Universities UK Conference

Today, Thursday 12 September, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and the Universities Minister Chris Skidmore attended the Universities UK conference at Birmingham University.

The Education Secretary delivered a speech to the conference, outlining his ambition to not only protect and build on the UK’s position as a world leader in higher education. Whilst praising our institutions, he also reiterated some of the key challenges that the sector must overcome, such as ensuring that disadvantaged young people are able to access the very best universities, and getting to grips with the excessive issuing of unconditional offers.

You can read the full speech from Gavin Williamson here.

Following this, Chris Skidmore gave a speech at the conference where he emphasised his delight at being back in the post as Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation. He also outlined his ambitions for the UK to build on its reputation for cutting-edge research.

You can read Chris Skidmore’s speech here.

In advance of the conference today, Universities UK issued a press release based on a poll which shows students think the government should do more to promote the broad benefits of degrees rather than focusing on post-graduate earnings.

The poll also shows 86% of those surveyed also agreed that they have met people from diverse backgrounds and with different views to them at university, with students citing building networks, and social skills as key reasons to attend university.

Overall the research finds that 84% of students recommend university as an experience.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

The opportunity of a university education transforms lives and builds the skills of our country’s current and future workforce. That is why the Government continues to consciously invest around 50% of the overall cost of higher education.

We also know that university can be so much more than a route to increased earnings - it also represents an exciting and broadly enriching stage in a young person’s life.

In order to provide value for money for both students and taxpayers, we ensure students have all of the information available to choose the right degree for them, and our data on earnings is an invaluable tool for many prospective students.

In addition to this, today Times Higher Education has published its annual international league table of universities – with Oxford University ranking top of the world for the fourth consecutive year. 


Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

I send my congratulations to all the UK Universities that have performed so well in this year’s Times Higher Education rankings.

It is a great testimony to our staff, leaders and students that once again the UK can boast being home to some of the best universities in the word.


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