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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

QAA briefing on the Higher Education and Research Bill

Date 06/12/2016

QAA has produced a briefing for the Second Reading of the Higher Education and Research Bill in the House of Lords on 6 December.

QAA supports the Bill, which will create a new Office for Students (OfS) and clarify the regulatory arrangements for a higher education sector that has greatly changed since the last major higher education reform, almost a quarter of a century ago.

We believe, however, that scrutiny in the House of Lords is an opportunity to refine and improve the Bill further. In particular, the Bill could be amended so that:

  • greater protection and reassurance are given to protect institutional autonomy
  • clarification is provided that the OfS will not be able to direct in relation to the academic standards of individual institutions
  • students are given sufficient protection when new institutions are awarded discretionary degree awarding powers (DAPs)
  • OfS powers to award and revoke DAPs and the title of 'University' are subject to effective independent scrutiny.

For more information on the passage of the Higher Education and Research Bill, visit www.parliament.uk (opens in new window).