Cuts and policy changes – key concerns for further and higher education

The further and higher education sectors have faced significant challenges in recent years and the future is set to be no different. In our recent survey, professionals in the sector told us that financial cutbacks and changes in government policy are their main concerns.

One third of the respondents perceived financial cutbacks as the highest risk to the sector (with over 50% ranking them as one of their top two risks). Other high risk areas include government policy change (over 40% ranked it as one of their top two risks), student recruitment and staff retention (one quarter ranked both as one of their top two risks).

The overall risk ranking results from highest to lowest are as follows:
  1. financial cutbacks;
  2. government policy changes;
  3. student recruitment;
  4. staff retention and recruitment;
  5. tuition fee policy;
  6. external assessment outcomes;
  7. cyber / technology risks;
  8. immigration policy;
  9. implementing the prevent duty.
Our survey results are a timely reminder of the importance of having a clear business strategy, together with strong business planning in what continues to be a challenging and competitive environment. Can you answer the following questions positively, with confidence?
  • Do you have a clear business strategy, grounded in sound commercial principles and informed by a thorough understanding of the current market and environment?
  • Do you have a strong governance structure with clear lines of accountability and appropriate independent scrutiny?
  • Have you identified the risks specific to your organisation and do you have action and contingency plans to mitigate them? Are these are articulated in a risk registers which are used as a key operational tool?
  • Do you have sound business and operating plans which underpin your strategy and help drive your educational and commercial activities?
  • Do you have a clear marketing plan, aimed at enhancing your profile, maximising your visibility and growing your income streams?
  • Do you have a robust financial plan, informed by risk assessment and scenario planning and underpinned by strong financial management arrangements?
If you cannot answer ‘yes’ confidently, find out how we can help you by clicking here.


Adrian Brook
Nick Simkins

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