Monthly newsletter and roundup
Read our monthly newsletter and roundup of news, blog posts, reports and other web updates published on our site. Please click on the + sign for each month. (Each month is retrospective.)
A full list of what we published in July is below.
Student satisfaction rises but universities should do more to improve feedback
Students in the UK are more satisfied with their courses, according to this year’s National Student Survey (NSS). However, many universities and colleges still have plenty of room to improve.
OfS Annual report and accounts 2018-19
The Office for Students has published its 2018-19 annual report and accounts.
Bloomsbury Institute Limited
The Office for Students has refused the registration application of Bloomsbury Institute Limited, following a rigorous process of assessment and evaluation.
Statement on De Montfort University investigation
OfS statement on the formal investigation into matters at De Montfort University.
Office for Students responds to higher technical qualifications review
The OfS responds to the Secretary of State for Education’s announcement of a review of Level 4 and 5 qualifications.
New member applications open for UK Healthcare Education Advisory Committee
The OfS is seeking exceptional individuals with the expertise and vision to contribute to the development of healthcare education and research across the UK.
New OfS analysis shows continuing upward trend in award of top degrees
The Office for Students has updated its analysis on degree classifications, and finds that 13.9 percentage points of first class degrees awarded are unexplained.
The Office for Students has refused the registration applications of ABI College Limited and Waltham Forest College, following a rigorous process of assessment and evaluation.
Getting to grips with grade inflation
Our director of competition and registration, Susan Lapworth, sets out the findings from our new report on degree classifications.
The Spice Girls are back and so is the NSS
Benjamin Hunt, student engagement adviser at the Office for Students, talks about the positive impact the National Student Survey can have on campus.
Annual report and accounts 2018-19
The report covers the OfS’s first year of operation, and our progress to date in delivering against our regulatory objectives.
Financial and student number data collection
Seeking views on the collection of data from registered providers.
Data collection to inform funding for 2020-21: Notification of changes
This document provides notification of changes that we intend to make to the collection of data to inform funding for 2020-21.
Analysis of degree classifications over time
Changes in graduate attainment from 2010-11 to 2017-18.
Findings of student learning gain research:
• Independent evaluation of the OfS’s learning gain pilot projects
• Independent research into the National Mixed Methodology Learning Gain project (NMMLGP)
• Higher Education Learning Gain Analysis (HELGA)
2018-19 data checking tools
This document notifies providers of the forthcoming release of the Office for Students data checking tools.
Updates to web pages
Data and analysis
Official statistics: update to the access and participation dataset
Key performance measures: KPM 10 (students responding positively to the NSS question on overall satisfaction) updated
HEIFES18: frequently asked questions
HESES18: frequently asked questions
Student numbers: updated data
ILR training webinar: recording and slides
Monthly bulletin of regulatory activity: June 2019 bulletin
Access and participation
Effective practice: new guidance on student engagement and consultation
Skills and employment: note exploring links between access and participation and civic university agreements
About the OfS
Board papers: July 2019 board papers
Our board and committees: scheme of delegation updated
Remuneration and Nominations Committee: new independent member and register of interests
Provider Risk Committee: updated terms of reference
Transparency: business impact target reporting - summary statements
Transparency data: OfS spending over £25k - June 2019
Student information and data
Funding and funded projects
Supporting mental health and wellbeing for postgraduate research students: details of funded projects
UK Healthcare Education Advisory Committee (UKHEAC): March 2019 minutes and advisory letters
Medical and dental target intakes: targets for 2019-20
Other related updates
Charity Commission: Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) setting out an agreement of the relationship between the Charity Commission and the Office for Students
Government guidance on leaving the EU:
The government has updated its guidance to help the higher education sector prepare in the event of no deal being reached
A full list of what we published in June is below.
Innovation, partnership and data can help improve student mental health in new £14m drive
The scheme is designed to spark a step-change in mental health support across the sector.
‘Welcome progress’ but more to do to tackle hate crime and sexual harassment on campus
Universities must build on recent progress to ensure that all students can feel and be safe on campus.
