Press release: In the wake of uncertainty and change, London’s higher education community to unite for inaugural London HE Week


PRESS RELEASE

Monday 10 June 2019
In the wake of uncertainty and change, London’s higher education community to unite for inaugural London HE Week

Key political figures, NHS, Office for Students, and business leaders join UK’s largest cluster of universities for week-long programme of discussion and debate

Dame Margaret Hodge MP and Sir Vince Cable MP are to join senior leaders from higher education (HE), as well as representatives from the Office for Students, the NHS, and business organisations for the launch of London HE Week. The inaugural week-long event, organised by the representative body London Higher and launching on 17 June, comes in the wake of major policy changes, including Brexit, that could disproportionally affect the health of the UK’s largest higher education cluster.

“London’s HE institutions (HEIs) are strongly engaged with the EU, and there are real risks associated with potential Brexit fall-out. Our 43 members are entering another academic year without a clear understanding of what course the government will take. There are also uncertainties about what the government will carry forward from the Augar review and the NHS Long Term Plan,” explains Jane Glanville, CEO of London Higher.

“Alongside this, London’s HEIs, like many of their counterparts around the world, know they need to act to further improve access and student retention, contribute towards social mobility, engage ever more strongly with local communities and businesses, and support mental wellbeing for both staff and students. London HE Week ensures that vital conversations are still happening, at a time when our HEIs, who collectively educate over 382,000 students each year, are under increasing pressure.”

A new report will be released at the start of London HE Week looking at how existing measures of HE participation used by the government do not work well in London. “There is a long-standing issue with how access to HE measures are used by policymakers,” said Dr Graeme Atherton, Director of the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON), a division of London Higher. “Our report will reveal how it is impacting on London and what can be done about this.”  In addition, we will be encouraging views on the usefulness of alternative measures.

London HE Week will also address the uncertainty arising from the NHS Long Term Plan. London educates nearly one-quarter of the domestic health workforce but has seen applicant numbers fall by nearly 40% in some subject areas following the withdrawal of the student bursary in 2016. The week will include a panel discussion on the impact new and innovative funding arrangements could make on reviving applicant interest, as well as an event celebrating the unique opportunities London affords its health students.

London HE Week will feature additional free-to-attend events throughout the week, culminating in a plenary centered on the theme of student mental health and wellbeing in London. London HE Week is made possible through the generosity of our event partners and sponsors; PwC, Barclays, HSBC, BT and London First. Full details of London HE Week can be found at londonhigher.ac.uk.

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. London Higher is the membership body representing over 40 higher education (HE) institutions in London. Our members range from some of the UK’s largest multi-faculty institutions to specialist institutions. All are linked by a commitment to excellence, serve the needs of society and students, and are headquartered in London. London Higher was first established in 1999 and is a registered charity. Website: http://www.londonhigher.ac.uk
  2. London HE Week will take place between 17-21 June 2019, across London. Full details here: https://www.londonhigher.ac.uk/events/london-he-week/. Follow live updates on Twitter @LondonHigher #LondonHEweek
  3. For further information please contact Amy Lightstone, Head of Communications and Business Strategy on amy.lightstone@londonhigher.ac.uk / 020 7391 0683