Subjects object to funding banding

January 31, 1997

Geographers, psychologists and archaeologists are protesting over plans to place their disciplines in the lowest funding band.

Professional groups representing the three subjects were due to meet with Higher Education Funding Council for England officials today and in early February to discuss the proposals, contained in HEFCE's consultation paper on a new funding method for teaching.

They object to being ranked as "classroom-based" disciplines, the lowest of four new funding bands suggested by the funding council, saying the proposed classification ignores laboratory and field-based work, and risks serious underfunding of teaching.

HEFCE compiled its funding bands using data from the 1994/95 Higher Education Statistics Agency finance return. The council admitted this week that there had been "considerable feedback" from institutions about the placement of "a few subject areas" within the groups. But a spokesman added: "The council is examining each case, and considering the most appropriate way to relate subjects to price groups."

Members of the Royal Geographical Society, the Institute of British Geographers and the Conference of the Heads of Department of Geography, were due to meet HEFCE officials today. The joint resources committee of the British Psychological Society and the Association of Heads of Psychological Departments (AHPD) are also scheduled for a meeting; and the Standing Committee of University Professors and Heads of Department of Archaeology will make their case early in February.

Peter Banister, treasurer of the AHPD, said HEFCE's willingness to discuss the issue was seen as a "positive step".

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