Response to the higher education green paper

25 January 2016

Putting students at the heart of the HE system is an important focus for the Green Paper and this fits with our own commitment. Excellent teaching typically builds on and is intimately linked with excellent research and this is central to the outstanding student experience Russell Group universities deliver.

There are already many mechanisms in place to ensure quality, equality, and improved student outcomes, but we are not complacent. Our universities are constantly seeking ways to innovate and improve their offer and welcome ideas as to how best to achieve this. Indeed a huge amount of time, effort and resources have been devoted to improving the student experience and broadening access at our universities over the last decade and more.

We welcome the intention to reduce bureaucracy and burdens on universities with more proportionate and risk-based regulation – but the challenge is whether this can be delivered in practice through the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and other Green Paper proposals.

It would also be a concern if the proposals, when put into practice, have a detrimental impact on university autonomy in terms of ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ we teach, or if changes to the research funding structure start to undermine basic research and the UK’s competitiveness over the long-term. The proposed split between teaching and research funding is a significant risk that could have unintended knock-on consequences for both teaching and research quality.

We welcome the Government’s re-stated commitment to excellent research, the dual support system and the Haldane Principle, underpinned by real-terms protection of research funding in the recent Spending Review.

The Green Paper, Nurse Review and Spending Review together herald another substantial period of disruption and change for universities with impacts to be felt over many years. On-going engagement is essential and we look forward to working with the Government in continuing to deliver excellent teaching, research, innovation and impact from the UK’s leading universities.

Response to the higher education green paper

The Russell Group's response to Fulfilling our potential: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice.

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