Higher education policy statement and reform

ASCL response to the higher education policy statement and reform consultation. 
ASCL welcomes the opportunity to contribute to this consultation. In addition to the responses below we would urge the inquiry to consider ASCL’s published works on The Forgotten Third, particularly when considering the impact of minimum entry requirements (MERs) in GCSE English and maths at grade 4+. It seems incongruous that this policy is being advocated while we have a system of comparable outcomes in England which effectively means a third of all students will not achieve the MERs.

ASCL believes that there is an over-arching issue with the definition of the problem that this consultation is trying to address. Proposals to “improve outcomes and access for students” are often at odds with proposals for “value for money of investment in higher education by students and taxpayers”. Separate consultations on these two aspects of HE reform would have been more useful.

There is also a glaring omission in the design of the questions in that there is no mention of the Applied General Qualification, and particularly the BTEC level 3. Over a quarter of a million students take one or more BTEC qualifications every year, and many of these students go on to HE. They often have very specific support needs when attending HE, particularly in their early months, and the consultation has missed an opportunity to reflect on this.

Full response to consultation