Headlines: February 13th, 2004

As a first move to looking at the impact of variable and top-up fees when they are introduced in 2006, Sir Alan Langlands, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Dundee has been appointed to lead the work. Education Secretary Charles Clarke said last month that he would look carefully at how best to continue attracting high quality recruits to the public sector and the professions. There is a concern that fees could be a real deterrent to attracting graduates to work in the public services.Sir Alan will act as an independent person to oversee the report which will examine how the public and private sectors and the professions can sustain and improve recruitment opportunities for graduates, especially those students who will not qualify for the full 3000 pounds support package.

The review will look at good practice in both the public and private sector and make recommendations to Ministers on action which can be taken to provide clear accessible gateways for all graduates who want to pursue careers in important professions such as medicine, teaching, social care, law, engineering and architecture.

The Public Sector reference group will analyse the support that is currently available through bursaries, ‘golden hellos’, fee payment and loan write-offs. It will look at their effectiveness and future plans beyond the introduction of variable fees in Autumn 2006 and will recommend whether further steps are necessary to address recruitment and retention issues.

Work on the review will start after the Higher Education Bill has received Royal Assent with the aim of reporting to the Secretary of State by mid 2005.