Today’s Education in the Media blog looks a report by the University and College Union about university vice-chancellors and remuneration bodies and the Secretary of State's tour of the Midlands and North East.
University Vice-Chancellor pay
Today, Thursday 15 February, the Guardian, The Times and the Daily Mail all covered the report, which claims just under half (47%) of vice-chancellors are members of their own remuneration bodies.
The data, obtained through freedom of information requests, is based on responses from 143 institutions.
The Department for Education is very clear that vice-chancellors should not be attending their own remuneration committees.
While universities are autonomous, students and taxpayers contribute to our higher education system and are therefore entitled to expect value for money.
Universities UK has made clear that the Committee of University Chair's (CUC) new remuneration code, currently being consulted upon, will provide important guidance for remuneration committees to ensure senior pay decisions are fair, accountable and justified.
We have recently set up a new regulator for the university sector, the Office for Students (OfS), which will go further in holding universities to account.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Senior pay arrangements must command public confidence and deliver value for money for both students and taxpayers.
It should not be the case that vice-chancellors sit on the remuneration committees that set their salary, nor should we be seeing unjustified and excessive pay rises. The draft remuneration code from the Committee of University Chairs, which is currently out for consultation, reiterates the importance of independent and transparent remuneration committees. We encourage all interested parties to respond.
Secretary of State tour
Yesterday, Wednesday 14 February, Education Secretary Damian Hinds visited Spring Nursery in Stockton, where he met children using the centre during half-term. The Secretary of State also met with East Cleveland MP Simon Clarke and spoke with school leaders during his tour of the region.
Earlier in the week, Damian Hinds visited Fylde College in Blackpool, where he met with students at the college’s Nautical Campus. The visits were covered by the Blackpool Gazette and The Northern Echo.
See video footage from the Secretary of State’s tour here.