Department for Education written question – answered on 1st October 2019.

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Photo of Paul Farrelly Paul Farrelly Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of ensuring that universities throughout the UK adopt system-wide planning process in addition to controls on numbers.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education)

Formal student number controls were phased out in 2012/13 with the exception of capped medical places to enable as many students as possible to access and succeed in higher education (HE). This has enabled record rates of 18-year olds to benefit from a university education than ever before, including from disadvantaged backgrounds. 50% of students are now choosing to study in HE and in 2018, those from disadvantaged backgrounds were 52% more likely to enter full-time HE than in 2009.

One of the aims of the new independent regulator for HE, the Office for Students, which became operational on 1 August 2019, is to hold providers to account for delivering well-designed courses that offer successful outcomes for all of their students.

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