Emma Hardy MP, Labour’s Shadow Further Education and Universities Minister

The @UKLabour Party has called for the Government to meet seven key tests to support UK universities, guarantee students get the support they need to succeed and ensure that a degree course is available to anyone with the aspirations to study one: whatever their background or circumstances and wherever they live.

Emma Hardy MP, Labour’s Shadow Further Education and Universities Minister, spoke to students ahead of the campaign launch today to hear the challenges they have been facing in light of the pandemic crisis, and how they can be supported better.

Labour’s 7 Key Tests for Higher Education are as follows:

  1. No university should be allowed to go bust and there must be equality of opportunity for all in every region
  2. Reduce barriers to learning
  3. Protect and enhance domestic and international research
  4. Enhance a co-operative and co-ordinated Higher Education sector across the whole of the UK
  5. Prevent further financial hardship for current students
  6. Provide comprehensive support for 2020 final year students
  7. Promote universities as civic institutions

These seven tests are designed to create a comprehensive solution to ensure universities and students are safeguarded from the economic impact of this crisis and challenges that they face.

Many UK universities will suffer significant financial losses linked to the pandemic including a fall in international student numbers, and students graduating in 2020 will also face a difficult future as the jobs sector takes a hit, yet the support from Government has been lacking. Covid-19 has sent shockwaves through the higher education sector with potential losses of £6 billion and 30,000 direct redundancies, with a further 30,000 in the local economies

Emma Hardy, Shadow Further Education and Universities Minister, said:

“No country has ever increased economic activity through reducing access to higher education. This Government cannot allow any university to fail and it must ensure everyone in every region with the desire to learn has access to a university.

“By passing these 7 key tests the government will show commitment to our higher education sector, to our young people, and to our regional economies. Meeting these tests will help guarantee a fairer society and allow aspiration to flourish.

“I have written to the Secretary of State today to ask him to show support for every person who aspires to attend university and to protect the equality of opportunity for everyone in every region as part of Labour’s ‘7 Key Higher Education Tests’ campaign.’’

Letter from Emma Hardy to Secretary of State for Education:

Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP 

Secretary of State for Education 

Department for Education 

Sanctuary Buildings 

Great Smith Street 

London 

SW1P 3BT

Dear Secretary of State, 

A thriving higher education sector is vital to help our country build back better from the Covid-19 crisis.

It is a matter for concern then, that your recent public comments have thrown doubt on your commitment to the sector and the benefits it brings to all parts of society and that the Higher Education Restructuring Regime plans begin by explicitly stating a willingness on behalf of yourself to see individual universities fail.

Advertisement

Higher education provides the highly trained people our country needs to succeed: nurses, doctors and health and social care workers for the NHS; teachers; researchers; engineers; linguists; chemists; artists; musicians; mathematicians; I am sure you could make your own additions to this far from exhaustive list. No country has ever increased its prosperity by sending fewer people to university.

The Labour Party is setting seven tests for the Government to meet that will ensure all our country’s universities remain secure and ready for the challenges ahead. They will guarantee all those attending get the support they need to succeed and that a degree course is available to anyone with the aspirations to study one: whatever their background or circumstances and wherever they live.

1.     No university should be allowed to go bust and there must be equality of opportunity for all in every region.

The loss of any individual university will create dead zones for local access to higher education and no university should be allowed to go bust. Everyone everywhere has the right to the education and training they need. Many local economies rely on the contributions of their university and 30,000 associated jobs are under threat.

2.     Reduce barriers to learning.

Widening Participation activities ground to a halt under Covid-19, putting access for a whole cohort at risk. BAME students have a consistently poorer experience of university. Part-time student numbers have been dramatically declining. These issues need urgently addressing.

3.     Protect and enhance domestic and international research.

International student fees cross subsidise research to the tune of £4.2 billion. Their numbers are set to take a big hit. The Government looks set to reject participation in Horizon Europe and the funding and international partnerships it brings with no proposals to make good the losses. The UK is a research powerhouse, but that position is now at risk.

4.     Enhance a co-operative and co-ordinated Higher Education sector across the whole of the UK.

Government must take responsibility for the sector as a whole and ensure any future decisions take into consideration all stakeholders and the different circumstances across the entire UK. Its use of Longitudinal Educational Outcomes (LEO) data focussing on post-graduate salaries discriminates against some regions and presents a skewed picture of the true worth of those universities to their communities.

5.     Prevent further financial hardship for current students No student should get into further debt because of Covid19.

The government has piled enough on their shoulders. It should guarantee university hardship funds are sufficiently resourced and accessible to all who need them.

6.     Provide comprehensive support for 2020 final year students.

The jobs market they enter will be severely depressed. They cannot be left to flounder. Proposals from the sector include a system of six-month long paid internships at the national living wage which would allow graduates to gain invaluable experience. So far the government has offered nothing. 

 

7.     Promote universities as civic institutions.

Universities have a vital community and development role to play in helping to build back better. Many are already actively engaged in the task. Government must insist every institution develop a clear strategy, with the active participation of local partners, aimed at meeting the needs and opportunities of their area.

The future prosperity and safety of our nation depends on the education and skills of its people. True equality of opportunity is the cornerstone of a fair society. I believe that meeting these tests will help guarantee that future and allow aspiration to flourish.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Emma Hardy.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Advertisers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page