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Vice-Chancellor David Phoenix responds to Government's Higher Education Green Paper

LSBU's Vice-Chancellor comments on Government plans to improve teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice in the higher education sector
06 November 2015

London South Bank University (LSBU)'s Vice-Chancellor David Phoenix has commented on Government proposals to make a number of changes to the higher education landscape, outlined in a Green Paper published by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills today. 

The paper outlines how the Government intends to increase access and success in higher education participation for those from disadvantaged and under-represented groups. It also sets out how the Government will establish both a new Teaching Excellence Framework and also a new Office for Students, to promote the student interest and to ensure value for money. Professor Phoenix commented: 

“The Green Paper's emphasis on social mobility and the student interest is to be warmly welcomed but any new Office for Students must be independent of government. It is also important that an independent quality assurance system is retained since this has done much to secure the reputation of UK universities overseas.

“Vice-Chancellors will want to look carefully at proposals around research funding and the development of a Teaching Excellence Framework in England but the suggestion that any link with fees will depend on a successful quality assurance audit at least in the first instance, shows that Ministers are in listening mode.

“If the government is serious about delivering the Prime Minister’s ambitions to improve participation it must recognise that supporting a few more working class young people to enter Oxbridge is not the only - or even the most important - game in town.

“Modern universities have excelled in providing opportunities for students from a wide range of backgrounds and a third of students enter university when they are over 21. If the HE Green Paper succeeds in changing the terms of the social mobility debate that would be a prize worth having.”