Conditions of Registration

How are the Office for Students (OfS) getting on with their registration of HE providers?  There was a report on 2 October over delays to the process and when some more universities were added to this list they contained another with a condition relating to A1 of the register.

With 122 providers on the register it’s still too early to know how the initial registration period has gone, but it was interesting that Iain Mansfield picked up that the three universities* with a condition all have this related to A1 – the Access and Participation Plan.   What about the other parts of the register?

OfS are dealing with the initial conditions of registration, and it’s possible to imagine that they are considering whether to set specific conditions here. Take condition B2:

The provider must provide all students, from admission through to completion, with the support that they need to succeed in and benefit from higher education

The OfS suggest that behaviours that would indicate this condition would be met are support for ‘all students to achieve successful academic and professional outcomes’ and  data suggesting that there’s a ‘reliable and fair admission system’ resulting in successful completion.

We know that some providers attracted attention in the boom years of for-profit college expansion, offering HNDs to students.  We have never really got a full account of how many learners took out loans and just how many completed their courses.  One of the things that the OfS has been charged to do is to bring together the system of course designation that BIS/DfE operated with the HEFCE system.  That’s a core reason we have the new regulatory framework, so we should expect this to be a key test of how it works in a diverse sector.

OfS will have access to data not in the public domain as part of its consideration of registration, but let’s look at some Unistats data for one provider which I spotted**.  This is the rather alarming continuation data for an HND in Health and Social Care Management.  According to the data no students continued or completed the course.

eeek 4

The entry qualifications data for that HND shows that 69% of the students had no or unknown prior qualifications, suggesting that there might not might much evidence of a reliable admissions system leading to successful student outcomes.

Eeek 5

The provider isn’t currently offering that named HND so it’s possible that the continuation data reflects some issue, say where the students have transferred to different course, but data from the five HNDs for that provider represented in Unistats (broken down into seven subject categories), seem to show a similar picture.

Continue at college Complete the course Complete different award Taking a break Left before completion
Business Studies 3 0 0 18 79
Business & Management 2 0 0 18 80
Health & Social Care Management 0 0 0 17.17 82.83
Hospitality Management 1 0 0 19 80
Information Systems 4 0 0 15 81
Computing 2 0 0 13.13 84.85
Network Engineering and Telecommunications 1.98 0 0 12.87 85.15

Data provided to the QAA at its latest monitoring visit put the retention and completion data at much higher points – at least 50% in 2015/16 and 93% in 2016/17, so there must be a big data issue somewhere.  Things can go wrong in the HESA record, but you’d expect something on this magnitude to be picked up.  Unistats data is supposed to be accurate so as to inform applicants about the course.

This provider is part of a group, another part of which has strategically moved out of offering designated courses, but assuming that this college has applied to be an Approved provider it will be an interesting test case to watch.  Hypothetically, if the performance shown on Unistats was really that for B2, would it be so poor that OfS will refuse to put it on the register, or would its risk profile still drive a set of specific conditions with a view to improve?

Excitingly, because the provider doesn’t have sufficient data, it has a provisional TEF ranking.  How long would that last?

The higher education provider meets rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education, and is taking part in the TEF, but does not yet have sufficient data to be fully assessed. The provider may be fully assessed in future when it has sufficient data.

Since we had a change of minister, there’s been a lot less emphasis on the for-profit providers driving up quality and driving down prices in higher education.  There are many providers that were not funded by HEFCE which will thrive in the OfS registration categories, but a key test will be how OfS deals with those whose data shows performance that cannot been seen as acceptable.  An outcome must also be a proper look at the few Colleges who grew to offer thousands of places on HND courses.  The NAO has done some work on this, but this has the potential to be a major ongoing issue, with students having lifetime loans for courses they were unlikely to proceed into the second year of.

 

*having worked at two of these universities, I’m not going to comment on this.
** no names here.  I can confirm these data were on Unistats on 6 October 2018

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Which counties don’t have universities?

A university is a very good thing for a community.  So much so, a community that wants to possess a good fortune must be in want of a university.

In England the geographical distribution of universities is rather uneven, building up from the historical development of the sector.  The twentieth century saw the founding of civic universities in major cities alongside a wider pattern of regional colleges that did advanced work (which later might merge into the polytechnics).

