2017 – HE Bill, Brexit, and Beyond

February 8, 2017

CHEAD’s Executive wishes all our members a successful 2017 and welcomes participation with our packed agenda for the coming months.

HE Restructure:

REF 2 Consultation:

CHEAD research alliance symposiumCHEAD is carrying out three regional REF 2 consultation events in preparation for our response to the REF Consultation due 17 March 2017. You can read our previous response to Lord Stern’s Research Excellence Framework review: call for evidence here. These will be roundtable discussions intended to develop consensus on key research policy points across the creative HE sector. The first was at Sheffield Institute of Arts, Thursday 2nd February 2017, hosted by Prof Paul Chamberlain of Lab4Living, Sheffield Hallam University, following on from the CHEAD Research Alliance Symposium 2: Approaches to Design Research at the same Sheffield venue in the morning with speakers including Prof Rachel Cooper & Prof Tracy Bhamra.

CHEAD REF 2 Consultation events:

The second of our REF consultation events will be on 21 February in Edinburgh and the third on 24 February in London.

Key REF2 issues include the possibility of using HESA cost centres to map research-active staff to REF units of assessment, how ‘research active’ staff are defined, how many outputs required, how impact is to be assessed at institutional level, and how a large number of submissions could be assessed without sampling, as well as numerous issues relating to portability.

Teaching & Learning:

TEF 4 Consultation:

CHEAD Open Policy WorkshopCHEAD responded to the TEF Year 2 consultation by written submission in July 2016. CHEAD’s response to the TEF Year 4 implementation consultation was two open policy labs with the DfE to feed into the design of the implementation of TEF at art and design discipline level in Year 4. The outputs from the first open policy challenge setting workshop last year have now been compiled and the second CHEAD TEF Expert Panel open policy lab prototyping workshop ran on 26 January 2017 at Woburn House with senior pedagogy experts from across the art, design and creative media HE sector. This gave valued feedback to the DfE for the implementation of TEF 4 for art, design and creative media disciplines.

CHEAD TEF 2 Workshop


prof vicky gunn

Prof Vicky Gunn

Our next Membership & Networking meeting on 24 May will focus on innovations in pedagogy and will include an interactive workshop led by Prof Vicky Gunn, Glasgow School of Art. This workshop is being offered in response to demand following Prof Gunn’s greatly appreciated presentation at our December Membership & Network meeting themed on data and metrics.

The 3 hour workshop will explore questions emerging from TEF 2 relating to metrics, mitigation statements and co-creating approaches to TEF that focus on enhancing the standing of Art an Design higher education in general.

The workshop will be repeated on March 16 as part of our 2017 CHEAD Conference in Edinburgh.

HE Bill:

We encourage our members to write to their MPs expressing any concerns regarding the shift away from a concept of Higher Education in terms of public good to a purely transactional model. These include new and far-reaching powers being granted to the OfS and to the deregulation of entry to the art and design HE sector for alternative providers.

The Higher Education and Research Bill will make extensive changes to the way in which higher education is regulated in England, establishing a new regulatory body called the Office for Students (OfS). It will also make changes to the way in which the UK’s seven research councils operate. The Bill has passed it’s 3rd reading in the Commons and through the Lords and committee stage with significant amendment being proposed.

The Government made 36 amendments to the Bill at report stage in the House of Commons including a duty for the OfS to monitor and report on the financial sustainability of higher education providers who are in receipt of, or eligible for, certain kinds of public funding. An amendment requiring at least one member of UKRI to have regional experience also passed along with some clarification of the Secretary of State’s powers in relation to directing course content. A proposal to require Parliamentary scrutiny of changes to loan repayment conditions as a response to the proposed freezing of the repayment threshhold for five years was defeated in the Commons, as was a proposal to retain means-tested maintenance grants. Proposals that UKRI should evaluate the impact of the loss of post-study visas and the impact of Brexit on staffing were also defeated. Several members pointed out that the Bill fails to take any account of the impact of Brexit on the UK HE sector.

An attempt to subject the TEF framework to parliamentary scrutiny failed and Jo Johnson also made it clear that that the public interest role of universities will not be defined and included in the Bill but “set out [in] the detailed criteria and processes for gaining university title in guidance, not in legislation” which will be subject to “consultation” rather than Parliamentary scrutiny. It’s worth noting that the House of Commons was very divided, no opposition amendments were agreed, whilst mainly only minor and technical amendments proposed by the government itself were agreed.

