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New inquiry to examine whether ‘challenger institutions’ offer a genuine choice to students

New inquiry to examine whether ‘challenger institutions’ offer a genuine choice to students

5th December 2016

New inquiry to examine whether ‘challenger institutions’ offer a genuine choice to students?

  • Higher Education inquiry to investigate innovative practices taking place in alternative models of higher education provision
  • Lord Norton to launch new inquiry on December 5th• Call for evidence to be issued in the New YearA new parliamentary-led inquiry will be launched today (Monday 5th December) to investigate innovation in alternative models of delivering Higher Education. 

This follows the highly prestigious From Bricks to Clicks inquiry report which investigated the potential of data analytics in HE and how providers could use data to better deliver education. 

The six-month inquiry is being conducted by the Higher Education Commission, a cross-party group of parliamentarians and leading representatives from business, industry, and the public sector. It is being chaired by Lord Norton of Louth and Professor Joy Carter, Vice Chancellor of the University of Winchester. 

The inquiry’s final report will be launched in June 2017 and will make a series of key recommendations designed to promote good practice ahead of the Higher Education and Research Bill which is currently making its way through the House of Lords. The Bill will introduce a new regulatory architecture which will relax regulations to allow high quality entrants to enter the market. The Commission wants to investigate a broad spectrum of higher education institutions providing alternative models of provision which differ from the campus-based three year undergraduate course. 

With the Higher Education and Research Bill set to instigate huge regulatory changes, it is important to consider whether the newer so-called ‘challenger institutions’ – who may offer alternative models of provision – are genuinely expanding the choice for students in the market. The inquiry will examine whether these institutions offer a distinct alternative and offer recommendations for cross-sector learning. 

The Higher Education Commission will issue a call for evidence in the New Year, calling for insights from sector bodies, employers, and universities on the innovation taking place in institutions providing an alternative model of provision. We invite anyone who wishes to give evidence, please contact Pooja Kumari, Senior Researcher at Policy Connect on or 0207 202 8583.