Response to the HE Green Paper

25 January 2016

The Russell Group has submitted a response to 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:

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to world-class research and share the desire to put students at the heart of our higher education system.

“A huge amount of time, effort and resources have been devoted to improving the education and student experience our universities provide. And this is reflected in feedback from employers and our students who year on year express above average levels of overall satisfaction with the quality of their course.

“While we always seek new ways to improve we have real concerns about how the new TEF can add value and assess teaching fairly and accurately without adding to the regulatory burden. Indeed this would run counter to the very welcome intention expressed in the Green Paper to move to a more risk-based approach to regulation.

“Our universities continue to invest millions of pounds to ensure their doors are wide open to talented students from any background. And real progress has been made in increasing the number of disadvantaged and BME students at our universities. Again we would want to be persuaded that proposals aimed at improving access actually facilitate rather than hamper this progress.

“Excellent teaching is enhanced by and intrinsically linked to excellent research. Any changes to the current system should recognize the important relationship between teaching and research and the scale and complexity of our universities.

“The Green Paper, Nurse Review, recent Spending Review and upcoming Stern Review together represent another significant period of change for universities. We look forward to working with the Government to continue delivering excellent teaching, research, innovation and impact from the UK’s leading universities.”

Response to the higher education green paper

The Russell Group's response to Fulfilling our potential: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice.

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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. 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.
  2. 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.

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