Higher Education Green Paper

06 November 2015

Commenting on the publication of the Government’s Green Paper Fulfilling Our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“The Government’s Green Paper rightly recognises that ‘higher education is a national success story.’ 

“Russell Group universities provide an outstanding education for students where teaching is enhanced by first-rate facilities and delivered by world-class academics.

“But we are far from complacent and our universities continue to invest millions of pounds in a wide range of measures to improve teaching and learning and to ensure their doors are wide open to talented students from any background. They reward the best teachers, work with employers to enhance the curriculum and are subject to review by external examiners and professional, statutory and regulatory bodies.

“The current system continues to drive up quality and evolve in line with the high expectations of students and our focus on excellence and innovation. In the latest National Students Survey our students continued to express higher than average levels of overall satisfaction with the quality of their course. 

“This reflects our aim to instil both independence and rigour of thought and learning, producing capable, self-motivated graduates of the highest standard who succeed in a global employment market.

“Our universities make huge efforts to improve access for the most disadvantaged students and real progress has been made. But we must not lose sight of what the Green Paper refers to as ‘the root causes of inequality of access’ in higher education – such as under-achievement at school and poor advice on the best choices of A-level subjects and university degree course.”

“The autonomy of our universities is crucial to their success. It is vital that any regulation is risk-based and proportionate and does not add to the current burden or stifle innovation.

“We look forward to responding in detail to the proposals contained in the Green Paper to ensure students continue to receive an outstanding education.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The 2015 National Student Survey showed:
  • 88% of students are satisfied with the quality of their university course across Russell Group universities, compared with 85% of students at other universities.
  • 89% of students at Russell Group universities are satisfied with the teaching on their course, compared to a sector-wide average of 87%.
  • 90% of students at Russell Group universities found their course intellectually stimulating.
  1. According to the QS World University Rankings 2015, 11 of the top 50 universities in the world, as ranked by employers, are Russell Group universities.
  2. Our 2014 publication and film, A Passion for Learning, set out the many ways Russell Group universities are working hard to provide excellent teaching and support for students.
  3. The Russell Group Opening Doors report and accompanying films examine the root causes of under-representation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and gives examples of what Russell Group universities are doing to help tackle the problem. More and more disadvantaged students are studying at Russell Group universities:
  • Young people from the most disadvantaged areas in 2014 were around 40 per cent more likely to enter a leading university than in 2011.
  • More than a third of our students receive a bursary or scholarship. 
  • In 2016-17, the 20 Russell Group universities in England alone will be investing £243 million in scholarships, fee waivers, bursaries and outreach activities aimed at the most disadvantaged – with additional investments being made across the devolved administrations.

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