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  • Making our higher education system accessible to all

    By John Widdowson – The debate around the future shape of higher education in England has often seemed to focus solely on the impact of those changes in student funding on full-time students moving directly from school to higher level study. Despite the fundamental shift in funding from direct state support towards a system made up almost entirely of student loans, data from the University and Colleges Application Service (UCAS) shows that applications for full-time courses from this group of […]

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  • Fair access

    By Tessa Stone – In 2012 UK higher education is at a crossroads in terms of access. We hold our collective breath as we await the immediate impact of the new fee structure and student number controls, whilst attempting to predict the longer term consequences of the demise of Aimhigher and Connexions, the advent of Free Schools, and proposed changes to the A level curriculum, all set against the backdrop of economic recession and Plan A(usterity). But if we are […]

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  • Mature policies for higher education access

    Mature policies for higher education access

    By Nick Pearce –     Over the last two decades, higher education has been a growth sector in almost all advanced and developing economies. On average across Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, graduation rates from university-level education have increased by a huge 21 percentage points in the past 13 years. The rate of change has been such that the UK – despite large increases in higher education enrolments – has slipped to mid-table in the OECD […]

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  • Changing student expectations

    Changing student expectations

    By Jamie O’Connell – The growing cost of higher education the world over means that the motivations for attending and the expectations of the service received are changing. In the past year two major events have happened to profoundly influence UK higher education (HE) policy, the impact of which won’t be fully felt by students until 2012. Firstly a Coalition Government, led by the Conservative party, was voted in to power in April 2010. The Conservatives have looked to aggressively […]

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  • Future trends in the information landscape

    Future trends in the information landscape

    By Alison Allden – The UK Higher Education (HE) sector relies on a complex network of information systems that underpin every aspect of academic and non-academic activity. These business information systems must support the whole learning life-cycle, including, course design, marketing, recruitment, enrolment, funding, achievement, credit transfer and alumni relations. Furthermore, there are systems that need to support the full range of research and enterprise processes within an institution. In addition to their operational role these systems produce data and […]

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  • HE in FE: renaissance or reformation?

    HE in FE: renaissance or reformation?

    ByNick Davy- In the UK, higher education (HE) courses delivered by further education (FE) providers such as colleges, are presently under the spotlight as the Coalition Government grapple with the complexities of creating a more market-orientated higher education system. Speculation about the likely contents of the delayed HE White Paper is the bread and butter conversation of many a conference lunch break. However, perhaps much of this frenzied focus and speculation about the costs and structure of undergraduate general education is […]

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  • How university hinterlands can drive progression

    How university hinterlands can drive progression

    By Sue Betts and Kate Burrell – Linking London has been working as a partnership in the permeable area between higher and further education, ‘the university and college hinterland[1]’ for five years. We have worked collaboratively with as many as thirty five London higher and further education partners, to bring ‘clarity, coherence and certainty of progression’ to vocational learners. It sounds like a relatively straightforward proposition, to afford the vocational learner a similar expectation and clarity of progression that learners […]

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  • Future access to HE: a view from an ‘Independent/State School Partnership’

    Future access to HE: a view from an ‘Independent/State School Partnership’

    By Peter Rawling – In 2007 seven schools got together to form an Independent/State School Partnership (ISSP) in the Thames Valley area. The primary aims of the partnership were to raise attainment at GCSE and to raise aspirations to stay on in education at both post-16 and post-18 levels. Three of the schools already had large Sixth Forms and considerable experience of getting students into higher education, others were developing Sixth Forms and entering the UCAS process for the first […]

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  • What should higher education be for?

    What should higher education be for?

    By Charles Seaford, Laura Stoll and Louis Coiffait – In the foreword of his recent report on UK higher education funding, Lord Browne wrote that: “the return to graduates for studying will be on average around 400%”.   In this world view higher education is an economic investment, and there is and should be pressure to take a high paying job. Indeed it would be inefficient for graduates to take lower paid jobs: the market, as manifest in salary scales, […]

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