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Government’s Review of Post-18 Education and Funding invites views

The independent panel supporting the Government’s Review of Post-18 Education and Funding invites views to inform its work.

The independent panel appointed to inform the Government’s Review of Post-18 Education and Funding has launched a call for evidence.

The panel is seeking views from all interested parties on the four areas it has been asked to consider:

  • Choice: identifying ways to help people make more effective choices between the different options available after 18, so they can make more informed decisions about their futures.
  • Value for money: looking at how students and graduates contribute to the cost of their studies, to ensure funding arrangements across post-18 education in the future are transparent and do not stop people from accessing higher education or training.
  • Access: enabling people from all backgrounds to progress and succeed in post-18 education, while also examining how disadvantaged students receive additional financial support from the government, universities and colleges.
  • Skills provision: making sure we have a post-18 education system that is providing the skills that employers need.

Chair of the review panel Philip Augar said:

This is an ambitious and wide-ranging review. We begin with no preconceptions. Our priority is to undertake a thorough examination of the evidence and to hear from a broad range of stakeholders who like us are committed to ensuring the system works for everyone.

I very much hope that many of you will contribute to our call for evidence so that the review will be able to deliver a system that incentivizes choice and competition, improves access and delivers the skills the economy needs in a way that provides value for students and taxpayers.

The call for evidence will run until Wednesday 2 May 2018. The independent panel will publish their report at an interim stage and the review will conclude in early 2019.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/call-for-evidence-opens-for-review-of-post-18-education

 

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Gender gap in university applications at record high

Gender gap in university applications at record high, Ucas figures show. Females students are a third more likely to apply to degree courses than their male peers, new data from the university admissions body reveals.

The gap between females and males applying for university reaches record high, new figures reveal.

In England, young women are now 36 per cent more likely to apply to degree courses than young men – a rise of 1 percentage point on last year, official Ucas data reveals.

There were 29,100 more undergraduate applications from 18-year-old women in England compared to their male peers, figures for 2018 show.

Following last month’s Ucas deadline, the total number of people applying to study full-time at a UK institution dropped slightly by 0.9 per cent, compared with the same point last year, standing at 559,000 applicants.

Ucas said that the drop should be viewed in light of a 2.5 per cent decline in the number of 18-year-olds in the UK, and added that figures show that school leavers are more likely than ever to apply.

But across the country, university application rates among 18-year-olds varied. The North East, Yorkshire and Humber and the East of England all experienced falls for the first time in five years.

And the most advantaged 18-year-olds in the UK are still 2.3 times more likely to apply to university than their disadvantaged peers, the data shows.

Today’s figures also revealed a further decline in the number of applications from older students  – with the first-time application rate for 19-year-olds in England dropping once again to 8 per cent.

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “While the strong demand from 18-year-olds is positive, the continuing drop in mature applicants must be addressed by government if we are going to meet future skills needs.”

He added: “If the country is to thrive, particularly in the light of Brexit, it needs more, not fewer, skilled graduates.”

More here

Eleanor Busby, Education Correspondent, Independent
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Number of EU students applying to UK universities surges

More EU students have applied to study at UK universities this year despite industry-wide fears that the Brexit vote would make it less appealing, new Ucas figures show.

The number of EU and international students applying for university places in the UK has increased to more than 100,000 for the first time – a rise of nearly 8 per cent on last year, data reveals.

The weaker pound and the government’s commitment to help fund places has helped to boost interest among non-UK students this year following the Brexit vote, the university admissions body has said.

Today’s figures show that the number of EU applicants increased by 3.4 per cent to 43,510, meanwhile the number of international applicants rose by 11.1 per cent to 58,450 – the highest on record.

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Drive to raise education standards in areas most in need

New Education Secretary unveils plans to drive up standards by supporting underperforming schools and increase opportunities in areas most in need.

Raising education standards by supporting underperforming schools and offering young people more opportunities to make the best of their lives are at the heart of a package of measures announced today by Education Secretary Damian Hinds.

Aimed particularly at disadvantaged areas across the country, today’s moves include:

  • More than £45million awarded to successful multi-academy trusts to help tackle underperformance and improve schools in areas that lack capacity;
  • 75 projects sharing £25million to provide more support for schools, many of which will increase pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills; and
  • The publication of the next six Opportunity Area plans in Bradford, Doncaster, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich and Stoke-on-Trent.

The announcement builds on the government’s record of 1.9million more children now in good or outstanding schools than in 2010, England’s pupils now amongst the world’s best readers and GCSE and A levels reformed to match the best education systems in the world.

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Engineering – Govt campaign to inspire the next generation

The Year of Engineering will see government and industry tackle a major skills gap and inspire the engineers of tomorrow.

A pioneering campaign to transform the way young people see engineering and boost numbers entering the profession has been launched today (15 January 2018).

Ministers from across government are joining forces with engineers, industry experts and hundreds of businesses to change perceptions around engineering – and highlight the scale of opportunity that careers in the industry hold for young people in the UK.

2018 is officially the Year of Engineering and will see a national drive in all corners of the country to inspire the young people who will shape our future.

Engineering is one of the most productive sectors in the UK, but a shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates every year is damaging growth. There is also widespread misunderstanding of engineering among young people and their parents and a lack of diversity in the sector – the workforce is 91% male and 94% white.

