A quality agency for higher education is one step nearer, vice chancellors and principals will hear at their meeting in London today.
The membership and terms of reference of a joint planning group to set up the agency has been sent to Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Education and Employment. The group, to be chaired by Sir William Kerr Fraser, has to ensure that the agency is in operation by January 1997, and to make reports to the education secretary every three months from its first meeting in January next year.
But some members of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals feel their council has been bypassed in talks about the planning group. Members of the group include Brian Fender, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England; David Watson, director of the University of Brighton and chairman of the HEFCE quality assessment committee; Mike Laugharne, head of HEFCE's quality assessment division; Gareth Roberts, vice chancellor of Sheffield University and CVCP chairman; John Stoddart, vice chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University and chairman of the Higher Education Quality Council; Martin Gaskell, Director of Nene College and chairman of the Standing Conference of Principals; John Arbuthnott, principal of Strathclyde University and convenor of the Conference of Scottish Higher Education Principals; and Peter Bush, vice principal of Glasgow Caledonian University.