Thanks to an FoI request, Hefce have released to me the membership of the panels overseeing the decisions on ‘bids to the margin’. Tenders for the extra 20 000 places were to be assessed on ‘quality, demand and price’. Hefce received applications for 35 811 additional places from 201 institutions (34 of which were higher education institutions, the rest were from FE colleges).
On the initial decisions made at the end of January, around half of those places went to the FE colleges.
I understand there are appeals in process by affected universities. Most appeals succeed by querying the process by which decisions were made. Here’s how Hefce did conducted the exercise.
An internal panel comprising a handful of Hefce officers made the initial sift of applications. Each bid was read by two assessors who operated a ‘triage’ system recommending ‘approve’, ‘reject’ or ‘further consideration by expert panel needed’.
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