Annual review 2022

The Office for Students annual review 2022

Published 15 December 2022


Lord Wharton of Yarm, OfS chair
Lord Wharton of Yarm, OfS chair

Every year brings challenges for universities and colleges. 2022 has seen a higher education sector still dealing with the long-term effects of the pandemic, while facing global instability and cost-of-living pressures at home. Many students beginning their degrees are still affected by the disruption to their school lives over the past three years, while others have literally come from a warzone to study here.

In difficult times, clarity and focus are more important than ever. The OfS's strategy for 2022 to 2025, published earlier this year, reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that universities and colleges continue to serve their students, and the taxpaying public, as they deserve.

During this year we have welcomed the appointment of two senior colleagues, Susan Lapworth and John Blake. Susan was already the OfS’s interim chief executive before being confirmed in the post in September, while John joined us in January as Director for Fair Access and Participation. With the support of their dedicated colleagues, Susan’s experience as our former director of regulation and John’s expertise in the schools sector have already made and will continue to make formidable contributions to our work.

In 2022 the OfS reaffirmed its commitment to quality and standards, in the knowledge that enabling students to succeed on their courses and receive the education they need is the best way to support them in life. Having refreshed our conditions of registration in this area, we have entered a new phase of investigation and enforcement of these conditions.

We will be more rigorous than ever in ensuring that all higher education providers achieve the minimum requirements we expect, while continuing to recognise excellence beyond them. When these minimum requirements are not met – for instance, where we find unjustified grade inflation or pockets of poor quality provision – we will use our powers to intervene and rectify the shortfall.

Meanwhile, we are refreshing our approach to regulating equality of opportunity. Universities and colleges are being encouraged to partner with schools to raise the awareness and ambition of pupils regarding higher education, and to improve their attainment and skills in ways that truly prepare them for study at this level. The more people from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds are enabled to access and benefit from higher education, the more equal and successful society can become.

Once at university or college, students must receive the benefit of the best teaching practice, without the compromises necessitated in recent years by the pandemic. They must experience an environment where they are free from harassment and sexual misconduct. And they must be exposed to a range of ideas, opinions and beliefs, while being free to express their own.

All of these are priorities for the OfS, and the outcome – a well educated and highly skilled graduate population – will benefit employers and the country at large.

Published 15 December 2022

Describe your experience of using this website

Improve experience feedback
* *

Thank you for your feedback