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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.

Student complaints rise by nearly 21% in a year

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for higher education has reported almost a 21 per cent rise in the number of complaints it received from students last year – rising to their highest ever level at 2,371.

The OIA says in its annual operating report that it is the second consecutive year of significant rises in the number of complaints, which also rose by 20 per cent in 2018. It means the number of cases received by the OIA rose by 45 per cent from 2017 to 2019.

The report says that in 2019 the OIA also closed 2,185 cases - 27 per cent more than in the previous year. But it adds that while the OIA has continued to meet its key performance indicators for handling cases, "there are challenges in managing such a significant and sustained increase".

"We have continued to listen to students to better understand their needs and concerns. We have gathered more feedback than ever before from students who use our service, and used it to inform improvements to what we do," it adds.