Grant letter from John Denham to HEFCE

The Government today has issued its grant letter to HEFCE providing some positive news give the gloomy economic background.

Professor David Baker, Chair of GuildHE and Principal of University College Plymouth St Mark and St John said “We are pleased in these economically pressed times to see DIUS continuing the investment in higher education but confirming over 3% increase in funding.  We know these are challenging financial circumstances and higher educational providers have a key role to play in helping the economy to recover and regenerate – John Denham rightly therefore seeks a response from higher education based on past investment.

We are glad to see his continuing emphasis on widening participation, raising aspiration, retraining to develop the UK’s higher level skills and the value of closer links between schools and colleges and higher education. What is confusing is the parallel message which insists at the same time we rein back on our recruitment efforts and this apparent closure of the possibilities for additional student numbers in 2009/10 and 2010/11. This would appear to fly in the face of other arguments for a larger pool of well skilled and professional graduates to enable the UK to respond to global competition in a knowledge economy. “

Alice Hynes  GuildHE Chief Executive Officer said “There are serious climate change issue to be faced and continuing STEM investment is important as much via the training of teachers in those subjects as through the subject expertise supported by HEFCE. It is good to see commitment to supporting research excellence wherever it is present and the capacity to maximise the value by the encouragement of collaboration.

The higher education institutions are significant drivers for change with their physical regions as well as within subjects such as in areas such as creative industries and the land-based industries. They are key employers and also affected by access to credit and can be examples of innovative practice taking forward the green agenda.”