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CLICK HERE TO START SPA National Expert Think Tank (NETT) STEEPLED analysis on Developments within UK HE admissions arising from a ‘more dynamic’ approach.

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Presentation on theme: "CLICK HERE TO START SPA National Expert Think Tank (NETT) STEEPLED analysis on Developments within UK HE admissions arising from a ‘more dynamic’ approach."— Presentation transcript:

1 CLICK HERE TO START SPA National Expert Think Tank (NETT) STEEPLED analysis on Developments within UK HE admissions arising from a ‘more dynamic’ approach to student entry in England

2 NETT STEEPLED analysis
A STEEPLED analysis is one way of collating current information on a new development across different influencers and to forecast how those influences may develop over time. The topic of this analysis is Developments within UK HE admissions arising from a ‘more dynamic’ approach to student entry in England. It should be used as a precursor to further inform and develop an institutional review of the impact on and risks to policy and practice. While there is a great deal of knowledge within universities and colleges on student number control (SNC) changes, there will be groups of staff who need differing levels of understanding based on their type of engagement in the institution’s admissions activity. This analysis will help promote further discussion as part of a wider NETT toolkit. More about SNC More about our methodology More about the wider toolkit START

3 More about SNC UCAS applicant advice HEFCE policy guide SPA
The BIS white paper 'Students at the heart of the system' set out the government's vision for a more diverse, dynamic higher education system that would support student choice and encourage greater competition between providers of higher education, while ensuring that the demands on the student support budget remained sustainable. A key component required exempting certain students achieving high grades from HEFCE student number controls. More information is available from: HEFCE policy guide SPA guidance UCAS applicant advice BIS white paper back to START

4 More about our methodology
This STEEPLED analysis was produced as an output of the SPA National Expert Think Tank (NETT) Residential, held at Aston University 11 – 13 June  The NETT comprised members from a range of admissions and related backgrounds from HEIs across England, with the aim of producing a toolkit of resources to inform and influence the debate around the impact of SNC reforms in England, particularly in ensuring that SPA's principle aim of ensuring fair admissions is considered within this. The STEEPLED analysis was produced from a range of desk-based and primary research by members of the NETT.  We have included links to a wide range of sources, wherever possible, but the nature of such analysis is that it is occasionally based on anecdote or personal knowledge (or even opinion) and cannot in every instance be referenced back to 'hard data'.  If there are suggestions for amendments or additions we will be happy to receive them. More on the NETT back to START Even more on methodology

5 More about our methodology
Further, since the analysis is intended as a tool for others to develop to suit their own institution's needs, we are happy for others to adapt our analysis to suit their own circumstances.  The diversity of our sector is such that many of the issues presented here will affect those institutions in different ways, and occasionally perhaps in an opposite way to that which we have presented. Our analysis is split in two – representing current and forecast issues.  We have deliberately restricted our forecasts to a medium-term planning horizon, that is up to around  Given the velocity of change in HE at present, that planning horizon is already difficult to predict, but to go further would seem to be more 'crystal ball' than 'scenario forecasting'.  By 2017, under a new parliament, government HE policy will likely have been redefined (in one direction or another); the effect of reforms to A Levels and other qualifications on HE will be much clearer; and the fee regime may start to change significantly. back to START

6 More about the wider toolkit
Surveys into the knowledge and awareness of SNC among university staff (and others involved in student recruitment) were conducted in Spring These revealed that there is limited information about SNC available, and, particularly in the case of university staff, the available information is not always well targeted.  summary survey findings: teachers HE Liaison staff HE Planning staff case study institution staff In the light of this research, the SPA National Expert Think Tank has created a set of 'toolkits' for university staff aimed at identifying the level of SNC expertise required in a given role, and then providing suitable targeted information for users at the rudimentary, moderate and comprehensive levels NETT toolkit back to START

7 socio-cultural technological economic ethical political legal
Developments within UK HE admissions arising from a ‘more dynamic’ approach to student entry in England political legal educational demographic

