HE News Bulletin

1st Oct 2021 – This week’s News Bulletin is brought to you by Professor Paul Gibbs, Department of Education


On 12 May 2022, the REF will publish the results of REF 2021. Publication will include the overall quality profile awarded to each submission, by unit of  assessment (UOA) along with the output, impact and environment sub-profiles that were combined to produce the overall quality profile for each.  


Advance HE has published a guide for facilitating student partnerships as part of assessment. Drawn from literature, research, and the contributions of Advance HE members, the guidebook puts forth five principles for fostering good student partnerships for assessment, including sharing responsibility, nurturing inclusive processes, and connecting partnerships to curriculum and pedagogy. Their Website is worth a look and you can find the report here:




Terms of reference: Ofsted’s independent review of teachers’ professional development

The government has asked Ofsted to carry out an independent review of teachers’ professional development. This is one of two reviews that we will use to assess the progress and, where possible, the effectiveness of the government’s education recovery plans.  They will report on the findings of the review in early 2023 and early 2024. The review will answer the following questions:

  1. What teachers and leaders are receiving
  2. Management of professional development
  3. Awareness of professional development
  4. Quality of professional development
  5. Impact of professional development
  6. Our approach


Quality does not equals volume Official

In response to a Parliamentary question concerning the introduction of a statutory baseline for the number of hours higher education providers must provide face-to-face tuition in an academic year.  the government responded on 21 September 2021: “We do not intend to introduce a statutory baseline of contact hours” – so now we should be really concerned.


Us and them?

A report (Education divide) published by the Social Market Foundation characterises the gaps between graduates and non-graduates as “the most important division in Britain today and that the non-graduate majority often feel “ignored and excluded”. It recommends that politicians and businesses should do more to “restore the social norms” that previously offered non-graduates esteem and respect in society – and that those holding non-graduate jobs such as those in public transport and retail should be seen as authority figures. There are also calls for employers to offer non-graduates opportunities to progress and lead.

We need humanities but not in the form they were?

A report from HEPI The Humanities in Modern Britain: Challenges and Opportunities (HEPI Report 141) by Dr Gabriel Roberts, https://www.hepi.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/The-Humanities-in-Modern-Britain-Challenges-and-Opportunities.pdf,  finds that Universities should embed more “professionally valuable skills” such as digital and numerical literacy into their humanities degrees to improve the employability of graduates and stem the courses’  It seem skills are always the answer, even with a huge number of graduates not in graduate jobs –how about more humanity in all degrees?

Coming out

LGBT+ students are more comfortable being open about their sexual orientation or gender identity at university than at school, a new report finds today. Nevertheless UCAS and Stonewall’s “What is the experience of LGBT+ students in education?” finds that more than one in 10 applicants are unsure about how “out” they will be able to be when they start as students this term. 


Universities of the future

“College is about building a great human—intellectually and emotionally—and answering the question: ‘who do I want to be?’” See how Stanford are going about their teaching and learning strategy  http://www.stanford2025.com/#intro


Doctoral researcher

The Transdisciplinarity Lab (TdLab), ETH Zurich (Switzerland).have an open call for 2 PhD. positions (4 years)/ They want  doctoral researchers to join their team for the project «Investigating interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity: intersections of practices, culture(s) and policy in collaborative knowledge production» (INTERSECTIONS(funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation). The new research group is part of an interdisciplinary academic community working in cultural studies of science.   https://www.jobs.ethz.ch/job/view/JOPG_ethz_LUgTqrqcH3NYm8d2iY

STOP Press

As part of an effort to expand its research and evaluation portfolio, Transforming Access and Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO) is inviting expressions of interest for five invitations to tender. The invitations to tender cover the areas of student mental health, equality gaps for disabled students, reducing employment gaps between graduates, validating survey scales for widening participation work, and an open call to join TASO’s panel of evaluators. The deadline to express interest for the first four areas is 19 October, while the deadline for the open call is 3 November.  The budget are around £40,000 per project


Professor Paul Gibbs, Department of Education