Skip to content

Written Statement - Review of the Regulation and Oversight of Post-Compulsory Education and Training in Wales, with special reference to the future role and function of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)

Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills

Post-compulsory education and training in Wales encompasses higher education, further education, work-based learning and adult and community learning.  Funding pressures and other challenges has led to a broadening of the range of services provided by post- compulsory education and training providers and a blurring of the lines between historic and traditional boundaries.  This has created a situation where post-compulsory education and training in Wales is delivered by a range of providers in a variety of settings.  

The arrangements for the oversight of post-compulsory education and training in Wales have developed over time and are set out in a number of different policy documents and statutes.  This has resulted in an assortment of oversight activities undertaken by a variety of bodies including the Welsh Government, HEFCW and Estyn.  As a consequence, there are different arrangements for, different degrees of engagement with, and different levels of effectiveness in the delivery of a number of oversight functions.
 
Effective regulation and oversight are essential to the good reputation of our education system in Wales.  I have previously indicated that I would commence a review of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) before the end of 2016.  Looking to the future, and with the commencement of the Higher Education (Wales) Act 2015 and the new regulatory system it will introduce; changes to delivery patterns in further education and ACL; the likelihood of future funding and financing challenges; and in anticipation of the report of the Diamond Review of HE Funding and Student Finance arrangements, now seems an appropriate time to review the scope for a better  alignment of the arrangements for  oversight activity  in and between the institutions involved in the provision of post-compulsory education and training.

I have therefore engaged the services of Prof Ellen Hazelkorn, Policy Adviser to the Higher Education Authority and Director, Higher Education Research Unit, Dublin Institute of Technology, to conduct a review which will consider the current oversight arrangements and make recommendations for the future regulation and oversight of post-compulsory education and training in Wales with particular reference to the role of HEFCW.  I have also asked Prof Hazelkorn to indicate whether there may be a need for legislation and new or reformed institutional arrangements to take forward future arrangements proposed in the light of this evaluation. The Terms of Reference for the review are set out below.

Prof Hazelkorn will commence the review in October and report to me in the spring.


Terms of Reference for a Review of the Regulation and Oversight of Post-compulsory Education and Training in Wales, with special reference to the future role and function of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW)

1. To review, analyse and document the current arrangements for the oversight of post-compulsory education and training in Wales, including:

  • Funding of education and training;
  • governance;
  • quality assurance / standards of education and training; and 
  • management of risk.

2. To advise on the effectiveness of current arrangements for the oversight of post-compulsory education and training in Wales judged by reference to other UK nations, relevant international comparators and research evidence.

3. To make recommendations for the future oversight of post-compulsory education and training in Wales with particular reference to the role of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

4. To indicate whether there may be a need for legislation and new or reformed institutional arrangements to take forward future arrangements proposed in the light of this evaluation.