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LSBU Vice-Chancellor sets out six point challenge at Conservative Conference

Professor Dave Phoenix, Chair of million+ and Vice-Chancellor of LSBU sets out challenge to tackle 'old-fashioned prejudice' about the university system
06 October 2015

In a speech delivered today (6 October) at a million+ and NUS fringe at the Conservative Party Conference 2015 in Manchester, Professor Dave Phoenix - Chair of million+ and Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University (LSBU) - will set out a six-point challenge to tackle 'old-fashioned prejudice' about the university system which he says is holding back Britain. 

Professor Phoenix will be sharing the platform with Jo Johnson MP, Minister for Universities and Science, NUS President Megan Dunn, and Ben Howlett MP. The fringe event 'Does Britain only love some universities' is being hosted with Conservative Home

Professor Phoenix said: “The Prime Ministers’ commitment to double the number of people going to university from communities where there has been least participation to date is important.

“But this commitment can only be fulfilled by valuing all of Britain’s universities and challenging the out-dated idea that you can only get on in today’s Britain it you study at a small handful of institutions. This attitude is based on old-fashioned prejudice which is bad for Britain, bad for business, and wastes the talent of thousands of graduates.

“We don't hear anything like enough in the media and in Parliament about modern universities - which should be much more highly valued and which have often been ahead of the curve. These were the first universities to deliver business degrees and programmes in many of the newer creative industries which now account for one in 12 jobs in the UK. They deliver health and teacher education, have long-standing relationships with employers, and are global players with campuses and transnational partnerships with universities throughout the world.

“This government now has a wonderful opportunity to counter myths and out-of-date prejudices about our universities. Here’s our six-point challenge:

  • Start by challenging those employers who still limit graduate recruitment to a handful of universities
  • Boost regional growth and support small businesses by promoting a new stream of funding for translational research
  • Help small businesses and people who are already working to retrain with a scholarship tax credit for employers and more flexible funding to support those who want to study part-time
  • Include universities from across the sector in trade delegations and ensure that your Home Office colleagues don't impose even more restrictions on visas for international students
  • Work with your colleagues in Education to change school performance measures which judge schools on the number of students who apply to the 30 most selective universities - they are misleading and will undervalue the government's efforts to widen access
  • support productivity by ensuring that universities and colleges can work collaboratively rather than in competition to improve professional, technical and vocational education”