Quite a spread of developments to take in this week.
A large chunk of it concerns higher education. This includes: the latest in the DfE commissioned series on graduate earnings; the first batch of data from UCAS summarising entry trends and data for university entry this year; a new report and consultation on degree classification; a report from the Reform think tank on progress or lack of in widening participation; a provider survey from the body representing independent providers; a call for an employer-based ‘graduate levy;’ and an interesting global collection of ‘what I would do if I was in charge of HE’ views reported in the Times Higher. Quite a spread and further evidence of the extent of the debate around UK HE at present, and that’s before any mention of Brexit.
Elsewhere this week we’ve had consultation launched on funding T level delivery, and details on the new Apprenticeship Provider Register with the Register due to open for new business in ten days’ time while many apprenticeships let alone apprentices themselves received recognition at this week’s annual National Apprenticeship Awards. And for schools, independent schools have been in Conference, Ofqual has published a bunch of reports on the quality of marking and the DfE has issued some safety notices on a number of areas of potential interest to schools.
A lot happening as ever and all listed below but given the mass of activity around it, this week’s mention goes to HE and in particular to two reports which have generated a lot of headlines and discussion.
First the latest report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IfS) on graduate early-career earnings. This is part of a more lengthy series of studies but remains prominent partly because of the current debate around the cost-benefit ratio of going to university and partly because salary returns are becoming part of the metrics being used by government to assess performance. As many pointed out university brings many more benefits than projected salary returns and anyway as David Kernohan powerfully explained in an article on Wonkhe, comparing graduate returns in different parts of the country doesn’t get you very far as salary levels can be very different. Either way the report allowed the Minister to claim the university experience was worth it especially for females although it contained some important caveats.
Second, this year’s consignment of data and analysis from UCAS on university entry 2018. As in recent years, UCAS in releasing this in batches over the next few weeks with provider-level data due in January 2019. The first batch, which came out this week, concentrates on offers and acceptances but includes for the first time, details on the growing issue of unconditional offers which saw the Education Secretary out early to, in the words of the FT, ‘slam the rise in the practice.’