Update: 14:25

March 5, 2003

Blair defends widening university access
Prime minister Tony Blair has defended moves to get more children from poorer backgrounds into university after being challenged by a Norfolk MP. Amid controversy over admission "quotas" and speculation of possible government splits on the issue, he told the House of Commons it was important to do "everything we can" to widen access.

Hefce chief defends Bristol admissions procedures
Bristol University's admissions procedures are fair, the head of the Higher Education Funding Council told the House of Commons select committee on education today. Sir Howard Newby said he had accepted assurances from Bristol that itsadmissions policies were "equitable" and accused some sections of the media of getting into a "moral panic" about positive discrimination against middleclass students.

HE sector offers cost-effective conference venues
Colleges and universities are winning an increasing amount of work to stage conferences because more established venues have become too costly, according to a report by Hertforshire University academics.

Duke receives honorary degree at London Metropolitan
The Duke of Edinburgh exercised his celebrated wit when he received an honorary degree from London Metropolitan University today. After listening to a long list of his achievements and contributions, he said: "I was wondering who the hell he was talking about!"

Edinburgh aims to walk dogs into the record books
Edinburgh University is organising a world record dog-walking attempt, involving more than 3,000 pets, to boost funds for its £80,000 Dick Vet small animal hospital ultrasound appeal. The May 11 event, during national pet week, aims to break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of dogs walking a three-mile course.

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