New Higher Education and Research Bill.

‘The government is to introduce a Higher Education and Research Bill in the coming Parliament, focusing on “making it easier for new, high quality universities to set up”.

The Queen’s Speech, setting out the government’s legislative plan for the year ahead, announced the move following this week’s higher education White Paper.

The Queen said in her speech: “To ensure that more people have the opportunity to further their education, legislation will be introduced to support the establishment of new universities and to promote choice and competition across the higher education sector.”

In a government briefing document published alongside the speech, the benefits of the bill (whose provisions would be limited to England, other than those on research which would be UK-wide) are described as: “More choice for students by levelling the playing field for new, high quality providers. The Bill would make it simpler, quicker and easier for high quality new innovative and specialist institutions to set up, award degrees and compete alongside existing institutions. This would promote innovation and competition and foster better quality provision.” ‘ - Times Higher Education

‘Universities UK supports the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill’s principle of giving more people the chance to attend university. However, it warns that any new institutions must meet the UK’s rigorous high standards and uphold the UK’s reputation for academic excellence.

Referring to the Higher Education and Research Bill, announced by the Queen earlier today, Dame Julia Goodfellow, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of the University of Kent, said:

“We support the Government's aim to protect the interests of students, increase fairness and demonstrate the value of a university education.

“The university sector is an international success story in terms of the quality of teaching and research. It is important that any reforms recognise this and build on that strength.

“Established universities are not standing still and are always seeking to improve what they offer to students. Providing a high-quality, world-leading experience for all students is central to what our universities do.”

However, she stressed that it is also important that any new higher education providers “awarding their own degrees or calling themselves ‘university,’” must be held to these same high standards.’ - Politics Home


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