CGHE Seminar 147

Are big cross-sectoral changes coming? Higher and Further Education in England

  • Tuesday, 28 Jul 2020 14:00 - 15:00
  • Zoom webinar

Read the chat function transcript

View Ellen Hazelkorn’s presentation slides

View Gareth Parry’s presentation slides

Recent statements by the UK Ministers for Education and for Universities (Gavin Williamson and Michelle Donelan) indicate that the UK government would like to see less students going into Higher Education and more going to Further Education. Talk of ‘tearing up’ the nominal government target of 50 per cent participation in higher education is good headline hunting. But there is a serious policy agenda in the works. The public is being prepared for this with talk about ‘low value’ courses in higher education (meaning disciplines at specific institutions where average graduate salaries are low), claims that many graduates are not working in ‘graduate jobs’, claims that high income earning qualifications in Further Education are being neglected and this is undermining national productivity, and talk about students entering higher education under-prepared. The last has negative implications for the widening participation agenda and the use of mechanisms such as contextualised admissions to ensure more socially equal access. It is likely the government will finally unveil its response to the May 2019 Augar review, where the issues include the balance between the sectors, the funding and the public standing of both Higher Education and Further Education, student support arrangements which disadvantage Further Education students, the regulation of credentials, and inter-sectoral student transfers. There is scope in the response to Augar to take a more tertiary approach, with planning and integration across the two post-school sectors, but it is not simple. They have different modes of governance, different funding sources, and grossly unequal social resources.

Will England finally create a more coordinated tertiary system? Is there such a thing as a fixed ‘graduate job’ and can this concept be used to calibrate policy? How will the government elevate Further Education in the eyes of families and employers? If it is going to spend money, will this be new money or resources taken from the Higher Education sector? How can we devise a collaborative approach to the two sectors instead of playing them off against each other? What would be a good policy here? What are the lessons, if any, for other countries, and what can England learn from vocational and technical education, and system design, from abroad and from the rest of the UK, including Wales which has established a tertiary system approach? These issues will be explored by our expert panel, with the worldwide participant audience at the webinar.

Ellen Hazelkorn

Ellen Hazelkorn

Ellen Hazelkorn is Professor Emerita, Technological University Dublin (Ireland). She is International Co-Investigator, Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), and member of the Quality Board for Higher Education (Iceland). She is a member of the Commission on the College of the Future (UK), and the Strada/Lumina Foundation, Global Postsecondary and Workforce Initiative. Ellen was Policy Advisor, and board member, of the Higher Education Authority (2011-2017), and Vice President, Dublin Institute of Technology (1995-2008), Ireland.

Rachel Hewitt

Rachel Hewitt

Rachel joined HEPI in November 2018, as Director of Policy and Advocacy. Prior to joining HEPI, Rachel held a number of roles at the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), focused on data policy and governance and gathering requirements for information that could be met from HESA data. Rachel also lead on the review of data on graduate destinations and designed and implemented the new Graduate Outcomes survey. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Bath, where she also briefly worked with the careers department.

Gareth Parry

Gareth Parry

Gareth Parry is Professor Emeritus at the University of Sheffield. He was Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at Sheffield and Programme Leader at the Centre for Global Higher Education. He researches system change and policy reform in tertiary education. He has been a research consultant to national inquiries into higher education and further education in the UK and England. He is completing a study of higher technical education for the Greater London Authority.

CHAIR: Simon Marginson

CHAIR: Simon Marginson

Simon Marginson is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Oxford, Director of the ESRC/OFSRE Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), Joint Editor-in-Chief of Higher Education, and Lead Researcher with Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Simon’s research is focused primarily on global and international higher education, the contributions of higher education and higher education as a public and common good, and higher education and social inequality. At Oxford he leads the MSc (Education) subject on ‘Global higher education’. His recent books include Higher Education in Federal Countries, edited with Martin Carnoy, Isak Froumin and Oleg Leshukov (Sage, 2018) and High Participation Systems of Higher Education, edited with Brendan Cantwell and Anna Smolentseva (Oxford University Press, 2018).

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