IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Scale and scope of private providers in English Higher Education

15 January 2020, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

Graduate wearing graduation cap. Image: MD Duran via Unsplash

Dr Stephen Hunt explores the scale and scope of private providers in English Higher Education.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







CHES Seminar


Room 901
UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way

The Government has placed a great deal of faith in the competitive effects of private and Higher Education (HE) providers addressing the apparent deficiencies of the public higher education system. This includes:

  • substandard teaching,
  • poor outcomes,
  • lack of flexible provision,
  • failure to effectively widen participation. 

This seminar will explore the current composition of the private HE sector and attempt to assess how close it is to realising the government’s ambitions. This will be addressed by exploring the:

  • prevalence of private providers
  • subjects taught
  • educational level at which they are offered.

The placement of the student body at provide providers and their comparative outcomes will be considered when assessing the likelihood of the private sector issues of widening participation. This will be further examined by reviewing the geographical distribution of private providers.

The evidence does not indicate the private sector is positioned to stand as an effective source of competition for standard undergraduate education. It also does not scale of existing provision or scope of subjects taught. The HE sector's contribution to widening participation is likely to be constrained by its geographical concentration in London and the South East.


About the Speaker

Dr Stephen Hunt

Research Associate at Centre for Global Higher Education at UCL

More about Dr Stephen Hunt

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