Responding to the announcement by David Willetts MP on Conservative plans to fund 10,000 additional student places, Professor Ruth Farwell, Chair of the higher education representative body GuildHE and Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University, said:


“GuildHE is pleased that the Conservative Party is prepared to consider funding further additional higher education undergraduate places in 2010. This is a very important signal to the sector.


“While this is good news, it is not yet a cause for wild celebration. First of all we need to have confirmed that the 10,000 is over and above the additional numbers that the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has announced will be available for 2010 – and that these are not already committed to existing initiatives.


“Also we are concerned that the range of subjects which can take in additional numbers should be as broad as possible, so that a wide range of aspiring students can benefit. Constraining expansion to those subjects that are deemed strategic or vulnerable is too narrow.


“We welcome the recent announcement from HEFCE which opens up the possibility of health related areas being included in the subjects eligible for additional student numbers already announced by the Government. We recommend that the Conservatives plan should, in addition, embrace other important disciplines such as food technology and those feeding into the creative industries.


“GuildHE looks forward to discussing with David Willetts our ideas for maintaining diversity in higher education to the benefit of the UK economy.”


For more information, please contact:


Professor Ruth Farwell

GuildHE Chair

Tel:  01494 605113



Alice Hynes

GuildHE Chief Executive

Tel: 0207 387 7711



Tony Tysome


Media FHE

Tel: 01629 650910