Sexual abuse at English and Welsh universities ‘a public scandal’ – study

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on November 19th, 2020 by steve

“An estimated 50,000 incidents of sexual abuse or harassment take place in universities in England and Wales every year, according to research, which accuses the sector of failing to adequately address what is ‘fast becoming a public scandal’ …” (more)

[Sally Weale, Guardian, 19 November]

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Student Universal Support Ireland – Study in the UK

Posted in Governance and administration on November 14th, 2020 by steve

IrelandÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if Irish students will be able to avail of SUSI grants post Brexit to study at universities in Northern Ireland and the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 12 November]

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Universities may underestimate the impact of cyber attacks

Posted in Governance and administration on November 12th, 2020 by steve

“Cyber attacks on universities can be devastating, with wide-ranging effects for staff and students, data and systems, finances and resource. And the inevitable headlines bring with them potential for reputational damage, too …” (more)

[Steve Kennett, Wonkhe, 12 November]


Is it really fair to blame universities for the second wave?

Posted in Research on November 10th, 2020 by steve

“You may well have never heard of Watton. It’s a small market town in the Breckland district of Norfolk. Early last week it had the dubious distinction of having the one of the highest Covid-19 case rates in England …” (more)

[David Kernohan, Wonkhe, 9 November]

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Why are we letting students cop the blame for Covid-19?

Posted in Governance and administration on October 23rd, 2020 by steve

“If you read the British press, particularly its online iteration, you would be forgiven for thinking students are solely to blame for coronavirus transmission in university cities …” (more)

[Will Green, Wonkhe, 23 October]

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The government is serious about winning the culture wars – universities need to be ready

Posted in Governance and administration on October 12th, 2020 by steve

“Over several years there have been many examples of the worlds of politics and academia failing to understand one another. It can sometimes feel like they are willfully speaking different languages …” (more)

[Ed Dorrell, Wonkhe, 12 October]


Why aren’t students getting clarity on compensation and refunds?

Posted in Legal issues on September 29th, 2020 by steve

“I think we can all agree that right now we should try to provide students with as much clarity as possible. Those were the words of the Office for Students’ CEO Nicola Dandridge, who when asked about (partial) tuition fee refunds on the radio the other day, said …” (more)

[Jim Dickinson, Wonkhe, 29 September]

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English universities must consider partial fee refunds, says regulator

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on September 29th, 2020 by steve

“Universities in England must consider refunding some tuition fees, their regulator has said as it emerged that lawyers are challenging the legal basis of a two-week lockdown of 1,700 students in Manchester …” (more)

[Sally Weale, Helen Pidd and Severin Carrell, Guardian, 28 September]

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Students may have to remain on campus over Christmas amid Covid-19 outbreaks

Posted in Governance and administration on September 25th, 2020 by steve

“University students may have to remain on campus over Christmas if there are outbreaks of coronavirus, a Government scientific adviser has said. Sir Mark Walport, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has warned that students could have to stay in their university accommodation when term ends to ensure the infection does not spread to their parents and grandparents, as well as other parts of the country …” (more)

[Eleanor Busby, Belfast Telegraph, 25 September]

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University are uniquely vulnerable to cyber attack during Covid-19

Posted in Governance and administration on September 21st, 2020 by steve

“This week the National Cyber Security Centre issued its latest alert warning of the threat to disruptive attacks aimed at the education sector, following a spate of attacks on schools, colleges, and universities …” (more)

[Sion Lloyd-Jones, Wonkhe, 21 September]

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‘They see us as heavy-drinking nuisances’: students face Covid marshals

Posted in Governance and administration on September 20th, 2020 by steve

“Dancing, drinking and flirting at wild parties will be firmly off the student timetable this term – even for those tempted to attend an illegal event. Universities are paying for ‘Covid marshals’ to break up mass gatherings and stop undergraduates flouting pandemic rules …” (more)

[Observer, 20 September]

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UK universities predict record student dropout rate

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on September 19th, 2020 by steve

“Record numbers of young people in the UK are starting a university course this autumn, with many anxious to escape a collapsing employment market. But as students embark on a very different university experience, vice-chancellors are worried that many may not last the year …” (more)

[Anna Fazackerley, Guardian, 19 September]

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Could higher education ruin the UK’s Christmas?

Posted in Governance and administration on September 5th, 2020 by steve

“Here on Wonkhe we’ve been trying to piece together the Covid puzzle as best we can over the past few months – asking questions and raising concerns to try to help the sector try to get ahead in its thinking. It’s probably fair to summarise a lot of the recent material as follows. We reckon that there is a significant risk that higher education could amplify local and national transmission of Covid-19, and that this requires better oversight …” (more)

[Jim Dickinson, Wonkhe, 4 September]

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Leaving Cert students to learn details of adjustments to calculated grades process

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 31st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Leaving Cert students are set to receive fresh details this week over how the calculated grades process has been adjusted to try to make results as fair and accurate as possible. The Department of Education is expected to this week release technical details of how the calculated grades system has been completed and refined in light of expert advice and controversy in the United Kingdom …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 31 August]

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Reopening universities could spark second coronavirus wave, academics warn

Posted in Teaching on August 30th, 2020 by steve

“The risk of infection on campuses could see universities become ground zero for a second wave of Covid-19 unless they avoid face-to-face teaching, academics have warned. The movement of an expected one million students around Britain as they return to universities in the next month has led the University and College Union (UCU) to warn the Government is ‘encouraging a public health crisis’ …” (more)

[Benjamin Cooper, Belfast Telegraph, 30 August]

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UK university reopenings risk ‘public health crisis’, academics warn

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 30th, 2020 by steve

“Plans to reopen universities have been thrown into serious doubt as the UK’s largest academic union warns today that it is “too dangerous” for face-to-face teaching to resume, and calls on the government and vice-chancellors to prevent students returning to campuses this autumn …” (more)

[Donna Ferguson and Toby Helm, Guardian, 29 August]

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Students from UK ‘won’t have an edge for CAO spots’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 20th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“UK students will not scoop up extra CAO places on the back of this year’s bumper A-Level grades, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has confirmed. Professor Kevin Mitchell, Trinity’s dean of undergraduate studies, said the university’s goal was ‘to be as fair and equitable as possible to students from everywhere’ …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 20 August]

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Education Minister insists Leaving Cert will not repeat UK results mess

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 19th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Minister for Education Norma Foley has insisted Ireland’s Leaving Cert calculated grades model won’t have the same problems as the UK system. When it emerged that 40% of the grades estimated by teachers had been marked down by the UK process, there were mass protests. This led to a U-turn from the British government …” (more)

[James Cox,, 19 August]

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The U-turn and After …

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“One of the many things that Winston Churchill never said (referring to Americans) is that they ‘… will always do the right thing – after exhausting all the alternatives’. Yesterday the UK Government performed a U-turn on its approach to A-level results but only after extensive protests and after causing immense stress to a great many students …” (more)

[In the Dark, 18 August]

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Pressure mounts for change to calculated Leaving Cert grading system

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on August 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The Government is coming under pressure to change its calculated grading system for Leaving Cert students after similar ‘standardisation’ measures in the United Kingdom were scrapped amid controversy on Monday. Opposition parties last night called for a review of the Government’s plan after the British government made a U-turn on A-level results, abandoning its standardisation process …” (more)

[Jack Power, Pat Leahy, Jack Horgan-Jones and Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 18 August]

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