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Moving the HE landscape’s quality contours … again

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.

Government plans mark a seismic shift in higher education policy

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.

UK universities affirm 'deep commitment' to high quality TNE

Universities UK and GuildHE have commissioned the Quality Assurance Agency to develop a new approach to reviewing and enhancing the quality of UK TNE. QAA will consult on a new review method later this year and will launch a programme of in-country enhancement activity in 2021.

Cassandra calling out higher education

After a week of largely disappointing news for UK higher education, Nicola Owen, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) at Lancaster University, fears that gloomy forecasts for the future of the sector may prove to be uncomfortably accurate.

HESA releases details on the future of student data

The Higher Education Statistics Agency has published the specification of student data to be returned by higher education providers from the 2019/20 academic year. The release represents the biggest change to the way student data is collected since the Cheltenham agency’s first data collection in 1994.

The Data Futures programme, launched with a wide-ranging consultation in 2015, is intended to update the way that HE providers and data collectors work with data. The new specification includes the key concepts and glossary of terms that will re-define how the higher education sector talks about student data.

The specification also sets out the details of what, when, and how data will have to be submitted to HESA, giving submitters and users of HESA data a chance to assess the impact of the changes. It combines three previous HESA data returns into one, and will support in-year data collection rather than collecting all data at the end of the academic year. 

Fourteen universities, colleges and alternative providers have volunteered to take part in an Alpha pilot test of the HESA Data Platform, starting in April 2018. To ease the impact of changes on HE providers HESA are planning a phased transition to the new system with more details to be announced on 2 November.

Rob Phillpotts, Programme Director of Data Futures said: “The Data Futures programme marks a major change in the way providers and collectors work with data. I’m delighted to announce the launch of version 1.0.0 of the HESA Student Record coding manual for 2019/20 academic year.

“We appreciate the magnitude of the task ahead and all the hard work to date in shaping and challenging the design of the new data specification. We have been consulting across the sector to develop our blue-print for in-year data collection and we’re grateful for the significant engagement of HE providers and data users. 

“I look forward to working further with HE providers on the next steps of the Data Futures programme as we continue to develop the HESA Data Platform.”

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