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Welcome to our February 2018 Newsletter!


At UK Education Guide we try very hard to offer an independent view of UK Education to all our valued site visitors and members, but this month we are clearly taking a stand on 1 issue

Remove students from UK net migration figures otherwise international student numbers will continue to drop.
The UK Government acknowledges that international students provide a net revenue boost to the UK economy to the tune of £20 billion (see below), but still refuses to remove international student numbers from net migration figures, and so international students are a political football to be kicked about by politicians points scoring in the ‘immigration control’ debate. This gives a clear message to international students looking to study in the UK, you are welcome to spend your money here, but our welcome is not wholehearted.

The British people are clearer on the issue - 60% of people think that international students benefit their local economy. 61% agree that Britain’s universities would have less funding to invest without fee income from international students.75% think that international students should be allowed to remain in Britain after graduation, for at least a period of time. Only 22% think that international students should count as migrants.

Post Brexit, negotiating trade deals outside the EU will be linked to a more welcoming attitude to international students, from countries such as India, as Lord Bilimoria in his recent article for the Times Higher Education magazine highlights very clearly:

‘Indian student numbers coming to the UK have been dropping for the past 5 years in spite of the huge demand for higher education and that fact that more than half of the Indian population is under 25. And India invests more in the UK than it does in all other EU countries put together. Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, boasts about achieving a trade deal with India post-Brexit. But such deals are notoriously difficult to negotiate. India has only nine – and not one is with a Western country. That said, the desire for an enhanced UK-India relationship is two-way. India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, the Confederation of Indian Industries and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry are all looking to build ties, too. But Modi has said unequivocally that the international movement of people, especially with regard to education, is critical to the success of any future partnership’.

If Amber Rudd, the new Home Secretary is convinced that removing international students from the net migration figures is the right thing to do, as some commentators have reported, it’s about time she managed to persuade Mrs May to do exactly that.


Skills Gap feature - the gaping hole in IT skills globally - online courses filling the void…


Google and Coursera announce new IT programme
The pair announced a new programme to train IT support professionals — a course written by Googlers for the Coursera platform to teach and then test across six fundamental areas of customer support. No prior IT experience is necessary. The companies say they are filling a need in the tech world today. Coursera cites statistics that say that at the moment there are some 150,000 unfilled IT support jobs in the US alone.The IT Support programme — which is launching globally, but will offer courses initially only in English — has 64 hours of coursework in all, and students are expected to complete it eight to 12 months, at a cost of $49/month.

What we are looking forward to?
BAISIS's (British Association of Independent Schools with International Students) Annual Conference on 9th March in Birmingham at Jury’s Inn hotel. A chance to meet up with representatives of BAISIS's 54 member schools and to hear their news. Also, good to catch up on how BAISIS is continuing to support & promote best practice for international students at UK independent schools. Non-members are welcome-so do join us there

Is it any surprise that the number of first class degrees have increased as student fees have gone up?
A survey by the Press Association has revealed that far from denoting scholarly excellence and a top-notch mind, in Britain a first is today a more likely outcome of a university education than a lower second.

Analysis of official figures for 2015-16 gathered by the Higher Education Statistics Agency shows the share of graduates with the highest possible result has risen by an astronomical 44% in just five years. This sharp increase in the number of firsts is particularly marked after 2012-13, the year in which – pure coincidence? –students were charged higher fees and in which 18% got a first.

The latest figures for 2016/17 have also just been published showing that many of the top ranked Universities are handing out the highest awards. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge both awarded over 90% firsts and 2.1s in 2016/17.


University staff to strike for 14 days
The University and College Union has announced that its members at 61 universities will take 14 days of escalating strike action over a four-week period in protest against changes to UK higher education’s biggest pension scheme that would reportedly make members £10,000 (US$14,200) a year worse off in retirement.


Lesser ranked universities in UK at risk of closure
Since the cap was removed on how many students each university could recruit, institutions have faced unprecedented competition, with popular universities, including Bristol, UCL, Exeter and Surrey expanding. Commentators say this has had a knock-on effect, with middle-ranking universities sucking up some students who before might have accepted places at “lower tariff” institutions.




City Guide to York

York is a beautiful, walled city which was founded by the Romans. It is easy to walk around and offers history at every turn. As well as a gothic cathedral, lively nightlife, famous tea shops, easy access to the countryside, York's ancient street, The Shambles, was the film set for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films.


Places to visit - Start in the city centre…

The York Wall surrounds the city and makes for a great walk with stunning views.  The circular walk around the perimeter of the city can be started anywhere along the route and broken off at any point to explore the city's many fine teas shops for a break. The distance is 2.6 miles and estimated walk time is 1 hour.

The York Gallery is also definitely worth a visit and has a collection which spans more than 600 years and is also a national centre for ceramics.

The Merchant Adventurers Hall is one of the finest medieval guild halls in the world. A Merchant Adventurer was someone who risked or 'adventured' his or her own money in overseas trade bringing back goods and wealth to York.  You can discover 660 years of history here as well as a great cafe!

Finally, a trip to York would definitely not be complete without a visit to the iconic York Minster. It is worth booking one of their really knowledgeable tour guides as you will then really be able to get beneath the surface of this historic building.

A Special place to stay…

There are lots of highly rated hotels in York, but for somewhere special, you may want to point visitors in the direction of the Grays Court Hotel. As well as offering a wonderful garden and delicious afternoon tea, this historic building is the oldest inhabited house in York and archaeologists believe the remains of a Roman gate lay buried just inside the grounds.


Next month, more York visitor ideas-great places to shop & eat…


Pat & the whole UKEducationGuide team

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