Early start today with a meeting of the University Executive Board and all Heads of Department, mainly talking about the White Paper and its implications. Of course, it's been massively delayed, and subject to much debate I imagine in the coalition. Key outcomes are the opening up of HE to FE Colleges and alternative suppliers and a more risk based approach to quality assurance. Freeing up 85,000 student numbers from current controls in 2012/13 is a interesting one - what will it do for widening participation? AAB results are strongly correlated with social class. From 2013/14 there'll be sponsorship by employers and charities of off quota places, and its expected that the core student numbers of institutions will reduce year on year. Lots of stuff about improved information for students through the Key Information Set including time spent on different teaching activities, assessment methods used and data on graduate salaries.
What is interesting is what's not in it. No vision for the wider purpose of Universities - it's very operational. Nothing on research, plans for PG support or internationalisation. The Times Higher has a good leader article on it this week making many of these points. We're in a consultation period at the moment - will be interesting to see if anything changes at the end of it.
Later today I had a catch up with the Internal Auditors on a review of Business Continuity they've just completed - lots of recommenadtions but nothing too controversial, and most of them are already in hand.