Nicola Dandridge: fair access and good outcomes are not a zero sum game
Our chief executive, Nicola Dandridge writes for The Times.
Office for Students announces results of TEF 2019
This year’s TEF results have been published – focusing on excellence in teaching and student outcomes across higher education.
Monitoring report finds high compliance with Prevent duty
Evaluation of 2017-18 reports show universities and colleges are demonstrating due regard to the Prevent duty.
Virtual reality tool leads new drive to train next generation of health specialists
The tool is one of several innovative projects awarded funding by the Office for Students.
Student mental health: now is the time for change
PhD student Katie Tyrrell, a member of the OfS mental health Challenge Competition panel, talks about her personal and academic experience of mental ill-health.
OfS fees: Payment of annual OfS registration fees and initial fees: Technical guidance for providers (OfS 2019.23).
Evaluation of student safeguarding projects: Catalyst for change: Protecting students from hate crime, sexual violence and online harassment in higher education
Two independent evaluation reports from Advance HE and our summary of the progress made (OfS 2019.24).
Prevent evaluation report: Prevent monitoring accountability and data returns 2017-18: Evaluation report (OfS 2019.22).
National Collaborative Outreach Programme: Phase two guidance (OfS 2019.25)
Other web updates
Access and participation effective practice: new guidance on -
Access and participation: glossary
Conference on protecting students from hate crime and harassment: conference materials
Monthly bulletin of regulatory activity: May 2019 bulletin
National Student Survey 2018: new data visualisations
OfS Challenge Competition - achieving a step change in mental health outcomes for all students: details of funded projects
OfS student panel: minutes from the December 2018 meeting and updated terms of reference
Quality Assessment Committee: register of interests updated
Strategic Interventions in Health Education Disciplines (SIHED) challenge fund: second round of funded projects
Student numbers: updated data
Student safety and wellbeing: resources developed from the first two rounds of student safeguarding Catalyst funding
Supplementary guidance to the OfS from the Secretary of State for Education: guidance on the government’s priorities for our work
Transparency return 2019: Attainment technical document
A full list of what we published in May is below.
OfS announces initial recurrent grants to providers for 2019-20
The Office for Students is funding higher education providers for teaching, outreach and to enable students to succeed.
No place like home – new fund to boost local graduate opportunities
The Office for Students has awarded £5.6 million to projects based in universities and colleges across England to boost opportunities for graduates who seek work close to home.
Radical changes needed to ensure university admissions identify potential, not just exam results
Young people from more advantaged neighbourhoods are still nearly six times more likely to attend the most selective universities in England despite a significant growth in the use of contextual offers.
In praise of POLAR
POLAR is, and will continue to be, a powerful tool in the drive for fairer access, argues OfS principal analyst Maggie Smart.
The graduate employment paradox – and how thinking locally might unlock it
Charlie Ball, from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, explains the effects of prevailing assumptions about students.
Building a ‘no excuses’ fair access culture: A personal and professional journey
Dr Kedra Bishop explains the University of Michigan's approach to access and participation.
Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not
The OfS's inaugural Insight event focused on access and participation, with experts drawn from a range of backgrounds sharing their expertise. OfS Director for Fair Access and Participation Chris Millward reflects on the day.
Annual TRAC 2017-18: Sector summary and analysis by TRAC peer group (OfS 2019.21)
Also see: Annual TRAC 2017-18: Sector summary and analysis by TRAC peer group
Unistats 2019: Timetable and arrangements for the submission and publication of data (OfS 2019.19)
Preparing for degree study: Analysis of Access to Higher Education Diplomas and integrated foundation year courses (OfS 2019.20)
Updated guidance: Submitting the transparency return 2019 - updated to clarify that only UK-domiciled students should be included in the transparency return
Access and participation: Updated dataset
Annual TRAC 2017-18: Sector summary and analysis by TRAC peer group
OfS key performance measures: KPMs 1 and 2 updated
Other web updates
OfS Challenge Competition: Industrial Strategy and skills - Details of funded projects
Transparency return 2019: Data collection tool - compiles the aggregate data that providers are required to submit. Plus FAQs.
