Universities to be required to sponsor failing schools

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The government has recently announced that universities will have to help failing schools, if they are to be able to raise tuition fees above £6000.

The recent announcement, which was made by the Prime Minster, will force universities such as York to sponsor schools which are considered ‘failing’ by Ofsted. It remains unclear how exactly universities will specifically interact with failing schools or whether it will be up to the universities themselves to develop strategies for the schools.

This most recent reform follows other changes which will fall under the new TEF framework. This will see universities ranked by a new medal style system. The system will also, controversially, be benchmarked; raising concerns from some.

Speaking to Nouse, University Registrar David Duncan stated that, “The University will participate in the TEF, the details of which are still emerging.

“Our understanding is that the requirement to sponsor schools is linked to the ability to raise fees rather than to the TEF itself.

“We are still considering how York can best make a meaningful contribution in this area, but we already make a significant contribution through the training of teachers, excellent research focused on practical issues and the many hundreds of hours of volunteering undertaken in schools by York students.”

John Robinson, PVC (teaching, learning and students), also commented: “The University is developing its response to the Green Paper consultation on ‘Schools that work for everyone’.

“The proposal there links school sponsorship with the ability to charge university fees above £6000.

“We are already making a significant contribution to widening participation and increasing attainment in schools, but we have concerns about the narrow way in which the Green Paper talks about universities’ contribution.

“In particular we doubt that being the official sponsor of one or a few schools will be as effective as the support work we currently do with over 100 schools.
“Other universities and sector-wide bodies have similar views and, like us, will be contributing to the consultation.”

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