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Birkbeck responds to review of HE Sector

Professor David Latchman urges newly appointed education panel to make boosting part-time study a priority.

The Master of Birkbeck, Professor David Latchman, has emphasised the need for measures to reverse a decline in part-time student numbers as the Government confirmed its major review of the higher education sector.

He welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister Theresa May of an independent review of fees and student finance. During a speech at Derby College today, she spoke of a goal of providing “flexible lifelong learning” as well as the need to support part-time study.

The review will focus on four key areas: ensuring access to education for everyone; the funding system; incentivising choice and competition; and delivering the skills the country needs.

Responding to today’s announcement, Professor Latchman said: “We welcome the Prime Minister's announcement of a review of Post-18 education and its funding. It is vital the review reverses the colossal 58% plummet in part-time student numbers over the past five years. To broaden the skills base of the country the review must renew support for part-time students and rethink their funding arrangements.

“It is encouraging to see ‘commuter students’ who live at home recognised from the outset, as they have always been central to Birkbeck’s mission to give working Londoners access to Higher Education. We look forward to meeting members of the review panel to put forward the case for our unique students.”

The panel is being led by author and former non-executive director of the Department for Education, Philip Augar. Also on the panel – drawn from education and business – are Baroness Wolf of Dulwich, who led the Wolf Review of Vocational Education, published in 2011.

Mrs May pledged to use the review pledged to use the review to look at “the whole post-18 education sector in the round, breaking down false boundaries between further and higher education, to create a system which is truly joined up”.

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