There was one determined attempt to deliver regional planning when the UGC invited bids for new universities.  There were criteria for assessing the individual bids, but the sub-committee that created a ‘batting order’ for the successful universities managed to distribute them around England.  There were also some migrations; when Robbins recommended the CATS became universities, Battersea moved to Guildford to become Surrey and Bristol College of Science and Technology moved to Bath.  Subsequent waves of university creations have filled in more and more cold spots, and towns and cities are continuing to push for higher education in their community.  We’ve noted that Milton Keynes wants a university, that Hereford wants a university.  Where there are still cold spots ‘university centres’ – normally part of an FE college – means there is a presence in places such as Shrewsbury and Yeovil.

But, there’s still an interesting rhetorical flourish to the notion that there’s no university in the county – deployed by the Chair of Wiltshire LEP suggesting that Swindon might finally get one (of course, attempts have been made). But he framed this as a statement:

“We are possibly now the only county in England not to have a university,”

That’s a challenge.  Which counties don’t have universities?

Very quickly you need to understand what a county is.  There are three main possible uses now.

There’s the territory of a County Council, but these don’t always exist and waves of different local government organisation have switched boundaries, especially after 1974.  This gave us new areas such as Avon, Humberside, West Midlands and Tyne & Wear.

There’s a set of ceremonial counties, which are the organisational units for the Lords Lieutenant.  These were set in 1997 and some match the old counties (East Riding) and some the new (West Midlands).  The City of London is its own ceremonial county.

There’s the historic counties.  These have been fluid, with administrative autonomy given to various parts, such as the Isle of Ely, at different times.  These got a boost under the coalition government when Sir Eric Pickles was particularly taken with them, promoting the flying of flags and putting up ‘Welcome to the Historic County of x’ signs at obsolete boundaries.  As a example, Abingdon was once the county town of Berkshire but moved with the Vale of the White Horse into Oxfordshire.  This fluidity is unhelpful in pinning down an answer to our question.

So, if you settle for the ceremonial counties as the best stable list we have, you need to turn to the complex question of what is a university.  What the civic leaders of Milton Keynes and Hereford mean when they say they want a university is that they want a proper university, not a university centre (both have one of those).  When the Wiltshire LEP says it wants a university, it doesn’t mean it wants a campus of a university based elsewhere (Bath Spa, Cranfield and Oxford Brookes all have campuses in Wiltshire).

So, which ceremonial counties don’t have the main campus of a university in them?  Wiltshire qualifies, but so do Rutland, Herefordshire and the Isle of Wight which definitely don’t have a university.  Hereford’s New Model in Technology and Engineering won’t open until 2020 and won’t be a university when it does.  Warwickshire does have one though – Birmingham and Coventry are in the ceremonial county of West Midlands. Warwick University is right on the border, but the main part of the campus is in Coventry.  Warwickshire’s university is Arden – which used to be in Coventry but moved building in 2017 and is now just in Warwickshire.  But Northumberland doesn’t have a university, even though there’s one called Northumbria as it and Newcastle are in the ceremonial county of Tyne & Wear.

And finally, the City of London doesn’t have a university.  It has plenty of branch campuses, but as City is no longer a university, having ceded that status when it joined the University of London, and London Met is leaving its remaining building in the city, it doesn’t have a main campus of a university.

This pedantry probably doesn’t help outside pub quizzes with very carefully set questions.  I’m also making no attempt at the county structures of Wales, Scotland or Ireland. But if the rhetoric of there’s no university in our county helps get LEPs and County Councils behind the notion of investing in higher education, I’m all for it.

[This blog was updated after some discussion of whether parts of the University of Warwick being across the border counted (no) but also the discovery that Arden had moved a few hundred yards. And that Newcastle isn’t in Northumbria.  Oh, and I’d forgotten the Isle of Wight] 

Cheating or Coaching?

There’s a defence used by ‘Essay Mill’ companies that they are providing ‘model answers’ to aid students, and therefore they are part of a continuum of ‘coaching’ activities that might support students in their learning.  The welcome attempt encourage to the Government to legislate needs to tackle this defence.  It is clear that the activities described to students fall outside the common definition of ‘coaching’ and most universities would prohibit such activities but they can only bring action against students, not those who sell these services.

Assessment is integral to learning.  Students are not prohibited from supporting their learning outside the classroom, indeed the model of higher education is predicated upon that.  Students can therefore support themselves in their assessments; there are resources to help students prepare for assessments all of sorts – there are a huge array of books, guides, websites, podcasts, support services of all sorts.  Most importantly students will be provided with support in the module and course for the assessment. This is all support for learning.