8 socio-cultural snapshot as of June 2013 Socio c1 Current 1 Lot of work already done by HE sector and other networks (e.g. IAG) to seek to explain the socio-cultural impact of the new regime – contrasting with little from government itself. Impact of that work is, as yet, unclear. UUK The funding environment for universities UCAS End of Cycle report 2012 HEFCE briefing on the impact of 2012 reforms SPA SNC in admissions: Reviewing 2012; Planning 2013 back to STEEPLED more current developments

9 socio-cultural snapshot as of June 2013 Socio c2 Current 2 Training / support provided within institutions for staff in admissions, schools / college liaison, planning, functions etc. (as noted within the various surveys) but a divergence of responses as to whether this has been sufficient. NETT survey of HE Planning staff – 74% believed Planning staff in their institution had received enough appropriate training NETT survey of HE Liaison staff – 72% believed HE Liaison staff in their institution had not received enough appropriate training back to STEEPLED more current developments

10 socio-cultural snapshot as of June 2013 Socio c3 Current 3 Indications from surveys suggest staff across a range of different roles (e.g. schools & colleges’ liaison, planning, admissions) are looking at the socio-cultural impacts of the SNC policy. NETT survey of HE Planning staff – 74% thought Planning staff had a role in considering any ethical, equality impact or widening participation considerations of SNC NETT survey of HE Liaison staff – 66% thought HE Liaison staff had a role in considering any ethical, equality impact or widening participation considerations of SNC back to STEEPLED more current developments

11 socio-cultural snapshot as of June 2013 Socio c4 Current 4 Complexity of SNC policy is increasing the difficulty (and arguably reducing effectiveness) of oversight (including by governing bodies) within institutions, with the risk that practice not considering socio-cultural impact is allowed to continue unimpeded. back to STEEPLED more current developments

12 socio-cultural snapshot as of June 2013 Socio c5 Current 5 Policy on SNC / SNC exemption is becoming increasingly complicated for IAG providers, applicant body and influencers, therefore increasing risk of misunderstanding and the potential for difference in quality of advice given by different parts of the schools and colleges sector. Careers England survey on the impact of the Education Act 2011 NETT survey of teachers – only just over half of teachers (55%) felt they were confident about their understanding of the SNC changes and the impact on their students back to STEEPLED more current developments

13 socio-cultural snapshot as of June 2013 Socio c6 Current 6 3% flexibility on intake (and the limited risks posed by exceeding 103%) allows providers greater leeway to make the ‘right’ decisions in 2013. Impacts to institutions outside of England but within the UK NETT survey of HE Planning staff - 86% of UK respondents outside England felt SNC changes in England had affected their planning arrangements: “... there is certainly a 'ripple effect' and any impact on our direct competitors is certainly then felt by ourselves. The focus on qualifications data is almost certainly leading to divergence between England and the rest of the UK ...” back to STEEPLED on to the forecast

14 socio-cultural snapshot as of June 2013 Socio f1 Forecast 1 Impact of under-recruitment in 2013 may be mitigated by an opportunity to recover position partially in 2014. As awareness grows, but old and new terminology persists, there will be an increasing need to ensure everything is consistently labelled and a common choice of words (and common understanding of their meaning) is adopted by all (e.g. not AAB+ or ABB+ but SNC exempt). The impact will be different on different groups, potentially exacerbating long-term educational disadvantage (certain groups are less likely to achieve exemption grades, in particular: disabled students; black students; students from lower socio-economic groups; males).  HEFCE consultation 2011 – annex D back to STEEPLED More forecast developments

15 socio-cultural snapshot as of June 2013 Socio f2 Forecast 2 Improved training amongst schools/colleges liaison staff and better communication approaches from HE providers will improve understanding within schools/colleges and support applicants better through more reliable IAG. NETT survey of teachers – of the 45% of teachers who felt they were not confident or not sure about their understanding of the SNC changes and the impact on their students, 77% said clearer guidance from universities would be most effective in helping them understand better. back to STEEPLED

