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Skidmore: Autonomy ‘cannot be sacrosanct’

Institutional autonomy is not “absolutely sacrosanct”, and both the government and the Office for Students should have the power to intervene where there are concerns about student experience, the universities minister has said.

Chris Skidmore told the Commons education committee on 15 May that while autonomy was a reason why universities in England were “world-class and world-leading”, it was important that ministers and the regulator got “the balance right” on institutional freedom.

Skidmore was answering a question from Conservative MP Ben Bradley, who asked about the extent to which the Higher Education and Research Act, which created the Office for Students, had led to a more interventionist approach from ministers and the regulator.

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