At the Lords’ 2nd reading, there was particularly strong opposition to moving away from the concept of higher education as a non-profit public good to “[…] deregulate the legislative arrangements governing higher education corporations, with the aim of placing them on a more equal footing with other providers of higher education incorporated under different constitutional arrangements” which the Government sees as encouraging competition but which are widely regarded elsewhere as undermining the academic autonomy and public good upon which the global reputation of our HE sector depends. Numerous amendments were suggested by the Commons and Lords to ensure the continued autonomy and critical objectivity of academic teaching, learning and research in order to protect the UK’s globally admired academic standards. The Bill passed into Committee Stage on 9 January. Report stage – further line by line examination of the Bill – is scheduled for 6 March.

THES on 2 February noted the UCAS publication of data on the 2016 entry cycle showing dramatic shifts in response to various pressures, including Brexit and the removal of student number caps — and five smaller post-1992 universities among the top 10 institutions with the largest rises. However, Viscount Younger denies that recruitment of overseas students may be capped in any way or linked to TEF.

HESA’s DLHE review publication of recommendations seeking mandate for change, scheduled for early 2017, has yet to be announced. In the meantime, you can find the synthesis of DLHE consultation responses here.

It looks as if HESA has decided to go for a centralised survey (no surprise there) but they wish to ensure that providers continue to be able to provide effective employment services to graduates, that high response rates will continue, and that HEIs will have quick access to the stats.

Consultation: Office for Students: registration fees and other fees

DfE is consulting on the registration fees that registered higher education providers will pay to the Office for Students:

  • how to calculate the registration fee that registered higher education providers (like universities and Further Education colleges offering higher education) will pay to the Office for Students (OfS)
  • examples of where the OfS could use its power to charge other fees
  • how government funding to the OfS could work

We will consult with our membership and respond on behalf of our members — deadline 14 Mar 2017.

OfS Preferred Candidate for Chair

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State for Education confirms Sir Michael Barber as the government’s preferred candidate to become the Chair of the OfS.  Michael Barber was previously education advisor to Blair and the extremely controversial Chief Education adviser at Pearson promoting the equally controversial data-driven global ‘Common Core’ agenda.

Sector Bodies Review

UUK with GuildHE have been reviewing the higher education sector agencies and the report was published 31 January.  The recommendations include that a new body should bring together the functions of the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE). The Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU), Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), Jisc and UCAS should form a strategic delivery partnership with a focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of data-related functions and services

Teaching, Learning and Skills

CHEAD Links Meeting

CHEAD supports the art, design and creative media Subject Associations through our Links Network in partnership with the HEAD Trust.

The next CHEAD/HEAD Trust Links meeting will be on Thursday, 9 February at Ravensbourne in London.

CHEAD Membership & Networks Meeting

Innovative Pedagogy: the future of art, design and creative media disciplines   The next CHEAD Membership and Networking meeting will be themed around innovation in art and design pedagogy in higher education — including new ways of teaching, fostering engagement, capturing educational outcomes, and analysing how students benefit from higher education. Register now for CHEAD Membership & Networking event, 24 May at Woburn House in London.

British Academy Flagship Skills Project: the Value of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

The British Academy is launching an exciting new project which aims to articulate, for the first time, the skills that are inherent to the study of arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS), their value to the individual, and the contribution they do make and could make in future to society. The Academy is seeking the views of a broad range of stakeholders in the education and skills sector but we have yet to clarify whether it would include practice-based skills. The project is due to report in Autumn 2017. Find more information and download consultation documents here.

GLAD Conference 2017

‘Exploring Territories: The Changing Landscape of Art & Design Higher Education’: The landscape of art and design higher education is changing rapidly in response to both external drivers and the evolution of the disciplines themselves. Changes which are taking place against the backdrop of higher education reform in the shape of the Teaching Excellence Framework and new political landscapes. Thursday 6th April 2017, Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University

CBI Skills survey

It’s worth noting that, as the sector is opened to increased competition from private providers, the CBI Skills Survey 2016, The Right Combination, finds that demand for graduate skills is rising fast. 74% of businesses expecting to grow their number of higher-skilled employees with 69% expressing concerns about finding enough highly skilled staff, although STEM graduates still have the edge in the job market. However, there’s also less good news—the biggest source of concern for businesses using external partners is the cost of training, with a balance of only 24% of respondents satisfied with the cost of university programmes.

EBacc and art education in schools

The schools Education Bill has been quietly dropped leaving limited avenues for challenges to the omission of creative subjects from EBacc. In a recent speech given by Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital and Culture, at the National Portrait Gallery, however, the Minister argued that “we need to articulate the value of cultural education in the language of life chances and exam results”. The minister went on to express passionate support for arts education complementing maths, science, English and history, suggesting that we need to move beyond a false ‘battle’ between arts and science to champion arts education in “a battle for stronger, better, well-rounded education”.

CHEAD is currently working with NSEAD and our Links network to explore how we can collaborate to ensure a healthy pipeline of qualified candidates for HE art and design course through effective campaigning, but also more practical measures to ensure adequate CPD for arts teachers. More on this soon.


