The Government response to the HE Reform consultation appears to represent a mixed bag for England’s future students. The Government has made it clear that it is concerned about poor quality outcomes. This risks the danger of oversimplifying this concept, which may disadvantage certain groups and remove personal choice.
The proposal to change and reduce foundation year courses and their funding is concerning. These changes stand to restrict opportunity and choice for the most disadvantaged who access foundation courses as a means of entering higher education. Certain foundation courses, such as humanities, business and social sciences support students into a range of courses and careers, going on to support the growth of London’s economy, as well as that of the rest of the UK.
This combination of proposals gives the false promise of a quality higher education to those who could most benefit from it, yet slams the door in their face by abolishing some of the entry routes that have been proven most successful to their progression. It also ignores the heightened calls of UK businesses who are crying out for people with the communication, creativity and problem-solving skills that these courses nurture, and could well come to represent the thin edge of wedge for future limits on other disciplines and courses.
We now look forward to seeing more detail on the proposals as they are laid out before parliament.