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.