CHEAD Conference

Global Connections Through Arts, Design and Media – Brexit and Beyond
Creative Arts, Design and Media have always been fields with strong international approaches to research and practice. It makes sense that they should be one of the driving forces in thinking through and making new global connections in the context of Brexit and beyond.

Register for CHEAD 2017 here

CHEAD/APDIG Brexit Manifesto for art, design and creative media in Higher Education

With Britain currently set to leave the European Union by March 2019, it is vital that the sector makes clear and articulate points to Government and other policy makers regarding how design and creative education can contribute to the economy in a post-EU climate.

CHEAD Brexit Manifesto Forum

In partnership with CHEAD, the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group (APDIG) will organise four roundtable sessions and workshops to discuss key policy areas affecting the design education sector following Brexit. The primary outcome will be for a designed and published manifesto outlining a way forward for the design and creative education sector post Brexit.
The first of these Fora will be part of CHEAD Conference 2017.

Brexit impact on higher education: Committee publishes evidence

The evidence raises a variety of issues relating to freedom of movement, including the prospects for recruiting EU students post-Brexit and the future rights of EU staff to live and work in the UK. Concerns are also raised about how to maintain the UK as an attractive destination for EU and international students, about the financial viability of universities, and the need to ensure Britain can continue to compete on the international stage as a provider of world-class university education. Read the evidence submitted to the Brexit impact on HE inquiry.


According to WonkHE commentary, there is “zero chance” of students being excluded from net migration figures. Despite the November Commons debate on study visas, efforts to amend the HE Bill, and deepening concerns about falling overseas student registrations — as well as clear evidence from polling that 80% of the public is not concerned about student visas, and not to mention the importance of overseas and EU students to the UK HE sector and to the UK’s ‘soft power’ — it nevertheless seems extremely unlikely that we will see any movement on this issue in the foreseeable future.

The EU Justice Committee published its report on Brexit: acquired rights finding that the rights are not, in fact, acquired and will have to be protected in the withdrawal agreement. The Sub-Committee recognised concerns that many EU nationals who have been in the UK for over the five years minimum requirement for permanent residency under EU citizenship rules may not be able to prove that they meet the criteria for permanent residence as an EU citizen. The report asks the Government to explain whether this consideration will influence the decision it makes on the cut-off point for deciding which EU nationals in the UK are given a permanent right to reside after Brexit. The report recommends that a mechanism be established to ensure that UK law can take account of relevant developments in EU law, and, importantly, that EU law can take account of relevant developments in UK law.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights Chair, Harriet Harman, has tabled an amendment to the Article 50 Bill to protect the residence rights of EU nationals in the UK following the Joint Committee on Human Rights report: The Human Rights Implications of Brexit. Full text of the proposed amendment here. There is currently no clarity at all on the status of employees or employers of EU and EEA nationals after article 50 negotiations are completed.

HE and Industrial Strategy

Consultation: Building our Industrial Strategy

This green paper sets out BEIS’ vision for a modern industrial strategy and some early actions BEIS has committed to take. It aims to start a genuinely open and collaborative conversation about the skills, research, infrastructure and the other things needed to drive long term growth in productivity.

CHEAD will work in our partnership with APDIG to ensure that the interests of art, design and creative media education are represented in the consultation. Submission Closes 17 Apr 2017.

BEIS’ response to the Dowling review of business-university research collaborations offers a reassuring commitment to sustaining the UK’s global research position and acknowledges the major role universities play in UK productivity. There is further reassurance in the Science and Technology Committee report that there will be commitment to prevent UKRI funding to be drawn into Innovate UK agendas (although safeguards could be a great deal stronger) and to ensure effective collaboration between UKRI and OfS. The government will work with HEFCE to deliver the McMillan review  of the international competitiveness of UK university technology transfer practice recommendations to strengthen knowledge exchange frameworks. It is very difficult, however, to get a clear idea of the proportion of research funding allocated in the Autumn spending review to be available for art, design and creative media research. Meanwhile, it has been clarified that where the regions are not specifically included the Barnett formula will apply.

CHEAD has also been very encouraged by the explicit inclusion of design work in Innovate UK’s approach to evaluating proposals but we still have some concerns about understanding of the key role of creative research disciplines and will be following these up through our partnership with APDIG.

Funding and support for the arts

Countries of Culture: Funding and support for the arts outside London report has been published and makes a number of recommendations.

CHEAD also welcomes the expansion of the museums and galleries tax relief in the Autumn Spending Review set at 20% for non-touring exhibitions and 25% for touring exhibitions capped at £500,000 per exhibition and over £10 million to support culture and heritage projects across the UK in the spending review.

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