For the record

November 9, 2001

UK retention rate is second only to Japan
The National Audit Office will praise the university sector for absorbing large increases in student numbers without corresponding increases in funding in a study to be published in January.

A report into student retention and achievement will conclude that Britain's retention rate is second only to Japan.

A report on widening participation will recommend minor improvements in the way funding is calculated and allocated. The NAO is formulating an indicator to show how well institutions are improving access.

Lecturers protest over threat from Gats
Lecturers' unions are protesting about the potential effects of a new global trade round on UK higher education. The trade talks, launched by the World Trade Organisation at a meeting in Doha, Qatar today, could see education opened to full international competition under the provisions of the General Agreement on Trade in Services.

The Association of University Teachers is calling on the Department for Education and Skills to carry out an impact assessment of Gats requirements before the United Kingdom enters any agreement. An international day of action is being supported by Education International, the organisation of education unions worldwide.

Asylum-seeker to stay and study in the UK
Russian asylum-seeker Ann Brodski has been allowed to stay in Britain and fulfil her dream of studying at Queen Mary, University of London. She had faced deportation as an application for asylum and an appeal were rejected. This week the Home Office granted her exceptional leave to remain in the country.

Minister sidesteps call for funding review
Wendy Alexander, Scotland's minister for enterprise and lifelong learning, has sidestepped a parliamentary committee's demand for an independent inquiry into the funding of higher education teaching. But during a parliamentary debate, she said the current funding method needed to be simplified.

She is to respond by the new year to the enterprise and lifelong learning committee's report, which condemned the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council for "profoundly mishandling" its review of teaching funding. She told parliament the way forward was to use her review of higher education.

Queen on the shortlist for university's name
Six names are on the shortlist for the new university that could be formed by a merger between London Guildhall University and the University of North London. They include the existing names and: London Guildhall Metropolitan University; London Metropolitan University; London Tower University; and Queen Elizabeth II University London.

A meeting of the joint committee will review the merger on November 26 and a finaldecision is expected in December.

Tory claims review findings were leaked
Former shadow education secretary Stephen Dorrell this week accused the government of leaking the conclusions of its review of student support before officially announcing the review itself.
Mr Dorrell said in a debate on education on Tuesday that the first indications of the results of the review emerged in the press on October 11 - 11 days before an education department press release announced the review had begun.

Woodhead under fire for attack on standards
Universities chief Roderick Floud laid into former schools standards boss Chris Woodhead this week over claims that higher education is dumbing down.

Professor Floud, provost of London Guildhall University and president of Universities UK, told the University Vocational Awards Council conference yesterday that Mr Woodhead, former chief inspector of schools at Ofsted, changed his tune on so-called "Mickey Mouse" degrees when figures showed media studies course graduates were more likely to get jobs than graduates on average.

Glasgow PhD student 'did not breach code'
Glasgow University found that a PhD student who allegedly misused his position as a researcher into paedophilia did not breach the university code of discipline or code of conduct for using its computers.

University secretary Dugald Mackie ordered the inquiry in the wake of newspaper claims that Richard Yuill had emailed convicted paedophiles. A university spokesman said Mr Yuill had been instructed to modify his research methods, and must obtain approval for "sensitive aspects" from the university's research ethics committee.

Scottish Executive to spend £1bn on science
A science spending review ordered by Scotland's enterprise and lifelong learning minister, Wendy Alexander, shows that in the current parliamentary session, the Scottish Executive will spend £1 billion on science, in addition to an anticipated £700 million for Scottish science from Westminster.

Ms Alexander said that the new data-collection system had established that over the lifetime of the Scottish Parliament science spending would rise by 15 per cent in real terms.

"The baseline that we have for tracking science expenditure in Scotland will show whether we are putting our money where our mouth is," she said.

Football managers find it's 'in my head son'
Smashing tea cups in the dressing room like fictional football coach Mike Bassett is not the only thing that improves player performance.

A national conference at Liverpool John Moores University yesterday demonstrated that sports science is playing a major role in the tactical armoury of the modern football manager.

And if he had not been otherwise engaged, Sven-Goran Eriksson might have learnt a thing or two before England's World Cup game against Sweden at Old Trafford tomorrow. Alongside speakers such as Jens Bangsbo, assistant coach at Juventus and professor of sports science at Copenhagen University, was Paul Balsom, a physiologist who works with the Swedish national team.

Fall in first-degree trainees
Liberal Democrats have asked if the decline in the numbers on teacher training undergraduate courses is a deliberate government policy. Numbers of teacher training undergraduates for 2001-02 are about 50 per cent lower than in 1992-93. The Teacher Training Agency said students wanted to keep their career options open.    

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