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Study UK publishes response to HE Green Paper

28 January 2016

Study UK has published its response to the BIS higher education green paper 'Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice’.

Our response calls for TEF to serve as a universal framework which allows students for the first time to evaluate all English higher education providers on their ability to deliver an excellent student experience with high-quality teaching. It also proposes that higher TEF levels focus on qualitative awards to allow better differentiation between providers and their particular areas of excellence.

We welcome a shake-up of the HE regulatory architecture, particularly in the area of institutional and student data which should be radically overhauled to reduce burden, rationalise processes and better support principles of diversity, innovation and access. The 'single route' should enforce a licence to operate as a higher education provider, requiring baseline assurances from all providers around institutional governance, quality of provision and student protection.

We call for an efficient and transparent process of attaining Degree Awarding Powers to be complemented by a new Central Validation Service in order to prevent a monopoly in higher education qualifications from acting as a barrier to the success of new and independent providers.

The new Office for Students should make reducing the complexity, cost and burden of regulation a top priority. It should also protect the independence and consistency of UK-wide quality assurance by placing a reformed QAA at the heart of a streamlined external scrutiny process for the purposes of licensing, validation, designation and quality assessment.

Introducing the response, Alexander Proudfoot, Study UK Chief Executive, writes:

"We welcome the proposals within this Green Paper, as will independent providers across the country. Together they represent the most progressive set of policies for higher education in decades.

"With detailed planning and careful implementation, they promise to leverage the twin forces of student choice and beneficial competition to bring about Study UK’s vision of a diverse and dynamic higher education sector which is world-leading in its quality and its innovation. The more far-reaching legislative changes in particular would bring a greater degree of rigour, cohesion and transparency to the regulatory framework, which is in much need of attention to complete the unfinished business of the 2011 White Paper.

"We look forward to participating actively in the further policy development, technical consultations and implementation planning to follow, so as to ensure that these significant proposals are delivered effectively to the lasting benefit of students and the UK as a whole."

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