Data amendments: Updated information, including terms of reference and panel schedule
Annual TRAC data 2016-17: Analysis by TRAC peer group - revised statistics
Recurrent funding: Funding for 2019-20
Post-collection outputs: Updated technical documentation published for - ILR, HESA, HESA AP
Conditions of registration: Monitoring of registered providers
Data and analysis: Benchmarking - current approach, methodology and guiding principles
Transparency: April's data on spending >25k
A full list of what we published in April is below.
Higher education in England is in reasonable financial health but universities and colleges should avoid over-ambitious student number forecasts in their future planning, the OfS warns in a new report.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has published a consultation on the fees it will charge in its capacity as the designated quality body.
The Office for Students has published guidance setting out the process for English higher education providers that wish to use either ‘university college’ or ‘university’ title as part of their name.
Financial health: Financial sustainability of higher education providers in England (OfS 2019.14)
Regulatory advice 13: How to apply for university college and university title (OfS 2019.08)
Student information: Summary of OfS strategy on student information, advice and guidance (OfS 2019.15)
What we do: OfS Business plan 2019-20 (OfS 2019.16)
Access and participation: Update to dataset
Student numbers 2017-18: Data on the number of full-time equivalent higher education students at registered providers
Continuation and transfer rates: Latest data and findings on the study activity of full-time undergraduate students
Prevent duty - Prevent review meetings: Webinar video - what to expect under PRM programme
Data: Post-collection outputs
• Data from Individualised Learner Record (ILR) returns
• Data from HESA student returns
Access and participation plans: 2020-21 webinar videos
- Support for small, specialist and new providers
- Target setting
- Assessment of performance
Access and participation plans: Frequently asked questions updated
OfS national conference on learning gain: Download conference materials
Board papers: 26 March 2019 meeting
Request to access your personal information: Updated Personal data request form
A full list of what we published in March is below.
Supporting students to succeed: OfS allocates £1.4 billion for 2019-20
The Office for Students is funding higher education providers for teaching, outreach and student success.
New data reveals university performance on access and student success
The new data shows where the gaps between the most and least advantaged groups of students lie.
Office for Students comments on latest HESA non-continuation data
The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has released data on how many students continue their courses.
Make degree apprenticeships a force for social mobility, says the Office for Students
Degree apprenticeships are growing significantly and offer a route to increased social mobility, but more work is needed to realise their potential.
Office for Students responds to HEPI policy note on the financial health of universities
The Office for Students responds to a new survey of student attitudes to the financial health of their university.
Evidence for impact on access and participation
We've issued our first guidance under our new approach to access and participation, setting out how we expect higher education providers to make a step change through the targets they set themselves and the activities they deliver.
Mental wellbeing: let’s find new ways to support students
When we talk with students about the issues that worry them most, mental health consistently tops the list.
Insight brief: Degree apprenticeships: A viable alternative?
National Student Survey: Publication of NSS 2019 data (OfS 2019.09)
Funding for 2019-20: Formula capital funding (OfS 2019.13)
Funding for 2019-20: Terms and conditions of funding (OfS 2019.12)
Funding for 2019-20: Outcomes of consultation on terms, conditions and methods (OfS 2019.10)
Funding for 2019-20: OfS board decisions (OfS 2019.11)
Transparency condition: Guidance for providers on submitting the transparency return 2019
Update to OfS key performance measures:
- KPM 3: Gap in non-continuation between most and least represented groups to include entrants to academic year 2016-17
- KPM 4: Gap in degree outcomes (1sts or 2:1s) between white students and black students to include graduates in the academic year 2017-18
- KPM 5: Gap in degree outcomes (1sts or 2:1s) between disabled students and non-disabled students to include graduates in the academic year 2017-18
- KPM 18: Students achieving 1sts to include graduates in the academic year 2017-18
Student wellbeing and protection: Mental health information including resources
National Collaborative Outreach Programme: Two new case studies published
Financial sustainability: Report on understanding the impact of income cross-flows
Calculating student numbers: Overview of method and technical document updated
Transparency: Spending data, February 2019
A full list of what we published in February is below.