16 technological snapshot as of June 2013 Techno c1 Current 1 (In)ability of systems (both corporate [UCAS] and institutional) to differentiate between applicant status (SNC, SNC exempt etc.) and which courses are available to which groups. Delivery of core services (e.g. UCAS) is threatened by rapid change in policy framework, not matched by ability to adapt systems. Difficulty in replicating HEFCE and HESA population data within individual institutions can challenge planning scenarios UCAS not keen to support an algorithm because of the risk of litigation. SITS have tried but not highly rated. Inefficient for institutions to provide their own. Need to be applicable to previous years. back to STEEPLED More current developments

17 technological snapshot as of June 2013 Techno c2 Current 2 Gaps in data (e.g. SNC status flags) and the need for a single algorithm to support this in a timely manner. NETT survey of HE Planning staff – several comments cited improvements in the quality of qualifications data and identification of ABB+ achievers would enhance the effectiveness of institutional planning: “UCAS should develop an algorithm to define SNC status for all UCAS institutions and include within the data for each applicant. This should be updated whenever new qualification information arrives (eg after ABL) and should indicate the source of the data (so we know whether or not it is verified).” back to STEEPLED More current developments

18 technological snapshot as of June 2013 Techno c3 Current 3 Capacity to identify, monitor and track the variation within different institutions as to the number and proportion predicted (who then achieve) ABB+ and the number not predicted (but who do achieve) ABB+. Applies to both the applicant and enrolled populations. Noticing increased knowledge base and data expertise in admissions staff to work with an increasingly technical set of regulations. Recognised growth in business intelligence (e.g. dashboards) as a result of increased complexities. back to STEEPLED On to the forecast

19 technological snapshot as of June 2013 Techno f1 Forecast Capturing and identifying SNC status within existing software systems is feasible but needs to be kept under review as the regulations change (see also algorithm point). Further changes to qualification exemptions (from 2014 entry), and combinations thereof, will increase difficulty in assessment at offer/confirmation stages (see also algorithm point). Impact of growth of MOOCs as technological capabilities provide greater stability in delivering HE in different ways; would become increasingly viable and desirable as competition in a restricted traditional full-time undergraduate market tightens. back to STEEPLED

20 economic snapshot as of June 2013 Econ c1 Current 1 Risk of fines for over-recruitment and claw-back for under-recruitment (because of difficulties of monitoring against multiple targets, let alone the difficulties of delivery to target). Uncertainty of income streams. HEFCE report on financial health of the higher education sector UUK assessment of the funding environment for universities Short timescales (and short period to influence) for delivery to target given that grant letter received after 15 January deadline for applications. back to STEEPLED More current developments

21 economic snapshot as of June 2013 Econ c2 Current 2 EU universities teaching in English and resultant increased competition. GES Database of Programmes taught in English Telegraph article - Where to study in Europe... in English Use of scholarships and bursaries to target SNC exempt population. Times article - Universities vie for brightest students back to STEEPLED More current developments

22 economic snapshot as of June 2013 Econ c3 Current 3 General poor economic conditions, with limited growth and high market sensitivity, adding pressure on taught programmes. Institutions who have invested heavily, for example in residences, over the past few years remain with heavy debt and borrowing commitments which must be matched by income streams to service, or alternative uses for same. back to STEEPLED On to the forecast

23 economic snapshot as of June 2013 Econ f1 Forecast 1 Resource Accounting and Budgeting (RAB) charge currently understated according to many estimates – this may lead to further policy changes impacting on providers. HEPI report - The cost of the Government’s reforms of the financing of higher education As individual institution fees are increased, margin places (gained as a result of lower than average fees) may be reclaimed by HEFCE. UG fees may impact on PGT recruitment from 2015 and a potential for vicious circle increasing pressure to grow UG, PT and OS intakes thereafter to compensate for decline in PGT. Including MOOC and OS collaborations. back to STEEPLED More forecast developments

