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Government makes amendments to HE Bill after pressure from students

Tuesday 15 November 2016 Campaigns News

NUS welcomes news that the government has listened to student campaigners and made several key amendments to its Higher Education and Research Bill, but retains serious concerns about the wider impact of the government’s Bill and reforms on students

Earlier today, Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice President (Higher Education), received a phone call from the Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP confirming the changes being proposed to the bill, borne out of the excellent campaigning and lobbying carried out by students’ unions in recent months.

 What are the key changes?

  • The Office for Students board will now have a designated student representative, something which NUS has been campaigning for.
  • There will also be more support for postgraduate research training
  • Stronger protection for students
  • Universities may also be required to provide more information about the gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background of students to ensure fair access.

The full list of amendments to the HE Bill is available here.

While the amendments are a step in the right direction, NUS remains opposed to the Bill and will continue to campaign against it.

Sorana Vieru, said: “While I’m pleased to see the changes we’ve been calling for put in place, the original omission of a student from an office named after us showed the government’s plans for what they really are – driving market competition and not ensuring student needs are met. We still have a lot of work to do to challenge the government’s overhaul of higher education and put better plans forward. I’m glad the government has finally agreed with us that students should be included in decisions being made about them. These amendments show how students can have an impact and influence change if we work together.”

Sorana concluded that “now is not the time to be complacent”, adding students “will be taking to the streets on November 19 to demand our voices are heard.”

Many of the wider proposals will impact negatively on students, particularly the Teaching Excellence Framework and its link to tuition fees.

Overall, the increasing marketisation of higher education is dangerous and threatens the future of the sector.

This Saturday (19 November), students and lecturers will march through central London in a demonstration organised by NUS and the University and College Union, to protest against the government’s damaging education policies.

More information about how you can join our ‘United for Education’ march is available at