Good morning, colleagues. Before we begin, I have a few preliminary comments. First, we must silence or switch off mobile phones. Neither teas nor coffees are appropriate during our deliberations. I and my co-Chair, Sir Edward Leigh, welcome you all to the Committee. Today we are considering various proposals, beginning with the programme motion. We will then deliberate in private about the questioning of today’s witnesses. Later in the week we will move on to the formal line-by-line consideration of the Bill. We have limited time and have to finish the first question session by 10.30 and the second session by 11.25. Any time spent debating the programme motion will be taken out of the first witness session, but it is entirely up to the Committee how it wishes to deal with that.
I beg to move,
(1) the Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 9.25 am on Tuesday
(a) at 2.00 pm on Tuesday
(b) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday
(c) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday
(d) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday
(e) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday
(f) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday
(g) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday
(2) the Committee shall hear oral evidence in accordance with the following Table:
Until no later than 10.30 am
Until no later than 11.25 am
Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds; Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor, University Cambridge; University of Alliance; Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
Until no later than 2.45 pm
Until no later than 3.30 pm
University and College of Football Business (UCFB); Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design; Further Education Trust for Leadership; Prospects College of Advanced Technology
Until no later than 4.15 pm
Until no later than 5.15 pm
Until no later than 12.30 pm
Until no later than 1.00 pm
(3) proceedings on consideration of the Bill in Committee shall be taken in the following order: Clause 1; Schedule 1; Clauses 2 to 10; Schedule 2; Clauses 11 to 15; Schedule 3; Clauses 16 to 26; Schedule 4; Clauses 27 to 56; Schedule 5; Clauses 57 to 60; Schedule 6; Clauses 61 to 65; Schedule 7; Clauses 66 to 82; Schedule 8; Clause 83; Schedule 9; Clauses 84 to 104; Schedule 10, Clauses 105 to 110; Schedules 11 and 12; Clauses 111 to 113; new Clauses; new Schedules; remaining proceedings on the Bill;
(4) the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 5.00 pm on Tuesday
I am pleased to be here this morning to start the Bill’s passage through Committee stage. I thank everyone who has given up their time over the summer to make the arrangements for us all to be here today, the members of the Committee, those who have submitted volumes of written evidence, and those who will be giving evidence today and on Thursday, who include higher education mission groups such as Independent Higher Education and MillionPlus, and vice-chancellors such as Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz of Cambridge University and Sir Alan Langlands of the University of Leeds, whose universities are affiliated to the Russell Group.
made a declaration of interest. She said that, given that the Bill created a new office for students, witnesses from student organisations such as the National Union of Students should have been called to give oral evidence, as should representatives of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.
said that it was open to all parties to propose witnesses, but that the Labour party had not proposed NUS representatives until so late in the process that they could not be accommodated within the programme motion. He commented that the Scottish National party had proposed witnesses representing Scottish higher education and that they would give evidence in the afternoon sitting.
made the point that the Government’s failure even to consider students’ presence in the evidence sessions before being pressed to do so was deplorable, and that they could have accommodated students on the Thursday, as they had the SNP at late notice.
thanked hon. Members for their comments and said that he did not want the Committee to think that the Government had not been engaging with students.
asked whether there had been any discussions about how the change in the machinery of government would affect the Bill, given that it would be split between two Departments.
stated that the machinery of Government changes had gone through in July and that the lines of ownership were clear.
repeated his view that representatives of the NUS should be called as witnesses, stating that input from students was crucial, and this should be accommodated by the programming motion allowing half an hour on Thursday.