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 The amendment was later withdrawn after debate.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 The amendment was withdrawn after debate.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”

Higher Education and Research Bill: Bishop of Birmingham on cathedrals group of universities

birmingham-211016cOn 11th January 2017 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill in Committee. The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Revd David Urquhart, introduced an amendment in the name of the Bishop of Portsmouth, on the need “to have a variety of institution types with distinctive characteristics.” The amendment was withdrawn after the debate, following assurances from the Minister that the issue would be looked at afresh. Below is his speech in full, and a section of the Minister’s reply:

The Lord the Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I regret that my friend the Bishop of Portsmouth is not in his place tonight, having been exhausted, I suppose, by leading the debate on the Armed Forces covenant on Monday. He has asked me to bring before your Lordships Amendment 58 which relates to the general duties of the Office for Students. This is in the context of warmly welcoming the Bill’s commitment to greater diversity and improved choices for students, both in the wider choice of the number of institutions and in course and subject. However, we believe it is vital also to have a variety of institution types with distinctive characteristics.

Continue reading “Higher Education and Research Bill: Bishop of Birmingham on cathedrals group of universities”

Bishop of Winchester highlights positives for UK of international students

Universities have always been centres of wisdom and learning: places filled with global-minded people, where political, cultural and geographical boundaries are transcended for the common good. The value of studying abroad is unquestionable. How would scholarship look today if St Augustine had been unable to complete his studies due to visa complications? Would we have heard of Thomas Aquinas if he had been turned back at the French border? Finally, would,

“the world is everything that is the case”,

still be the case if Ludwig Wittgenstein had been asked to produce a study permit on arriving in Britain?

Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester highlights positives for UK of international students”

Bishop of Winchester calls for universities to confront and combat anti-Semitism

On 27th October 2016 the House of Lords held a short debate on a question from Baroness Deech, “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they propose to take to combat anti-Semitism, in particular in universities.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, spoke in the debate:

Bishop of WinchesterThe Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Deech, for initiating this debate.

Despite there being Jewish societies in over 60 universities, a study in 2011 found that half of all Jewish students in the UK attend only eight universities. Safety in numbers seems to be key, as Nottingham, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester all boast Jewish societies with over 1,000 members. None the less, we know that Jewish staff and students experience anti-Semitism in a significant number of higher education institutions today. As the recent Universities UK task force report on hate crime makes clear, anti-Semitism is a practice for which there is no place in universities, nor in the Church or society at large. Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester calls for universities to confront and combat anti-Semitism”

Bishop of Ely asks Government about future of university research after UK withdrawal from EU

Ely 2On 7th July 2016 Baroness Sharp of Guildford asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the outcome of the referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union on the short-term and long-term participation of UK universities in Horizon 2020 research collaborations and the Erasmus Programme”. The Bishop of Ely, Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, I declare an interest as a visitor to a number of colleges in Cambridge. In my conversations with the vice-chancellors of both Cambridge University and Anglia Ruskin University, which is in Cambridge, not only were they very concerned that there was a risk of losing £500 million of research funding for Cambridge and for the Russell group universities but—rather than the money—they were much more concerned about soft diplomacy and the free movement of scholars, which may be affected in the future. Continue reading “Bishop of Ely asks Government about future of university research after UK withdrawal from EU”

Bishop of Chelmsford asks about Free Speech in Universities

Chelmsford 251115On the 27th June 2016, Lord Leigh of Hurley asked the Government “what steps they are taking to counter anti-Semitism on university campuses in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, asked a supplementary question: Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford asks about Free Speech in Universities”

Queen’s Speech 2016: Bishop of Ely responds on academies, RE, universities and skills

Research done already on the implications of what has been said by Ministers is that academisation will proceed very fully. The think tank CentreForum suggests that only about 3,000 free-standing schools might be left that are not academised in the future. I am concerned that we do not end up with thousands of outstanding schools going it alone. We need to ensure that all strong schools, in MATs or otherwise, support schools that are struggling. There is no way of flourishing that does not take in support for others.

Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2016: Bishop of Ely responds on academies, RE, universities and skills”