Open Letter to David Lammy and David Willets


GuildHE is standing up for the opportunities of students who are first to go into Higher Education and the value of an expanding HE provision as a key to economic and social prosperity.


Following its National Conference last week, it has written an open letter to David Lammy and David Willets arguing for a common approach – highlighting its concerns in the short term and emphasising its arguments about on the long term future of Higher Education.


The letter follows GuildHE’s submission to the Government-led debate on the future of higher education, in which it warns ministers to beware of losing through “benign neglect” parts of higher education that play an essential role in the sector’s “ecology”.


In the letter, GuildHE CEO Alice Hynes acknowledges that the Government has stuck to its word on fully funded growth in students numbers:
“The maintenance of the Government’s word on fully funding the student numbers that have been and are to be delivered is recognised and appreciated, especially by those who had seen the consequences of previous expansion. We have been getting used to unexpected financial news lately and understand this in-year reaction to what must be seen as real success in raising the educational attainment of our society.”


But she also calls on the Government to hold its nerve on other key commitments, including widening participation:
“We want you to hold your nerve and want you both to continue to argue for the continued expansion of opportunities, keeping the door open for those young and not so young people who are currently being encouraged to raise their attainment and their aspirations. Fair access issues accepted, this must include that greater number who are middle range achievers and for whom gaining a good degree from their regional HEI is a real achievement to be celebrated as well as a serious input to UK prosperity. There needs to be more creative thinking about how to deal with the current dilemma and these financial discrepancies without causing damage to the fundamental message about higher education improving life chances. Having encouraged people to knock on the door – surely nobody wants to turn them away and tell them to wait their turn until the economy recovers? Their efforts will be part of making that renewal.”

GuildHE’s letter to David Lammy and David Willetts can be viewed here: