UK Government Student Number Controls – comment

Today the Learned Society of Wales, the Royal Irish Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh have issued a statement in response to the UK Government’s recent announcement on controlled numbers for English domiciled students, in England and in the devolved administrations.

As the national scholarly academies for Scotland, Wales and the island of Ireland we are concerned with the UK Government’s recent announcement on controlled numbers for English domiciled students.

We appreciate the UK Government’s wish to ensure stability within English HEIs. However, the announcement by the Department for Education in England effectively puts in place controls on institutions based in the devolved nations, rather than working with the devolved governments to find an appropriate four-nation solution for student admissions. Subsequently, it has failed to address the concerns raised by governments, universities and other organisations outside England.

This demonstrates a worrying lack of consideration of devolution, and we strongly urge the Minister for Universities to engage more closely with her counterparts in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to support higher education across the UK at this time

The Learned Society of Wales is the Welsh national academy for arts and sciences. Our Fellowship brings together experts from across all academic fields and beyond. We use this collective knowledge to promote research, inspire learning, and provide independent policy advice.

The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann is Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. The Academy champions research and identifies and recognises Ireland’s world class researchers. It supports scholarship and promotes awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. Membership of the Academy is by election and is considered the highest Academic honour in Ireland.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland’s National Academy, is an educational charity operating on a wholly independent and impartial basis to provide public benefit throughout Scotland and beyond in support of its mission, Knowledge Made Useful. The RSE contributes to the cultural, economic and social well-being of Scotland and the wider world. The RSE’s peer-elected Fellowship comprises 1,600 leading academics and practitioners from across the breadth of science and technology, arts, humanities, social science, business and public service.