Higher education moves into department for education.

‘Higher education has been moved into the Department for Education under …Justine Greening.

Theresa May’s announcement of a new Cabinet in her first full day as prime minister, has included the break-up of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - which fought Ms May for a more liberal regime on overseas students as she sought to reduce net migration in her time as home secretary. 

Michael Gove, the former education secretary, was widely seen as having advocated the return of higher education to the DfE from BIS.

But vice-chancellors have long feared that a move to the DfE would create a department with a super-sized budget – in which budget cuts to universities would be deemed more politically palatable than cuts to schools.’ – Times Higher Education

‘There is growing recognition that close collaboration between schools and universities, delivering mentoring and support over a sustained period, is the most effective way to encourage disadvantaged students into higher education.

If bringing schools and universities together in a government department results in a push to improve these partnerships, that could be positive. Recent studies have highlighted the difficulties that universities face in building strong relationships with schools, especially in the face of regular changes in widening participation policy.

It might also be possible to envisage more joined-up policymaking that might assist university admissions officers: think of the concerns around how the separation of AS levels and A levels might disadvantage students from the most challenging schools.

But it’s by no means certain that just putting universities and schools under one roof will lead to closer collaboration.’ – Times Higher Education blog

‘Commenting on the Department for Education taking on responsibility for colleges and skills, Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “We look forward to working with Justine Greening as the new education secretary as her department takes on the responsibility for skills. Ms Greening has a good knowledge of the further education and skills sector and is a former college student herself.

“The move to incorporate skills into the DfE must not be allowed to preface any loss of focus on technical education as embodied in the recently releases Post-16 Skills Plan.

“Links with industry that were firmly established in BIS need to be preserved and built upon in the transfer of departments. The distinctive contribution of colleges as autonomous institutions needs also to be recognised and promoted – they are not the same as big schools.”’ – FE Week

 

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