24 economic snapshot as of June 2013 Econ f2 Forecast 2 Growth in private providers may be more limited at present than in the future. Details as yet unclear. Risk of lenient approach in 2013 may not be repeated in future years if overall budget demand on HEFCE is higher than expected, if CSR fundamentally changes the position, or if the economic climate increases pressure for austerity. HEIs may want to recruit more overseas students to compensate for pressure on other income streams, which is challenged by current government policy. back to STEEPLED More forecast developments

25 economic snapshot as of June 2013 Econ f3 Forecast 3 IPPR suggestion to introduce OS growth targets seems to be supported by Labour Party. IPPR report - A critical path: securing the future of higher education in England Drive to change tuition fees/funding in future if £9k fees become increasingly unsustainable for some institutions. By 2017 (soonest it will likely change) no change in fees could represent a 16% fall in the unit of resource. However, there are calls within parts of the sector for a managed reduction, not necessarily an increase. Professor David Eastwood at HEPI–HEA Conference plus THE article on Russell Group Chair weighs in against tuition fee cap Million+ report - Do the alternatives add up? back to STEEPLED More forecast developments

26 economic snapshot as of June 2013 Econ f4 Forecast 4 Comprehensive Spending Review 2013 – HE may not be as protected as last time, with the WP budget at greatest risk. UUK blog on Spending Review wonkhe blog on Austerity, the Spending Review and a crisis in human capital back to STEEPLED

27 ethical snapshot as of June 2013 Eth c1 Current 1 Applicants potentially have a greater chance of getting their first-choice institution. UUK statement on lowering ABB Threshold counterpoint NUS statement - no evidence that students have more choice Possible lack of transparency and perceived unfairness of current policy approach. principles of fair admissions Number controls may be leading some institutions to ‘hold on’ to applicants at Confirmation as a controlling factor. back to STEEPLED More current developments

28 ethical snapshot as of June 2013 Eth c2 Current 2 EU students more ‘desirable’ in some institutions (to fill SNC) and less in others, where SNC may be tighter Risk of indirect discrimination if they are encouraged / discouraged towards particular institutions or types of institutions (thus controlling their choice in some respects). Use of scholarships and bursaries to target SNC exempt population. Times article - Universities vie for brightest students Nothing within policy redresses existing inequalities across certain groups (e.g. gender, socio economic group). back to STEEPLED More current developments

29 ethical snapshot as of June 2013 Eth c3 Current 3 Use of contextual data seen as being more difficult as a result of SNC policy. NETT congruence survey of institution staff highlighted a number of concerns and confusion within just one selective provider over their ability to use contextual data and other measures to widen participation. back to STEEPLED On to the forecast

30 ethical snapshot as of June 2013 Eth f1 Forecast Risk of practice that doesn’t consider socio-cultural or educational impact is allowed to continue unimpeded. Arguably some of these practices will be increasing choice for certain candidate groups, but influence on applicants at a pressured time needs to be considered. If evidence shows that certain groups are disadvantaged, there will be increased pressure on WP approach and funding thereof (e.g. differential offers if choosing an institution as firm rather than insurance…). back to STEEPLED

31 Pol c1 Current 1 Lack of ‘joined up’ approach – e.g.
political snapshot as of June 2013 Pol c1 Current 1 Lack of ‘joined up’ approach – e.g. between BIS who claim to be supporting growth of overseas students (see para 3.15 of the White Paper) and Home Office who want to reduce net migration figures (albeit with slight increases in student visas issued recently). See also UUK blog on Busting migration myths between DfE educational reforms including pressure to avoid grade inflation and BIS who were planning for a larger number of AABs in 2012. between educational policies across different constituent parts of UK back to STEEPLED More current developments

