Thursday, 10 November 2016

Applications Open for Chair of New Office for Students

Applications are open for the position of chair of the government’s Office for Students, a new body designed to increase competition and choice in higher education.

The Office for Students was set up in recognition of the need to reform higher education to ensure the sector fulfils its potential and maintains its global standing.

The office’s remit will combine the existing regulatory functions of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). The Office for Students (OfS) will act as a single body to regulate the sector with a strong focus on choice and competition. This includes a renewed focus on widening participation and ensuring more students from disadvantaged backgrounds can benefit from studying at UK universities.

The OfS chair will be tasked with leading the creation of the OfS and setting out its direction in the coming years working with the executive team and the board. The chair will also take a leading role in the formation of the OfS including advising the Secretary of State on the recruitment and selection of the non-executive board and the key executive positions of chief executive and director for fair access and participation, ensuring they incorporate a range of experience noted in the bill and reflect the diversity of the sector.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said “By creating the Office for Students, we will put student choice, teaching quality and social mobility at the top of the agenda in higher education.

The role of the chair will be vital in delivering this aim and ensuring there is direct link with the sector. I look forward to working with the successful applicant on delivering these important reforms.”

The NUS has serious misgivings about the new Office for Students and has pointed out that despite the title of the department being the Office FOR Students, not one single student representative has been included on the board or the panel responsible for recruiting the chair. They are encouraging students to make their voices heard by applying for the post themselves!

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