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HEFCE backs its leader, some gloomy predictions for university funding and David Willetts gets around

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has taken the extraordinary step of releasing a statement from the chairman of its board Tim Melville-Ross making clear the board’s backing for HEFCE’s chief executive Madeleine Atkins. Release of the statement after yesterday’s board meeting, follows a call from Labour peer Andrew Adonis that Atkins should resign for failing to do enough to address public concerns about vice-chancellors’ pay levels. It says: “Professor Atkins is leading HEFCE with great distinction, not only in the performance of its existing legislative functions, but also in supporting the transition to the Office for Students.”

Alison Johns, chief executive of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education has been appointed chief-executive-designate for the new higher education agency to be formed next year from a merger of the foundation, the Equality Challenge Unit, and the Higher Education Academy. Before joining the foundation she was head of leadership, governance and management policy at HEFCE and is a past president and chairwoman of the Association of University Administrators. She also advises the Association of Arab Universities on advancing women’s careers.

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