IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


The politicisation of the regulation of higher education in England

25 July 2022, 4:00 pm–5:30 pm

Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE) logo. IOE/UCL.

Join this event to hear differing perspectives of the OfS from Professor Paul Ashwin and former Education Minister, the Rt Hon Charles Clarke.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Carly Brownbridge


Room 901
20 Bedford Way

The Office for Students (OfS) is officially the independent regulator of higher education in England, which regulates higher education in the interests of all students. However, it has increasingly appeared to be regulating in the interests of the government by following the agenda set by government ministers. This is in stark contrast to the arms-length approach previously taken by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) which the OfS replaced. 

This new politicised approach to regulation raises questions about the independence of the OfS, the extent to which the OfS is regulating in the interests of students, its expertise to make judgements about educational quality and the impact of its approach on the health of the English higher education system. 

This event will be particularly useful for those interested in higher education.

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About the Speakers

Rt Hon Charles Clarke

He was the Member of Parliament for Norwich South from 1997 to 2010. He served as Education Minister from 1998 and then in the Home Office from 1999 to 2001. He then joined the Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio and Labour Party Chair. From 2002 to 2004 he was Secretary of State for Education and Skills and then Home Secretary until 2006.

Professor Paul Ashwin

Professor of Higher Education and Head of the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University

His research is focused on the educational role of higher education. His book, ‘Transforming University Education: A Manifesto’ (2020), argues for a focus on the educational, rather than economic, purposes of university degrees in order to understand their transformational impact on students and societies.