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Higher Education Admissions Project

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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Further to my Statement in the House on Tuesday 8 April 2003, Official Report, column 16WS, I am announcing today further details of the project to be undertaken by Professor Steven Schwartz on admissions to Higher Education.The terms of reference of the project will be as follows:

To report to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on the options which English institutions providing Higher Education should consider adopting in assessing the merit of applicants and their achievement and potential for different types of courses.
To report on practical implementation of such options using evidence-based good practice.
To report on the high-level principles underpinning such approaches which institutions would be expected to adopt.

The Group should consider in particular:

The need to reinforce public confidence in the fairness and transparency of admissions arrangements.
The diversity in the missions of providers of Higher Education, and of their students.
Maintaining the autonomy of institutions in academic matters including the systems and processes by which applicants are admitted.

The report to the Secretary of State should be submitted by May 2004 following a period of consultation with universities and the wider public.

Professor Schwartz will be supported by a steering group whose membership will be as follows:

Prof Sir Colin Campbell, Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham.
Mrs Pauline Davies, Headmistress, Wycombe Abbey School, High Wycombe.
Mr John Gardiner, Chairman, TESCO plc.
Ms Janet Graham, Head of the Admissions Office, University of Cambridge.
Prof Sir Howard Newby, Chief Executive, Higher Education Funding Council for England.
Mr Peter Lampl, Chairman, Sutton Trust.
Mr Anthony McClaran, acting Chief Executive, Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
Mr John Morgan, Headteacher, Conyers School, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees.
Dr Bernadette Porter, Rector and Chief Executive, University of Surrey Roehampton.
Dr Alan Stanhope, Principal, Cornwall College of Further Education, St Austell.

In addition, Professor Schwartz and the steering group may seek specialist advice from other persons and organisations.