Queen’s Speech 2016: Universities support Higher Education Bill

Posted On: 
18th May 2016

Universities UK supports the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill’s principle of giving more people the chance to attend university. However, it warns that any new institutions must meet the UK’s rigorous high standards and uphold the UK’s reputation for academic excellence.

Referring to the Higher Education and Research Bill, announced by the Queen earlier today, Dame Julia Goodfellow, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of the University of Kent, said:

“We support the Government's aim to protect the interests of students, increase fairness and demonstrate the value of a university education.

“The university sector is an international success story in terms of the quality of teaching and research. It is important that any reforms recognise this and build on that strength.

“Established universities are not standing still and are always seeking to improve what they offer to students. Providing a high-quality, world-leading experience for all students is central to what our universities do.”

However, she stressed that it is also important that any new higher education providers “awarding their own degrees or calling themselves ‘university,’” must be held to these same high standards.

“We are pleased that government has listened to the views of universities on their plans for a Teaching Excellence Framework,” Dame Julia added. “Universities will work with the government to see how this can best add value to all students, whatever their choice of subject or university.

She also welcomed the Government’s focus on improving access to higher education:

“Universities have made considerable progress in recent years to increase the numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university.

“This is ongoing work, and we recognise there is still more to do.”