Policy Update – May 2022

Sharon Witherspoon MBE FAcSS, Head of Policy, Academy of Social Sciences 

AcSS follow up response to DfE’s Augar consultation response

We are now working on the AcSS response to the Department for Education Augar response consultation on ‘higher education reform’, due on 6 May 2022.

The first part of the consultation is in fact a government statement about student loan repayments. The Institute for Fiscal Studies and others have documented the effects of the changes, and how they disproportionately affect lower-paid graduates and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The focus of our own response is on proposals for Student Number Controls (SNCs), including the suggestion that these might be set by subject of study.  We make a number of arguments about SNCs as a whole (and query the lack of a discussion about their economic justification, or how they would affect ‘levelling up’ for individuals or areas of the UK).  We then address the issue of subject-level SNCs.

We will publish an ‘outward facing’ version of our DfE consultation response on the website the week beginning Monday 9 May 2022.

Next steps for OfS policy proposals and forthcoming AcSS projects

AcSS has now posted an outward facing version of our response to the Office for Students (OfS) policy proposals for addressing quality and value for university courses,  and given various talks about what they would mean.  Our response focussed on the employment outcome measures.,

The plan is for OfS to use employability metrics from autumn 2022.  So university social science leaders will want to engage with the continuation, completion and employability evidence about each social science course within their own HEI.

We are now turning to plans for our next SAGE project, and to ideas for an AcSS taskforce on an important policy issue.  We’ll start having more news next month!

Contact us

Write to policy@acss.org.uk and let us know if you have suggestions or ideas about our message, or to suggest future topics we should explore.