After extensive discussion with the London Higher membership, representing the full diversity of London HE, London Higher have today [Thursday 17 March 2022] responded to three consultations launched by the Office for Students (OfS) on 20 January 2022.
The consultations cover regulating Student Outcomes, Teaching Excellence framework (TEF) and Constructing Student Outcome and Experience Indicators for use in OfS regulation.
In our responses we have highlighted our concerns around the proposals risking undermining the final objective of ‘maintaining public confidence in the performance of individual providers and the higher education sector in England more generally.’
The English higher education sector is currently considered world leading and higher education is a major export for the UK government, with London’s higher education sector playing both a particularly important role in attracting talent from across the globe and educating more domestic students from their ‘home’ region than anywhere else in England. The consistent rhetoric around low value courses and the high profile focus on the minority of courses and providers where provision is deemed to be falling below particular standards risks unduly damaging public confidence both within England and internationally.
We also raised concerns around the timing for the implementation of the proposals, and we urge the regulator to use the ensure that the timeline for implementation for these proposals is adequate to maximise clarity for providers and reduce regulatory burden. This is of particular importance given the ongoing turmoil of Covid-19 recovery and current world events, as well as the number of ongoing consultations across the sector, and the capacity of institutions, particularly small specialist providers, of which there are many in London.