Understanding the assessment task is integral to learning.  It is clearly the case that we provide far better information about the assessment in degrees, and many more students grasp what the far greater variety of assessment tasks are about.  I agree with Liz Morrish that this must play some key part in why more students are succeeding in their assessments.  Not only are they briefed, they get feedback on assessment.  No university has seen the last decade of NSS outcomes and ignored assessment and feedback.  This is all support for learning.

Using a generic model answer or plan can be integral to learning.  Understanding how the task demonstrates the learning outcomes, whether that’s knowing how an argument is constructed, information is presented, or a performance undertaken supports learning.  These models are designed to highlight strengths and weaknesses, normally they are annotated and they won’t provide an answer for students to replicate.  They probably won’t be ‘closed’ – a complete work, but showing how the plan is turned into the finished work. Working through a student’s plan alongside a model helps clarify what they are trying to do. This is all support for learning.

Using a pre-prepared answer from someone else is not integral to learning.   Preparing an assessment is not just about replicating the answer.  Looking at someone else’s answer to the same task takes away the learning – the student is supposedly just trying to mould the already shaped response into their own.  If the student is doing their own work, then everything in the ‘model answer’ needs to be rejected; rendering it a waste.  What the student needs is questions not answers to drive them to complete their own work.  This is not support for learning.

Then we come to some unanswered questions that have been posed by many and which undermine the notion of this being a ‘model answer’:

Why is it guaranteed plagiarism proof?

Plagiarism is bad, no university wants it to be around, but why in these ‘model answers’ is so much emphasis put on the purchased product passing through tools such as Turnitin unscathed?  It’s not going to be handed in…

Why are the essays unique to the student?

Linked to the plagiarism question, why would it matter if two students on the same module had the same ‘model answer’? Essay mills will assure you the work is unique. It’s not going to be handed in…

Why are the essays sold by grade?

If the student is using this to stimulate their own work, why do they want to get a 2:2 essay?  Surely everyone would want to try and do their best?     Why would you want to know how to only partially meet the criteria? It’s not going to be handed in…

Why do the essay banks offer a revision service?

Some of them offer ‘free revisions’ until the student is satisfied.  Why does a student need a ‘model answer’ to be revised? It’s not going to be handed in…

Why is this a confidential service?

The companies say that they will respect student’s confidentiality – why would a student be so concerned that their identity needs to be kept secret. After all, the essay’s not going to be handed in…

I think the notion that ‘essay mills’ are providing ‘model answers’ as part of coaching is a convenient fiction, which they think absolves them of any blame. After all, if a student does hand in the essay, they can say that they said it shouldn’t have been handed in.  The student has no redress, the university cannot go after the company.   I agree with the QAA that there are a range of measures that should be taken to make this a less easy option, but I am also firmly of the view that the UK should take the path of preparing legislation that makes this industry illegal.  We can do it properly, with a decent pre-legislative consultation.  Perhaps Parliament can set the ‘essay mills’ an assessment question – why shouldn’t the UK ban essay mills?

There are few earthly things more splendid than a university: Masefield

Graduation ceremony speeches are particular things.  There are the corporate welcomes, with a flavour of the successes of the university, perhaps a heartfelt vote of thanks from a student and in some ceremonies a citation for an honorary degree.  Over these the university has some control and perhaps these aren’t that original in form.  More ‘fun’ is a response from the honoured guest; they bring their own particular style to this.

Often these are insightful, powerful speeches.  Often providing good advice for the graduates, calls to action or wistful memorials.  Sadly, few endure.  One has, however, the response from John Masefield to his award of DLitt at the ceremony which installed the Earl of Harewood as chancellor of the University of Sheffield.  You may have heard parts of it in graduation speeches or read it in the Chairman’s foreword in the Dearing Report.

There are few earthly things more splendid than a university.  In these days of broken frontiers and collapsing values, when every future looks somewhat grim and the dams are down and the floods are making misery, when every ancient foothold has become something of a quagmire, wherever a university stands, it stands and shines; wherever it exists, the free minds of men, urged on to full and fair enquiry, may still bring wisdom into human affairs.

There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university.  It is a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see; where seekers and learners alike, banded together in the search for knowledge, will honour thought in all its finer ways, will welcome thinkers in distress or in exile, will uphold ever the dignity of thought and learning, and will exact standards in these things.

