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HE White Paper to modernise sector and help UK stay world class

16 May 2016

Study UK, the leading association of independent providers of further and higher education, welcomes the plans for the English higher education sector outlined today in the Government's White Paper 'Success as a Knowledge Economy: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice'.

The new proposals recognise the vital role played by high-quality independent higher education providers in delivering choice and opportunity for students from all backgrounds, as well as helping to drive teaching quality across the sector. We are pleased that the Government has listened to our advice on how these challenger institutions can drive up standards in the sector, and accepted our recommendations (as set out in our Manifesto 2015) for the policies that will support this goal. The result is the most favourable set of proposals for independent higher education seen to date.

In particular, we welcome the Government's plans to facilitate entrance for new and innovative providers to the higher education sector, and override the present ability of incumbent institutions to block potential competition.

We also welcome the Government's new call for evidence looking at whether students should be able to switch courses more easily, if they are unhappy with the provision they are receiving or their circumstances change. Our Manifesto advised that easier switching between courses and institutions should motivate providers to maintain high levels of student satisfaction, as well as facilitating more flexible pathways through higher education.

Alex Proudfoot, Study UK Chief Executive, said:

"It is essential that English higher education keeps pace with the modern knowledge economy, advances in technology and changing student expectations.

"We need innovative, flexible, and industry-led provision that equips graduates with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a dynamic careers environment.

"The White Paper reforms will leave our HE sector better able to meet these needs by establishing a fair and competitive framework for new and existing providers.

"This will support innovation by providers while properly protecting the student interest, and will ensure that education continues to be of the highest standard."

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