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Independent providers hail revolution in student choice from higher education reforms

6 November 2015

The Government today publishes its Green Paper on Higher Education, ‘Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice’.

Study UK, the national representative body for independent higher and further education, welcomes the Green Paper’s exciting proposals and fully endorses higher education minister Jo Johnson’s drive to create a dynamic and innovative sector in which students have more choice, information and assurance than ever before.

Study UK’s vision is of a diverse, dynamic and world-leading post-compulsory education sector in the UK. The Study UK Manifesto 2015, launched in March this year, made a set of clear recommendations to Government on how to achieve this. Five of the six recommendations for higher education reform have now been accepted and publicly backed by Jo Johnson in speeches this year, with four addressed in detail by this Green Paper. The fifth recommendation (for improved flexibility in the student funding system) was endorsed in the Government’s productivity plan ‘Fixing the Foundations’ and will be addressed in due course.

The Green Paper sets a clear course for legislation and a new regulatory framework which enshrines real equity for providers, access for students and beneficial competition in the UK Higher Education sector. It tackles some of the key issues and critical flaws in the current system which inhibit new entry and innovation, such as the reliance of independent providers on established universities for the validation of their courses.

Study UK Chief Executive Alexander Proudfoot said:

“Thanks to the vision of this Government we now have the opportunity to put students where they belong, at the centre of our higher education system.

“Students should be in the driving seat of their own education, but they need unbiased information on the quality of teaching and graduate outcomes to help them see beyond the fog of reputation and marketing, and find the course which is right for them.

“The UK has some of the oldest and best universities in the world, but we also have a host of alternative providers driven by an independent and entrepreneurial spirit to innovate in education.

“This Green Paper is a real vote of confidence by the Government in the new ideas and energy that independent providers can bring to the higher education sector, and we can’t wait for more students than ever before to benefit from the excellent and unique programmes they offer.” 

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