This lunchtime in Education Questions I asked about the recent Augar Review into Higher and Further Education, which made a number of recommendations to Government. Some, like the idea of lifelong learning loans that could be accessed throughout your life to upskill or retrain, are very welcome.
However I'm concerned that other suggestions, like the proposed Tuition Fees reduction, will lead to a situation where there is less support for people from disadvantaged backgrounds to go to university. Reducing fees might sound nice on the surface, but in reality it's taxpayers that pay for it one way or another either through fees or through increased taxes.
All the evidence suggests that it's living costs and not tuition fees that are the barrier to poorer people going to uni, so whilst reducing fees might make for a nice headline it won't actually help. A loss of funding could put at risk the good work that universities do to support people from poorer backgrounds to get in to university, actually making it harder for those people instead. I was pleased to hear that Government plans to consult widely across the sector on these proposals before agreeing to anything.