The Higher Education Funding Council for England asked for comment on its initial consideration of the principles and features that should inform its revision to the teaching funding methodology. GuildHE has seen this as a process inseparable from the considerations of the Browne Review on Funding and Student Finance.
The broad thrust of the HEFCE proposals received GuildHE support but its members queried aspects of the idea of a strategic margin, the absence of certain principles present in previous funding methods, and any uncritical borrowing of metrics. Alice Hynes, Chief Executive of GuildHE, commented:
“GuildHE members understood the need for HEFCE to review its teaching funding method, and to co-ordinate HEFCE’s priorities within a simple, responsive and flexible method. However, they cautioned against a ‘one size fits all’ solution which would not support the diversity of institutions that provide public benefit.
“Public funding must support the delivery of HE across a wide range of locations, and in institutions with diverse missions. The method for distributing public money must be underpinned by principles of fair funding that supports quality teaching in all institutions and the student experience irrespective of how and where students choose to study. GuildHE has argued that the principles of fairness and commitment to diversity should be included among HEFCE’s principles for funding teaching. We want to see explicit that which has been more implicit, and we certainly do not want to lose valued principles from previous incarnations of the funding method.
“GuildHE sees institutional autonomy as a key factor for the future success not only of the funding methodology, but the effective higher education such funds will purchase. There is a fundamental place for the block grant in funding delivery, protecting teaching integrity and for the consideration of the costs and needs of different subjects. HEFCE plays an essential role in supporting institutions to be responsive to change in public priorities, including those driven by the economic growth agenda. The revised principles HEFCE proposes should support that role. Teaching and learning can legitimately be delivered in diverse ways, and institutions are best placed to understand, determine and balance those considerations across their activities.
"We expect HEFCE’s strategic margin to be small in proportion to the core teaching grant, which efficiently delivers the bulk of HEFCE’s funding to institutions at present. A larger strategic margin would also be a disproportionate burden to monitor, which would run counter to current demands for a reduction in red tape.”
For more information, please contact:
Alice Hynes, Chief Executive Officer, GuildHE
Tel: 020 7387 7711
Notes to editors
1. GuildHE is a recognised representative organisation within the higher education sector.
2. For information on the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), consultation see: https://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2010/10_10/
3.GuildHE members are among the most dynamic and fastest-growing institutions in higher education. For a list of GuildHE institutions, please click here