They give to the young in their impressionable years, the bond of a lofty purpose shared, of a great corporate life whose links will not be loosed until they die.

They give young people that close companionship for which youth longs, and that chance of the endless discussion of the themes which are endless, without which youth would seem a waste of time.

There are few things more enduring than a university. Religions may split into sect or heresy; dynasties may perish or be supplanted, but for century after century the university will continue, and the stream of life will pass through it, and the thinker and the seeker will be bound together in the undying cause of bringing thought into the world.  To be a member of these great societies must ever be a glad distinction.

John Masefield, Poet Laureate, at the installation of the 6th Earl of Harewood as Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, 25th June 1946.

Those collapsed values were all too evident in 1946, but it is Masefield’s optimism for the purpose of the university that shines through, and speaks to us now.   Our future might  look somewhat grim too, but we should remember that universities will endure.

An Honorary Test Side

I like the institution of honorary degrees, and with more universities we now have a wider diversity of awards which are made.  Paul Greatrix has run a series of posts looking at this on Wonkhe – including one on sports stars, which I noted he’d excluded cricketers from.

However, with the recent award of Doctor of Sports degree to Chris Read, I reckon you can now get a pretty good English test team of honorary degree holders.

DijiUC5WsAU1hsT

Player

Tests

Runs

Wickets

Catches/
Stumping

University

1

G A Gooch

118

8900

23

103

Anglia Ruskin

2

A N Cook

156

12145

1

162

Essex

3

I R Bell

118

7727

1

100

Coventry

4

D I Gower

117

8231

1

74

Winchester

5

I T Botham

102

5200

383

120

Exeter

6

P D Collingwood

68

4259

17

96

Northumbria

7

C M W Read

15

360

48/6

Nottingham Trent

8

D Gough

58

855

229

13

Bedfordshire

9

S C J Broad

118

2976

417

36

Nottingham

10

J P Agnew

3

10

4

Leicester

11

P C R Tufnell

42

153

121

12

Middlesex

I’ve added Jonathan Agnew to this list, perhaps not the strongest possible member of a bowling attack, but a multiple honorary degree holder given his broadcasting career, having completed his hat-trick of Leicestershire universities with his third this summer.   Others in the list also have multiple honorary degrees.

Some sports careers are just the example that we want to set; in his response Chris Read explained how he set out to continually improve through his career.  In the terms of the NTU rubric, being a person distinguished in eminence by attainments for his contribution to professional cricket.

Differential Fees – still on the cards?

There are still rumblings about the prospect of differential fees, either to reflect costs or return on investment, all in the name of value for money.  Universities set different fees for non-regulated courses; I’ve noted before that there’s a substantial range for international students or postgraduates.

Undergraduate fees had been set by each university, but when the government regularised payment of fees by local authorities a simple set of maximum fee bands were set.  The standard fee was Band 1, courses with substantial practical activity were Band 2 and clinical courses were Band 3.  Courses were allocated to these bands by their UCAS subject code, although exceptional banding could be claimed (and the head of the institution had to sign to say that they’d applied the rules).  There were also rules for modular courses, set out by HEFCE as it tried to migrate institutions to a common funding model.  When HEFCE moved the fee stream into teaching grant these differentials were preserved in the price groups A-D, where A and B still receive additional teaching grant, now from OfS.

The prospect of differential fees on a three or four band basis seems unlikely.  These were funding tools, informing a block grant to a university which could then allocate funds itself.  University resource allocation models could add sophistication to the four bands, but subject to constant muttering about whether subjects which found themselves in A-D received a fair allocation.  There were some subjects that crossed these bands, which, in some years, resulted in a potential incentive to increase costs to obtain higher funds.  (I do wonder how the old band C subjects have done under the £9k fee system – are they still getting higher costs?)

So, how complicated would it be to bring back differential fees? There might be an answer already in action in the DfE in its apprenticeship strand.   There had been  funding caps, but from August 2018 DfE has allocated each of the 550 apprenticeship standards to one of 30 funding band maximums.  The maximum is not supposed to be the price, but only the maximum that can be claimed (it could be cheaper, and less money is claimed, or more expensive so the employer pays more).  Potentially the apprenticeship standards are as diverse as higher education courses, but they are a ‘standard’ with specified requirements and an end-point assessment.

The bands are fascinating.  Here, for example, is a selection of the standards where the fee band maximum is under £6000.

