Most of what is contained is predictable:
- There will be a Teaching Excellence Framework: very light touch in year 1, a bit more touch in year 2 and something more comprehensive from year 3 or 4.
- The TEF will be heavily metrics driven.
- The TEF appears to be optional. Universities will apply to participate and gain subsequent rewards.
- HEFCE’s days are numbered: this is significant development. 6 months ago, I’m not sure anyone would have predicted this, but the cack-handed and deeply misguided approach to reviewing the ‘quality assessment regime’ coupled with an intransigent approach to working with BIS seem to have lost HEFCE any good will there might have been left.
- There’s a strong focus on student success, widening participation and non-traditional student groups. Thankfully though, this is not just looking at recruitment but student completion, progression and attainment too.
- Clarifying and streamlining routes to degree awarding powers. My reading is that these proposals don’t water down the requirements for providers, just make the system a bit clearer and quicker. The devil will be in the detail.
Some less predictable or unexpected developments:
- QAA looks set to fight another day: the agency looked doomed when HEFCE surprised everyone last year by going for the jugular, things look quite different now. Although the Green paper does not explicitly commit to QAA remaining, it is quite clear throughout that there is a role for cyclical review, co-owned regulation etc.
- A new Office for Students (OfStud?) will be established: taking the remains of HEFCE and OFFA for sure, but perhaps some other bodies too, it’s not yet clear.
- Return of the CNAA: well, not quite, but there is a proposal buried in the green paper that OfStud may be given authority to validate degrees, so that universities do not monopolies the sector.
- TEF ‘phase 1’ will be decided on the basis of QAA judgements alone.
- GPA: there’s a very strong commitment to the Grade Point Acerage in here. It will be included in TEF submissions but won’t form part of the judgement criteria. I guess this will reinject some energy into that initiative. [Update: forgot to include this at first]