Commenting on today’s speech at Oxford Brookes University by David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, Alice Hynes, GuildHE CEO, said:
“We are pleased to see the Minister recognises the value of educating older students and younger applicants taking varied routes into higher education. We know he also recognises that there are many well-qualified and keen applicants who will be excluded given the levels of demand this year. GuildHE has long argued, to Government and to Lord Browne’s Independent Review of HE Funding, for more HE places. GuildHE agrees with the Minister’s diagnosis that the HE system has a need for funds and that a new approach to student support may help us towards a solution.
“The condition of any expansion must be that courses are delivered in an educational environment and manner which keeps up the high standards of UK provision. Institutions have acknowledged the need to improve feedback and other aspects of the student experience. But current standards and quality assurance within the sector should give Mr Willetts comfort about teaching quality. The vast majority of higher education providers – and certainly those GuildHE represents – already see teaching as central to their mission.”
Responding to Mr Willetts’ suggestion that the range of HE providers be expanded, Alice Hynes said:
“Higher education is already delivered in diverse forms and places – from more theoretically based studies degrees to vocational programmes; from small rural campuses to degrees taught in large urban FE colleges.  Institutional autonomy and diversity should allow for both independent degree awarding powers and delivery via a validating institution, with decision driven by institutional mission. This gives student choice.

“Attempts to broaden the provision of higher education should draw on existing structures and thereby get the best value for money. GuildHE argues that there should be support for innovation in teaching, including scope for some new types of providers and structures. But existing providers are ready and willing to teach more students in a variety of settings were current constraints lifted. GuildHE is delighted the Minister wants to develop a dialogue and agrees with his overarching objectives, but questions this specific exam based approach.”

For more information, please contact:

Alice Hynes
GuildHE Chief Executive
Tel: 020 7387 7711
Notes to editors

GuildHE members are among the most dynamic and fastest-growing institutions in higher education. For a list of GuildHE institutions, please visit: