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Quality Doesn't Grow on Fees: The next steps

Thursday 18-02-2016 - 13:51

It’s now a month since the Green Paper consultation deadline passed, and we thought it would be a good time to share an update about where we are with the Quality Doesn’t Grow on Fees campaign.

Firstly, I’d like to say a huge thank you to every students’ union that submitted a response to the Green Paper consultation – by all accounts it was a lot of you. We would really love to collate all the responses – mainly so we can check that Jo Johnson’s analysis of what SUs have said matches up! If you have submitted a response, and are happy to share it, please email a link or the file to us here.

BIS have received over 600 responses to the consultation, and are now sorting through them all. From our own initial shift through public responses, it is clear that there is wide-spread opposition to the link between a teaching excellence framework and increasing tuition fees.

This is a significant step in the right direction. We must continue to keep that message loud and clear.

What have we been doing & next steps?

I have continued to keep this campaign at the top of my agenda, speaking to students and officers across the country about it and making sure that at every opportunity I am speaking out against the TEF, fees, deregulation, course closures and removing universities from the FOI Act. This included working with course reps at our two conferences last week. We spent some of the day discussing what excellent education looks like and writing post cards to Jo Johnson to make sure he gets the message.

You can easily do this with your students too – and not just course reps! We have developed a short workshop discussing teaching excellence and hopefully you have all seen our bauble postcards, launched just before Christmas – if you haven’t used them yet, now is the time! You can print more off (including in Welsh) here.

The Government have said they will respond “in the Spring” – however, this could mean any time up until late June, so we will keep you posted. It is also now increasingly unclear how BIS intend to progress the plans in the consultation. There are a range of options on the table - introducing a full HE Bill; attaching different parts of the plans to other Bills or only progressing with those aspects that do not need primary legislation (this would include a TEF). We are monitoring the situation closely, and will keep you updated.

We have been stressing that any fee hike and increased marketisation of HE disproportionately affects students defining into liberation groups. We’ve produced a new short briefing on how high fees disproportionately affect women students so that you can engage liberation groups on your campuses in campaigning against the proposals too and use our workshop resources to contextualise it for your institution.

Keep universities in the FOI Act!

One proposal that we are keen to keep high on the agenda is the idea to remove universities from the Freedom of Information Act. There has already been wide coverage about this, and we are keen to keep it going. We have started a petition, and we need as many people to sign it as possible. You can sign the petition here.

This is a great chance to do some positive campaigning with your student media societies too – so drop them a line and get organising!

I will be in touch soon with any more updates, but if you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch!

Sorana Vieru

Vice President (Higher Education)

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