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The Office for Students: NUS Membership Event

On the 9 October Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of the Office for Students will be running a session for our membership. This is a chance for you to give your thoughts on how the OfS keeps the student movement at the centre of their work.

To sign up please email Sharon Natt by 12 noon Friday 6 October (Sharon.Natt@nus.org.uk). There are limited places and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. We are interested in staff, students and Sabbs, please let us know in your email how many attendees you would like. We are limiting to 3 for each SU.

Nicola is especially interested in hearing your thoughts on:

  • How best to effectively engage with students – ensuring that this engagement is genuine, tangible and effective.
  • How to ensure the OfS keeps an unflinching focus on students.
  • The approach OfS should take when regulating higher education providers.
  • What the OfS’ priorities should be – in the short, medium and long term.
  • What you think success would look like in 3-5 years’ time?

The Agenda

11.30am Arrival/refreshments/ briefing

12.30pm

  • 15 minute talk on the work of The Office for Students (OfS)
  • 45 minute Q&A with Nicola Dandridge

1.30pm

  • Lunch (provided)

2pm

  • Press conference – there will be an opportunity for attendees to sit in.

2.30pm

  • NUS Policy Update

3.30pm  - Event Close

What is the Office for Students?

The Office for Students (OfS) is a new public body, established in law by the Higher Education and Research Act. Its role will be to regulate the higher education sector, promoting high quality teaching, choice and value for money for all students.

The OfS will become fully operational in April 2018. It is a new organisation, with new duties and responsibilities. Two organisations, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) will close when the OfS becomes fully operational. HEFCE and OFFA staff will transfer to the new OfS.

Members of the OfS leadership have now been appointed – Sir Michael Barber as Chair and myself as Chief Executive. Other Board members include the incoming Director of Fair Access and Participation, Chris Millward. Further Board appointments, including a member with specific experience in representing or promoting the interests of students, will be announced in the coming weeks.  

What are its priorities?

  • The OfS’ mission, vision and strategy are being developed in the coming months. However, we know that the OfS will regulate higher education in the interest of students, to ensure high quality teaching and student support; fair access and participation; value for money; informed choice; and a diversity of options for students to suit their different needs.
  • In establishing the OfS, we are setting out our five immediate priorities, underpinned by an ongoing programme of engagement with students. These are:
    • Effective regulation: creating a new regulatory framework which prioritises the student interest. Our approach to regulation will recognise the uniqueness of the higher education sector. We will work collaboratively and constructively with providers, but won’t flinch to use our powers or take actions to protect students where necessary.
    • Access, success and participation: the focus on fair access will be integral to everything the OfS does. This includes ensuring that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are supported to succeed in their studies and are well prepared for life after graduation.
    • Inspiring teaching: recognising that excellent teaching is crucial for successful outcomes. We will look to build on the successes of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), refining it where necessary as well as looking at how best to introduce a subject-level TEF. This will ensure that students can access information about the quality of teaching on individual courses.
    • Supporting economic growth: recognising the crucial role that higher education providers play both individually in their local economies and collectively to the whole UK economy.
    • Smooth transition: which builds on the success of HEFCE and OFFA, recognising that we are building a new organisation. 

To sign up to this event please email Sharon Natt (Sharon.Natt@nus.org.uk) letting us know who you want to send from your SU.

You can read Nicola’s bio here.