 8453 or at joy.elliott-bowman@study-uk.org.
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