Bishop of Winchester asks Government what is being done to increase university admissions for the disadvantaged

On 20th December 2018 the Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, received a written answer to a question on university admissions:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps the Office for Students is taking to encourage universities to use unconditional and other alternative offers to widen participation by minority groups including those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

Bishop of Winchester urges Government to make UK higher education accessible as possible to international students

On 19th July 2018 Lord Norton of Louth led a debate on the motion “That this House takes note of the value to the United Kingdom of higher education as an export.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I declare my interests as found in the register, particularly those relating to higher education.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth, for securing this debate and for outlining some of the key issues, but begin by congratulating the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester on an excellent maiden speech, with its characteristic blend of deep pastoral concern, learning lightly worn and a keen appreciation of the importance of education. He and I share the pleasure of having a Cathedrals Group university in our dioceses. I am sure that my right reverend friend will contribute greatly to the deliberations of this House. Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester urges Government to make UK higher education accessible as possible to international students”

Second Church Estates Commissioner champions Coventry bid to be 2021 City of Culture

On 5th September 2017, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman took part in a Westminster Hall debate on Coventry’s bid to be the 2021 City of Culture, citing the impact of the Cathedral in the life of the city.

Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): I congratulate the hon. Member for Coventry South (Mr Cunningham) on securing this debate. It is exciting for all of us to know that Coventry has made the shortlist and is now in a five-way race to win this title. I declare my interest in that part of my constituency is covered by the diocese of Coventry, so I have many reasons to visit the city on a regular basis.

Continue reading “Second Church Estates Commissioner champions Coventry bid to be 2021 City of Culture”

EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Newcastle highlights contribution of Newcastle University to North East economy

Newcastle 8On 27th February 2017, Labour Peer Baroness Quin moved an amendment to the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawl) Bill, requiring Government to undertake an impact assessment of the impact of Brexit on the North-East of England. The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Christine Hardman, spoke to the amendment to highlight the contribution of Newcastle University to the North-East economy. The amendment was later withdrawn after debate.


Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I declare an interest as a member of the court of Newcastle University. The amendment tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, and the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, asks for an impact assessment of the effect of Brexit on the economy of the north-east. When we think about that economy, perhaps our thoughts turn first to the EU funding that the economy receives and then to the manufacturing sector. But the city of Newcastle is deeply enriched by the presence of two first-class universities, and there are 50,000 students in Newcastle. Tomorrow a report will be released to the media which details the extraordinary contribution of Newcastle University to the economy of the north-east. Continue reading “EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Newcastle highlights contribution of Newcastle University to North East economy”

Higher Education and Research Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendment on student finance for resettled refugees

On the 25th January 2017, the Bishop of Durham, Rt. Revd. Paul Butler, co-sponsored an amendment to the Higher Education and Research Bill, which would ‘allow all refugees resettled to the UK…to access student finance and home fees.’ The amendment was led by Lord Dubs and Viscount Younger of Leckie responded on behalf of the Government. The amendment was withdrawn after debate.

durham-230117The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, it is my privilege to have added my name to this amendment. My favourite Christmas card of the past year came from a refugee from Burundi. Last summer, when I visited Burundi, I accessed the rector of the university that she had had to flee and arranged for her qualifications from that university to be released and forwarded to her in this country so that she could commence university, which she will do in September this year. It was a huge relief to her because without that piece of paper she would have had to return and undertake A-levels. In her Christmas card she not only thanked me, but said that it was being able to access higher education straightaway that made her feel welcome and wanted, and that we believed in integrating her into our country. Continue reading “Higher Education and Research Bill: Bishop of Durham supports amendment on student finance for resettled refugees”

Higher Education and Research Bill: Archbishop of York supports amendment on improving diversity in universities

On the 23rd January 2017, Lord Addington moved an amendment to the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill during its Committee stage, about access to advice about improving the diversity of university student populations. The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon Dr. John Sentamu, spoke in support of the amendment, which was debated but not put to a vote:


york-170117-cThe Archbishop of York: My Lords, the amendment is asking the bodies concerned to seek advice from the commission and those who advise that tells them it would be good to do it this way. Because of its permissive nature, I hope the Minister will see this as helping. As somebody from a minority ethnic group, I have always benefited from the human rights commission. The advice that I have just mentioned is not intrusive; it is a good thing. Universities should hold before themselves, in all their aspects, a mirror, to see whether their leadership, in different places, reflects the nature of the university. Continue reading “Higher Education and Research Bill: Archbishop of York supports amendment on improving diversity in universities”

Higher Education and Research Bill: Bishop of Portsmouth moves amendment on support for students with disabilities

portsmouth-180117-bOn 18th January 2016, the House of Lords considered the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill in Committee. The Bishop of Portsmouth spoke to propose an amendment on behalf of the Bishop of Ely about giving special consideration for those with disabilities within the criteria for approving and reviewing student protection plans. The amendment was withdrawn after the debate, following encouragement from the Minister that the issue deserved greater inspection. Below is his speech and a section of the Minister’s reply.

The Lord the Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, my colleague and right reverend friend the Bishop of Ely is unable to be in his place, but has asked me to bring before your Lordships Amendment 134A. I and he welcome the Minister’s assurances thus far for disabled students. It is very welcome that he intends to publish guidance to ensure that higher education institutions are best able to fulfil their duties to disabled students.

Continue reading “Higher Education and Research Bill: Bishop of Portsmouth moves amendment on support for students with disabilities”