Last week, the DfE announced that it was setting up a £12 million fund to encourage employers to offer work experience for T levels. Good news, right? Well, partly. If T Levels are ever going to be a mainstream success as a vocational qualification, they are going to need a lot more employer engagement. I mean a lot. When you have a bold and ambitious policy, you don’t get it to fly by giving it half a feather instead of a full set of wings

I don’t think I agree with the idea of university as a ‘failsafe’, although I’m still not sure I understand what you intend by the word. So I’m going to use Matt Pinkett’s line: ‘Aim for whatever you want to do, and if you don’t get it, well, at least you can go to university.’ That assumes that whatever you want to do won’t be best achieved by going to uni. Obviously, university is not the best route for everything or for everyone, but for the vast majority of the best paid and most secure jobs, it is – if not a prerequisite – at least aRead More →

There is plenty of research showing a significant earnings premium on average for graduates regardless of background. Probably the most comprehensive work is the paper by the IFS ‘How English domiciled graduate earnings vary with gender, institution attended, subject and socio-economic background’. The Sutton Trust has also done many excellent studies on different aspects of this question which is actually a lot more complex than it sounds.

Which is the best university? It’s a seductive question to ask, but that doesn’t mean there’s a sensible answer. League tables, aka rankings, is the nonsensical answer you’re likely to get.

If you want to cut fees to win back the youth vote, you start with the courses that give the lowest financial returns, right? At first glance, this looks like a good idea to a new Secretary of State. So we can forgive Damian Hinds for flying the policy kite of differential fees for STEM and arts degrees amid the announcement of the HE and Post-18 Review. However, after even a moment’s thought, the idea collapses. It is a policy that is misisng a clearly defined intended consequence and yet would undam a flood of unintended ones.  The problem is that all too often kite-flyingRead More →