Govt 'certainly not capping' number of pupils going to university, minister tells LBC

9 May 2022, 08:47 | Updated: 9 May 2022, 09:04

The Government is "certainly not capping" the number of pupils going to university, universities minister Michelle Donelan has told LBC
The Government is "certainly not capping" the number of pupils going to university, universities minister Michelle Donelan has told LBC. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Sam Sholli

The Government is "certainly not capping" the number of pupils going to university, universities minister Michelle Donelan has told LBC.

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Ms Donelan made the remark while speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari.

Her words have come after Universities UK (UUK), which represents leaders of mainstream universities in England, has said that it “strongly opposes” any introduction of number caps.

UUK has said that number caps would limit student choice and entrench disadvantage.

A UUK press release states: "UUK strongly opposes the introduction of student number caps, which would hurt those from disadvantaged backgrounds the most.

"As well as limiting student choice, student number caps entrench disadvantage because students who are unable to move location to attend university have fewer opportunities to apply and be accepted to university, making them more likely to choose a path with poorer employment outcomes.

"Limiting educational opportunities is also counterproductive as the UK looks to upskill and meet the growing need for graduate skills. There were one million more graduate vacancies than graduates in 2022.

Ms Donelan told LBC's Nick Ferrari: "Well, first of all, on the student numbers issue I want to be really clear. We are certainly not capping the number of pupils going to university.

"As a Government we are very much in favour of lifting aspirations. That's at the heart of our agenda - opportunities and levelling up.

She added: "What we are saying is it's right to have a conversation as to whether to Office for Students, who are the universities regulator, should have within their toolbox to tackle poor quality - limiting the growth of poor quality courses.

"[This is] because at the moment a poor quality course can grow and grow and grow, and it's not controlled in any way - and then often grows at the expense of some excellent quality courses.

"So I think it's right that we have that conversation."

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