32 political snapshot as of June 2013 Pol c2 Current 2 Not linking Access Agreements to other parts of SNC agenda. OFFA update on aligning offa and hefce processes Some incongruence within HE Providers on understanding of government’s rationale for SNC changes. NETT congruence survey of institution staff – 68% of respondents believed their understanding of the government’s rationale wasn’t as good as it should be. View that Government sees this as simply a matter of funding allocation and fails to see impact on schools, IAG providers and HE Providers. back to STEEPLED On to the forecast

33 political snapshot as of June 2013 Pol f1 Forecast 1 Difficult for current mechanism for determining SNC exemptions to absorb entirely new qualifications or substantial changes to existing ones, building in greater uncertainty and lack of comparability when new qualifications are introduced. Instability of policy as a result of possible change to, or redirection of, government in 2015. THE article - Labour fees policy may prove unworkable Likely to be greater diversification of HE sector, in terms of alternative provider growth, alternative delivery modes and cross-border flows, but not greater volume of total student population. back to STEEPLED More forecast developments

34 political snapshot as of June 2013 Pol f2 Forecast 2 Perceived lack of progress on social mobility, particularly within some institutions, may provoke more direct political action and a redirection of funding measures to promote greater inclusion. Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission report - Higher Education: the Fair Access Challenge back to STEEPLED

35 legal snapshot as of June 2013 Leg c1 Current 1 Greater competition within the sector, making HEIs more wary to share information or intelligence with each other, as they become more aware of Competition Law. Martineau bulletin - Universities, competition law and information exchange Sector bodies (such as UCAS) similarly affected and not able to provide key services demanded by sector (e.g. suppression of data at 15 January in 2013 cycle; concerns over producing an SNC status algorithm if any degree of inaccuracy could lead to litigation). THE article - Ucas withholds application data back to STEEPLED More current developments

36 legal snapshot as of June 2013 Leg c2 Current 2 Institutions, as a result of the above, reviewing the nature of their relationship with UCAS and matters related to the ownership of data. No HE Bill presented to Parliament following 2011 reforms so policy / position still subject to change / challenge. THE article - HE bill ‘to be shelved indefinitely’ Fragmentation of sector ‘regulatory’ bodies (HEFCE, OFFA, SLC, etc) causing policy conflict. Lack of broadly available sector legal guidance and no precedent in face of legal challenge as of yet. back to STEEPLED More current developments

37 legal snapshot as of June 2013 Leg c3 Current 3 Increased use of solicitors by applicants and students to pursue complaints and appeals – this appears to be part of a much broader cultural shift over several years; recent changes may be adding to an already existing complex range of factors. annual reports of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator(N.B. these relate only to student complaints; no national information is collected on applicant complaints) BBC news article - University complaints 'rise by a quarter', says watchdog back to STEEPLED More current developments

38 legal snapshot as of June 2013 Leg c4 Current 4 Equality impact – HEFCE conducted initial impact assessment on SNC proposals, but it is unclear if a full equality impact assessment has been carried out on the actual events following implementation. HEFCE's initial sector impact assessment (updated January 2012) HEFCE's commitment to develop a monitoring mechanism on equality impact ECU report - Equitable admissions for underrepresented groups back to STEEPLED On to the forecast

39 legal snapshot as of June 2013 Leg f1 Forecast General increased risk of litigation, rise of complaints, etc. Challenges to UCAS policy around EU (non-UK) providers. Challenges to high grades policy around exclusion of EU qualifications. back to STEEPLED

40 educational snapshot as of June 2013 Edu c1 Current 1 Risk of a new binary divide between the SNCs and the SNC-exempts. IPPR are suggesting exempting some WP students from SNC for some (selective) institutions. IPPR report - A critical path: securing the future of higher education in England quotation from David Willetts in THE BIS SNC policy letter to HEFCE Risk of universities failing due to lack of numbers with consequent impacts on students and applicants. Telegraph article - Universities could go bust Policy Exchange report -sink or swim back to STEEPLED More current developments