Sector Apprenticeship standard Level Band
HM Armed Forces HM Forces Serviceperson (Public Services) 2 2500
Public Service Business Fire Safety Advisor 3 2500
Adult care Lead Adult Care Worker 3 3000
Adult care Adult Care Worker 2 3000
Aviation Aviation Ground Specialist 3 3000
Healthcare Senior Healthcare Support Worker 3 3000
Housing Housing/Property Management

Assistant

2 3000
Logistics and Supply Chain Supply Chain Operator 2 3000
Transport and Logistics Network Operations 2 3000
Public Service Custody and Detention Officer 3 3500
Agriculture, Env. & Animal Care Pest Control Technician 2 4000
Craft Spectacle Maker 3 4000
Customer service Customer Service Practitioner 2 4000
Customer service Customer Service Specialist 3 4000
Engineering and Manufacturing Textile Manufacturing Operative 2 4000
Administration Recruitment Consultant 3 5000
Agriculture, Env. & Animal Care Poultry Worker 2 5000
Aviation Aviation Operations Manager 4 5000
Food and Drink Food and Drink Process Operator 2 5000
Groundsmanship Sports Turf Operative 2 5000
Hospitality Senior Chef Production Cooking 3 5000
Law Probate Technician 4 5000
Leadership & Management Team Leader/Supervisor 3 5000
Logistics and Supply Chain Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) Driver 2 5000
Protective Services Safety Health and Environment Technician 3 5000
Public Service Teaching Assistant 3 5000
Transport and Logistics Cabin Crew 3 5000

This is differentiation in action.  The maximum for Cabin Crew is £2000 more than a Lead Adult Care Worker.   The groupings up to £9000 include abattoir workers, retail workers, golf greenkeepers, and maritime caterers.  The group from £9000 to £27,000 includes the degree apprenticeships and other programmes at levels 6 and 7, but also some high cost apprenticeships.  Here are some of them:

Sector Apprenticeship standard Level Band
Accounting Internal Audit Practitioner 4 9000
Butchery Butcher 2 9000
Catering and hospitality Baker 2 9000
Construction Painter and Decorator 2 9000
Hair and Beauty Hair Professional 2 9000
Hospitality Commis Chef 2 9000
Management Consultancy Junior Management Consultant 4 9000
Public Service Teacher 6 9000
Public Service Academic Professional 7 9000
Public Service Police Community Support Officer 4 9000
Construction Plasterer 3 10000
Construction Tunnelling Operative 2 12000
Digital Industries IT Technical Salesperson 3 12000
Media Junior Journalist 3 12000
Bespoke tailoring Bespoke Tailor and Cutter 5 15000
Bus, Coach and HGV Bus and Coach Engineering Technician 3 18000
Digital Industries Cyber Intrusion Analyst 4 18000
Building and Construction Architect (degree) 7 21000
Engineering and Manufacturing Organ Builder 3 24000
Boatbuilding Boatbuilder 3 27000
Creative and design Watchmaker 3 27000
Law Solicitor 7 27000
Leadership & Management Chartered Manager Degree

Apprenticeship

6 27000

Although Butcher and Baker have made it onto the list, there’s no separate category for candlestick maker yet.  Academic professionals will note the maximum for your apprenticeship is £9000 (there are full details on the Institute of Apprentices site).

Remember, these somewhat arbitrary bands are not the price of the course, although it’s the maximum that the levy can be used for, a provider and an employer can negotiate a higher price.  Even more importantly the apprentice cannot be charged.  As the government encourages the value for money argument for undergraduates, the prospect of a complex differentiation actually seems less likely.

Students might be grumpy about their fee being £9250, but what if the students in the next classroom are paying £7750 for something similar?  Someone must have decided there’s a rationale for the £3000 difference between a boatbuilder and an organ builder.  Is that just on cost, or on what the market will bear for the employers (surely that’s an aspect why adult care workers have such a low band).  But assumptions about employment pipelines might not work: assumptions that an apprentice watchmaker may stay in that job in a way that might not apply to a student on a BA in Horology.

It’s not obvious how differential fees can be applied fairly to a complex higher education system – the experience of bands for apprenticeship standards shows how complex this would be and they’re not even fees.

