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The government's announcement of a major review of the National Student Survey signals a worrying shift in the HE regulatory landscape, warns Jon Scott, higher education consultant and former Pro Vice-Chancellor (student experience) at the University of Leicester.
Statements from ministers this week have made it clear that higher education in England is facing significant reforms, re-setting its focus towards helping to plug the UK's skills gaps and rebuilding the economy. Fariba Soetan, Policy Lead for Research and Innovation at the National Centre for Universities and Business, argues that the proposed changes bring a welcome focus on graduate outcomes and supporting the careers of young people.
The Department for Education has been challenged over its "unprecented refusal" to publish details of teacher training allocations for next year.
The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) has accused the Department of throwing a "veil of secrecy" over the allocations for the 2017-18 academic year announced in September.
While individual teacher training providers have been given their own allocations along with a broad brush account of how the decisions were made, a customary breakdown of how the places have been shared out between universities and school-based teacher training routes -- including how many have received notice of funding for three years -- has so far not been forthcoming. That is despite a question on the issue tabled in the House of Lords by Baroness Donaghy.
The DFE says the information will be published "in due course", but UCET said the delay was "inexplicable".
UCET’s Executive Director James Noble-Rogers said: "At a time when many head-teachers, and indeed HMCI, have expressed concern at a crisis in teacher supply, it is outrageous that training places are being allocated under a veil of secrecy and many high calibre providers of significant numbers of newly qualified teachers to the system - both HEI and SCITTs - have no basis on which to plan for a secure future.
"The refusal to answer a clear and unambiguous question tabled in parliament is at best disrespectful to both the profession and to parliament itself. We trust that the government will be more forthcoming in response to a freedom of information request submitted by UCET to the DFE on 24 November."
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