New ‘What Works’ centre to help universities cut equality gaps
A new independent centre funded by the Office for Students (OfS) is set to help universities meet challenging targets to eliminate equality gaps in higher education within 20 years.
OfS appoints new student panellists
Five new students will join our student panel for 2019.
OfS publishes first annual analysis of senior staff pay
Newly published data and analysis around senior pay can act as a benchmark, helping universities to reduce senior pay where necessary.
OfS comments on HESA widening participation performance indicators
HESA has released measures of how the UK higher education sector is performing.
New members sought for UK Healthcare Education Advisory Committee
The UK Healthcare Education Advisory Committee (UKHEAC) is looking for new members with the expertise and vision to contribute to the development of healthcare education and research across the UK.
Government guidance on leaving the EU
The government has published guidance to help the higher education sector prepare in the event of no deal being reached.
Independent research: Understanding and overcoming the challenges of ethnicity targeting
National Collaborative Outreach Programme: Call for proposals to deliver phase two of the programme in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire (OfS 2019.01)
Funding for 2019-20: Consultation on terms and conditions and method (OfS 2019.02)
Regulatory notice 1: Access and participation plan guidance (OfS 2019.05)
Regulatory advice 6: How to prepare your access and participation plan - effective advice (OfS 2019.06)
Independent research: Standards of evidence and evaluating impact of outreach
OfS board: Papers from meeting on 28 January 2019
HESES and HEIFES: Release of survey data relating to academic year 2018-19
Addressing barriers to student success: Case study from University of Leeds
Official statistics release: Senior staff remuneration
A full list of what we published in January is below.
Universities must avoid using unconditional offers to put pressure on students, says Office for Students
The Office for Students has warned universities and other higher education providers that indiscriminate use of unconditional offers is akin to pressure selling and could put them in breach of consumer law.
Independent reviewer of TEF asks for views
Dame Shirley Pearce, who is leading the independent review of the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF), has invited views from all with an interest in the TEF.
We invited applications to our student panel
The panel advises the OfS, and ensures that students’ interests are reflected in everything we do.
Unconditional offers: Serving the interests of students?
The steep rise in the numbers of unconditional offers made by universities and colleges to students applying to study with them has come under the spotlight in recent months amid concerns that it is having a negative impact on students.
Release of intake numbers from medical and dental survey (Official statistics)
Analysis of degree classifications over time (OfS 2018.54): Overview of populations added as supplementary information
TEF Year Four: Metrics and contextual data published (Official statistics)
TEF Year Four: Data now includes participants from devolved administrations (Official statistics)
Data amendments: Error summary sheet for aggregate data updated
Transparency: Data published for December 2018 (spending over £25,000)
Student panel: Meeting minutes published
Data amendment panel: Dates added for error submission and meeting of next panel
TEF Year Four: Training video added for provider submissions
Addressing barriers to student success: Case study from New College Durham
A full list of what we published in December is below.
The Office for Students has challenged all universities to eliminate the gaps in access and student success within 20 years.
The Office for Students is inviting funding bids from universities and colleges for innovative projects which will support and enhance provision in nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects.
Chris Millward comments on slow progress in narrowing gaps in access to higher education.
Chris Millward responds to new research on gaps in equality of opportunity.
Student representation and engagement is one of the most important, and most unique, concepts that we work with.
Our new approach to access and participation: Our approach and ambitions
Outreach interventions for under-16s: New guidance and development tool
Complaints and notifications: Process has been updated
Official statistics: HESES and HEIFES survey data relating to academic year 2018-19 will be released on 5 February 2019
Data checking tools: Future releases page added
TEF Years Two and Three: Updates to TEF outcomes – merger added
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