A new stage for the last federal university

Federal universities were once the major organising principle of British and Irish Higher Education.  At the turn of the 20th century we had four teaching universities (the Scottish universities), three collegiate examining universities (Cambridge, Durham and Oxford) and four federal examining universities (London, Royal University of Ireland, Victoria and Wales).  The examining universities were organised such that colleges undertook the teaching and the university examined the students.  The federal universities had emerged to ensure the standards at individual colleges, and was successfully growing a wide range of provision across England, Ireland and Wales.

In 1900 however, Birmingham got its own charter, not joining a proposed new federal university for the West.  That precipitated the demise of the Victoria University.  The Royal University split between the National University of Ireland and Queen’s Belfast.  Wales continued as a federation until a 2007 restructure as the main colleges became independent.  This leaves London.

university_of_london

London was the compromise following the founding of the two rivals: UCL and Kings.  Created as a government department to award degrees, it has gone through multiple phases of allowing internal and external students to its examinations.  These were hotly contested, not least through the ability of former students to participate in the debates through a powerful Convocation.

The past 40 years have seen a decline in the federal principle – colleges now award their own degrees, receive their own funding and operate as if they are universities in their own right.  Some shared services persist, but others, such as the University of London Union, have been disbanded as unnecessary (and often unhelpful) duplications. Imperial College (which hadn’t been keen when it was made to join the University) left in 2006 to become a separate university.  In 2016 City University gave up being a university in order to join the University of London – swapping its Chancellor for a Rector and its Vice-Chancellor for a President.

But this remains a curious situation.  UCL, which calls itself ‘London’s Global University’, isn’t strictly a university.  The University of London bill, up for second reading in the House of Commons, changes this again.  The bill is about the way the University of London makes statutes, changing its governance – but the primary purpose is in clause two, introducing a new measure.

“Member Institution” means an educational, academic or research institution
which is a constituent member of the University and has for the time
being―
     (a) the status of a college under the statutes; or
     (b) the status of a university;

This will allow universities to be member institutions of the University of London.  The evidence supplied to the House of Lords notes

This legal situation stems from the University’s history and the description of the MIs [Member Institutions] as “Colleges” is now anomalous and unhelpful. The “College” descriptor also creates reputational difficulties for the MIs in the modern higher education landscape where private and alternative providers find it relatively easy to enter the market, as recognised universities.

Any MI could choose to leave the federation in order to achieve separate university status (as Imperial had to in 2006), but this would weaken the federal University and disadvantage the MI forced into that position. The MIs need to be able to obtain university title, but they wish to remain within the federation: Imperial did not have that choice.

The transcript of the Bill Committee highlights the confusion.  Richard Bull of Pinsent Masons explains that 12 of the members are currently applying to be universities but that although King’s College wants to be a university it doesn’t want to change it’s name, just as Imperial College hasn’t.  Maureen Bolan (Secretary of the University of London) explained:

It can call itself King’s College if it wants to, or just King’s, but it will have university status and it will be on a par with the new providers that are reaching levels of quality and student experience that are nothing in comparison to King’s

Then in relation to the LSE:

LSE, for example, quotes the situation that it often encounters, particularly overseas, where it is the London School of Economics: “So it’s a school?” “No it’s not, it’s a college”. “It’s a college?” “It’s not really, because it’s really a university”. For all practical purposes, it is a university. This sheds light on an anachronism.

Sometimes UCL and Kings are missed from lists of universities because they are not themselves universities.  It clearly it must irk some of the member institutions that new providers are universities and these internationally famous places are not.

There’s some fun to come – City will change back to being a university, but will it get its Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor back?  Perhaps this could allow other universities to federate – could branch campuses get university title and stay inside the group?  It’s unlikely that the second reading will repeat the major parliamentary discussions that happened in the past (except, perhaps, on the issue of representation on the board of trustees).  Meanwhile our last federal university will go on, with one fewer anachronism in its complex arrangements.

Update on Parliamentary ‘Progress’

The bill was introduced in the House of Lords, completing all its stages on 3 May 2018.  It had its first reading in the Commons on the same day, but its second reading has been postponed thereafter as an objection is made each time its scheduled for business. In the Commons a private bill can pass second reading if uncontested.  It’s not entirely clear from the order paper, and the cry of ‘object’ isn’t recorded as against a MP, but Sir Christopher Chope is mentioned (he of the famous philosophy of objecting to private members bills on ‘principle’).  So far it’s been bounced on 14, 21 and 28 June and 3, 10 and 17 July.  With Parliament in recess, it will appear again on 3 September.