On 23rd July 2020 Lord Bassam of Brighton asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the presentation of debt by the Student Loans Company on its online student loan repayment system.” The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, has made a trenchant point about the presentation of these financial statements. The University of Chichester plans to reopen its school of nursing and to recruit locally—to pick up a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Clark, on an earlier Question. For mature and part-time students whom the university seeks to attract, the level of loan debt is as important as the clarity of the information about their loan repayments—perhaps more so. Will the Minister look again at the impact of student loans on recruitment and retention in key public services in the light of their significance to our recovery from the pandemic? Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester asks about impact of student loans on recruitment and retention in key public services”
On 30th June Baroness Randerson asked Her Majesty’s Government “what support they are providing to universities to assist them in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”. The Rt Revd Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, asked a follow up question focusing on students preparing to enter into key public service roles.
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, universities make a significant contribution to their local communities and economies, particularly smaller institutions that attract a larger proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. These make a significant contribution to their local context, particularly in this pandemic. In particular, several Cathedrals Group universities during the 2018-19 academic year had 20% undergraduate students from low-participation—POLAR4—backgrounds. How will the Government work with higher education institutions to maintain the widening of access and retention of students, especially those preparing for key public service roles that have been so important during this pandemic crisis?
On 20th May 2020 the Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, received a written answer to a question on students enrolling on courses with a public service focus.
The Bishop of Winchester: HL3912 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have, if any, to increase the number of students enrolling on courses with a public service focus, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 13th May, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, received a written answer from Lord Callanan on university finance.
The Lord Bishop of Winchester:HL4052 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the announcement on 4 May of the support package for higher education providers as a result of the impact of COVID-19, what criteria they will use to provide research funding for universities; and how they will ensure (1) accessibility of the funding to a wide range of universities, and (2) diversity of institutional provision.
On 5th March 2020 Baroness Gale asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the Crown Prosecution Service in prosecuting cases of rape.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, a recent study highlighted that only 25% of university students who had experienced rape went on to report it to their university or to the police. It is therefore of concern that, since 2016, 300 non-disclosure agreements have been issued by universities in response to student complaints, including assault and harassment reports. The Office for Students and Universities UK are working to improve the handling of harassment and misconduct by universities, but can the Minister advise the House when the Government plan to legislate against the misuse of NDAs by higher education institutions to ensure that students are not discouraged from reporting these assaults? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester raises concern about response of universities to student complaints of assault and harassment”
On 2nd July 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion “that this House should take note of the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding led by Philip Augar”. The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I thank the Minister for bringing this debate. Similarly, I thank Philip Augar and the independent panel members for the thorough review that they have undertaken. I welcome the publication of this report and the issues it raises. I declare my interests as the lead bishop for further and higher education, and as a governor of the University of Winchester.
I shall comment on three areas. My first point is about ensuring a genuinely rich ecology of higher education providers, and especially the contribution made by smaller and specialist institutions. A local example is the University of Winchester, a member of the Cathedrals Group association of universities, some of which are among the country’s smaller higher education institutions in terms of student numbers. One of the headline recommendations of the review is to lower tuition fees, which will reduce the funding institutions receive unless it is provided from other sources, such as grants for teaching. To enhance a diverse range of universities and secure the quality of provision, it is imperative to have a funding system that enables these institutions to flourish, and not simply larger universities which are generally more able to withstand funding turbulence.
On 27th June 2019 Lord Blunkett asked the Government “what is their estimate of the likely reduction in spend by higher education institutions in England on student teaching and contact time were the recommendations of the independent panel report to the Review into Post-18 Education and Funding implemented.” The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, any reduction in higher education funding is likely to have a particular impact not merely on teaching and student contact time but on the very future of smaller institutions, such as the Cathedrals Group universities. Does the Minister agree that, as the Government consider reforms, they need to take into account, first, the effect of those reforms on the diversity of the sector and, secondly, their impact on particular localities? Chichester, for example, is the only university in West Sussex. A threat to its funding would seriously damage its contribution to the regeneration of the disadvantaged coastal areas that it serves.
On 21st May 2019 the House of Lords debated a Motion from Lord Howell of Guildford ,”That this House takes note of the Report from the International Relations Committee UK foreign policy in a shifting world order (5th Report, HL Paper 250).” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Howell, for bringing this debate and chairing the Select Committee that produced this excellent report. I declare an interest, having spent 12 years as general secretary of the Oxford-based CMS—historically the Anglican mission society—working across 50 countries, and prior to that six years working with an indigenous Africa-wide Anglican mission society based in Nairobi. My diocese has companion links with the Anglican provinces of Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Myanmar, and growing links with Chile. I was born in Tanzania, grew up partly in Kenya and still have a home near Thika.
On 20th March 2019, the House of Lords debated the Government’s Spring Budget Statement. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, it is a privilege and a challenge to follow such a brilliant speech from someone who knows his way around the subject. If you want to find good things to tax, I always say that you should start with sin: find a new sin and tax it. I rather agree that HS2 is a sin, not for adding capacity, which I am all in favour of, but in doing so in such an unnecessarily expensive way. For me, trains go quite fast enough already and it could have been done far more cheaply without factoring in the speeds in a small country. As I follow the noble Lord’s speech, I think of St Paul, who once began by saying, “I speak as a fool”. I do so too, a little, after that wonderful description of the financial landscape.
On the 19th November 2018, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara tabled an Oral Question ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the review of the Teaching Excellence Framework is due to report and whether this review will include recommendations for judgements to be made on the change in the percentage of first class and upper second class degrees awarded by higher education institutions’. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a supplementary question:Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester voices concern about grade inflation”