The new campaign is aimed at filling those gaps and changing misconceptions, and will see government and around 1,000 partners deliver a million inspiring experiences of engineering for young people, parents and teachers.

Activities will include:

  • a Siemens See Women roadshow aimed at inspiring women, including more black, Asian and minority ethnic girls, into pursuing STEM careers
  • a brand new children’s book on engineering from Usborne
  • the Science Museum and London Transport Museum will be capturing children’s imaginations with interactive exhibitions
  • schools will get the chance to go behind the scenes at Airbus to meet engineers working on the Mars Rover
  • Thales in the UK will be inspiring inventors of the future with robot clubs in primary schools
  • Sir James Dyson, through the Dyson Institute, the James Dyson Foundation and the James Dyson Award, will continue to invest in inspiring young engineers by providing opportunities to apply engineering principles to projects that solve real world problems

More here

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New universities regulator comes into force

The Office for Students legally comes into force to hold universities to account and promote students interests.

The Office for Students (OfS), the new regulator designed to champion the interests of students, promote choice and help to ensure that students are receiving a good deal for their investment in higher education, has legally come into force today (1 January).

With the legal establishment of the OfS, Education Secretary Justine Greening has also announced the final six appointments to the OfS’ 15-strong Board.

These appointments will not only reflect the diverse needs of the HE sector but will also make sure the interests of employers and students are represented by the new body, which will also hold universities to account over issues such as vice chancellor pay and free speech.

The OfS will replace HEFCE as the main regulator of higher education, and it will hold universities to account for the quality of teaching they provide.

It marks a major milestone in the implementation of the Higher Education and Research Act (2017), and the OfS will have an explicit legal duty to promote choice and consider the student, employer and taxpayer interests.

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Government launches consultation on accelerated degrees

Students could be left over £25,000 better off by choosing an accelerated degree instead of a traditional three-year course, according to proposals set out today in a new government consultation.

Accelerated degrees offer the same qualifications and are quality-assured in the same way as a standard degree, but delivered over a shorter, usually two-year timespan. This means when most students are completing their third year of study, an accelerated degree student will be starting work and getting a salary.

The proposals, announced today (10 December), include a £5,500 (20 per cent) saving for students in total tuition costs compared to a standard three-year course. When added to the average salary of £19,000 in the first year after graduating, it means a potential £25,000 benefit overall.

For the taxpayer, it means significantly lower tuition loan outlay, higher rates of repayment and therefore a lower cost to the public purse of higher education. A higher proportion of students on accelerated degrees will also repay their loans in full.

Although the proposals allow institutions to charge up to 20 per cent more each year for accelerated degrees, the overall tuition fee cost of the degree to the student is 20 per cent less than the same degree over three years.

Providers already offering accelerated degrees report on more engaged students, positive employer feedback and the opportunity to attract a wider pool of applicants, including mature students who often want to retrain and enter the workplace more quickly.

New fee arrangements for these degrees are set to be in place by September 2019, subject to parliamentary approval.

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Engineers

Landmark campaign to inspire next generation of engineers

The Year of Engineering will see government and industry offer young people across the UK a million direct experiences of engineering in a major push to tackle skills gap.

The government has announced that it will work with hundreds of industry partners to make 2018 the Year of Engineering and has pledged to work with them to offer a million direct and inspiring experiences of engineering to young people throughout the year.

Teaming up with a diverse range of partners – covering everything from technology, healthcare and food production to energy, culture and transport – the campaign aims to galvanise industry, MPs, parents and teachers in a national push to inspire the next generation of engineers.

Activities will include large-sale outreach programmes, such as a £1 million investment from Shell in the interactive Tomorrow’s Engineers Energy Quest programme for thousands of schoolchildren, a children’s book on engineering from publisher Usborne, and behind the scenes tours for families. The campaign will also highlight the role that individuals can play – from parents helping children with their maths homework or enrolling them in a coding club, to engineers from all backgrounds sharing their experience and advice in schools or via social media.

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Increasing uptake of computer science

The growing digital economy in the UK continues to require more high-quality computer science graduates, a need that will not be met without more coming through schools. So what might schools do to encourage take-up? Niel McLean from BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, shares some recommendations

This summer’s GCSE results provided an opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made in introducing computing into the curriculum.

Firstly the good news: since the introduction of the new curriculum, the numbers taking GCSE Computer Science have increased each year with over 67 000 or roughly 12 per cent of candidates taking the exam this summer and the majority of secondary schools entering candidates.

However, there are causes for concern.

Firstly, the scale of the year on year increases since 2013 have not been repeated in 2017, rising by just 10 per cent this year, rather than doubling as in previous years. Secondly, the decrease in numbers taking GCSE ICT, which ends this year, have not been compensated for by the increase in Computer Science entries. Thirdly, the proportion of girls taking Computer Science is far too low.

This matters for two reasons. The growing digital economy in the UK continues to require more high-quality computer science graduates, a need that will not be met without more coming through schools.

More importantly, significant numbers, especially girls, are missing out on the great careers available to them and the opportunities to take an active part in shaping the digital world rather than being shaped by it. If we are to open up these opportunities to more young people, it’s essential to work together to increase the take up of Computer science at GCSE. So what might schools do?

More here

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