Westminster Higher Education Forum

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The future of degree courses in Higher Education Institutions - student decisions and choices, national economic needs, HEI capacity and finances, and implications for the academic disciplines

Morning, Monday, 7th November 2022


This conference looks at the future for funding, provision and regulation of higher education courses.


With the Government consulting on major reforms to higher education funding and policy in response to the Post-18 Education and Funding Review, it will be an opportunity for stakeholders and policymakers to discuss implications for HEIs, students, employers and the UK economy.


We are very pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with Anne Spinali, Director for HE Reform and Funding, Department for Education; as well as a senior speaker confirmed from UCAS.


Areas for discussion include:

  • supply and demand - the current state of the market for university courses - trends and student preferences - identifying areas for growth
  • the skills pipeline - national requirements now and into the future - assessing what should be the contribution of the higher education system and how it can be achieved
  • employability - which courses and qualifications do employers value - how could universities better equip graduates for the job market of the future - how can employer engagement be improved
  • course designations - assessing alternative ways of judging positive outcomes for students, economy and society: economic value - societal contribution - personal satisfaction
  • student number controls - suitability of SNCs as a method for encouraging and limiting growth in specific subjects - discussion on the level at which caps are set and designed
  • students - the impact on choice of possible controls, caps and incentives - the effect on the attractiveness of higher education and its alternatives in light of possible restrictions
  • social mobility - what should be the sector’s role as a driver of social mobility - implications for disadvantaged students of minimum eligibility requirements and number controls
  • issues for HEIs:
    • the position and autonomy of the sector in the context of number controls proposals - the future of the sector’s relationship with government and regulators
    • provider and sector finances following an introduction of number controls or caps - issues with growing certain subjects
    • maintaining financial stability following COVID and the changes to tuition fees - options for government funding to allow growth in high-cost provision
  • resources - the practicalities and process of building capacity in high-cost courses - training and recruiting new staff - facilities and equipment - timelines for delivery
  • quality and outcomes:
    • maintaining and improving standards of provision as courses grow in size 
    • engaging with employers to provide industrial placements, improve curriculum design and deliver on student outcomes


Keynote Speaker

Anne Spinali

Director for HE Reform and Funding, Department for Education

Keynote Speakers

Senior speaker confirmed from UCAS

Anne Spinali

Director for HE Reform and Funding, Department for Education

Chair

Lord Lucas

Speakers

Caitroina McCusker

Responsible Growth Lead, PwC UK

Sarah Cowan

Head of Policy, Higher Education and Skills, The British Academy

Professor Kiran Trehan

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships and Engagement, University of York

Alexander Proudfoot

Chief Executive, Independent HE

Clare Riley

Education Skills Lead, Microsoft UK

Professor Helena Gillespie

Professor of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, and Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Student Inclusion, University of East Anglia