41 educational snapshot as of June 2013 Edu c2 Current 2 Early data suggests reductions in certain subject areas more pronounced than others. UUK The funding environment for universities (fig to 2.21) Unintended consequences of providing colleges with direct allocation puts strain on existing arrangements and resulted in claw-back of numbers to the parent university. Indications that some institutions are reversing the position in 2013. TES article - Shock as universities told to drop college franchises Guardian article - HE in FE: top tips and resources to promote collaboration back to STEEPLED More current developments

42 educational snapshot as of June 2013 Edu c3 Current 3 Educational calendar of HE decision making (for applicants) out-of-step with institutions’ decision-making based on SNC policy change. back to STEEPLED On to the forecast

43 educational snapshot as of June 2013 Edu f1 Forecast 1 Definition of success for universities needs to be reconsidered (e.g. institutions with no SNC but high non-SNC numbers). Policy approach has prompted some institutions, or departments within institutions, to consider qualifications equivalencies and occasionally review their entry requirements, perhaps with additional support provided / changes of teaching methods for some types of entrants. A Level and GCSE reforms – format unclear. OFQUAL information on qualification reform Guardian article - Michael Gove unveils GCSE reforms back to STEEPLED More forecast developments

44 educational snapshot as of June 2013 Edu f2 Forecast 2 Risk of unplaced applicants if revert to previous system. Pressure on the use of predicted grades in Schools. League tables of SNC shortfalls as a proxy indicator for popularity whereas it is as much an indicator of offer-making strategies and propensity to take risk. back to STEEPLED

45 demographic snapshot as of June 2013 Dem c1 Current 1 Relatively little change in application rates from young entrants once effect of declining 18yr old population accounted for, although application rate still not quite at 2011 level. UCAS End of Cycle report 2012 HEPI report - Higher Education Supply and Demand to 2020 plus report on Demand for Higher Education to 2029 back to STEEPLED More current developments

46 demographic snapshot as of June 2013 Dem c2 Current 2 POLAR quintiles 1 & 2 seem least affected in terms of application rate (but too early to judge longer-term effect). Uncertain whether affect by enrolment is different to that for application/acceptance. UCAS End of Cycle report 2012 Independent Commission on Fees - Analysis of UCAS acceptances for 2012/2013 admissions Still additional non-participating individuals who would have been expected to go into HE (particularly higher POLAR quintiles and mature) – were they totally disengaged or temporarily displaced? UUK blog - University admissions : more displacement than dip back to STEEPLED More current developments

47 demographic snapshot as of June 2013 Dem c3 Current 3 Reduction in participation rate from mature students over 30yr old, even if rate is staying relatively stable. There has been an even greater decline in part-time mature student applications and acceptances. UCAS End of Cycle report 2012 Independent Commission on Fees - Analysis of UCAS acceptances for 2012/2013 admissions Professor Claire Callender's keynote speech on the benefits of part-time study presented at the HEA conference What can higher education contribute to improving social mobility in the UK? back to STEEPLED On to the forecast

48 demographic snapshot as of June 2013 Dem f1 Forecast 1 Dip in 18yr-old group for a further seven years to 2020. HEPI report - Higher Education Supply and Demand to 2020 Potential for wider fluctuations of participation rates at particular institutions based on region and the number of competitors in a locale. Liverpool Daily Post article - Unprecedented competition for places at Merseyside universities THE article - Rural A-level students ‘much less likely’ to go to university back to STEEPLED More forecast developments

49 demographic snapshot as of June 2013 Dem f2 Forecast 2 Mature students’ participation rates may be liable to change. No real growth in student numbers, so any gains in particular institutions / parts of the sector is at the loss of other institutions / parts of the sector. Future potential applicants will be planning HE entry after 2012 changes introduced (rather than many current groups who were already committed to A Level syllabus) – this could affect future choices on applying to HE. back to STEEPLED


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