It’s time for universities to get their heads around Labour’s interest in skills and training.
The HE team has barely had time to unpack and put on a wash before heading out again, this time to Manchester for the Conservative Party conference. While Brighton witnessed a party that lost an election in buoyant mood, Manchester will see a party that won an election suffering a severe bout of introspection. Higher education will be just one of the big topics under discussion along with Brexit and the perpetual leadership manoeuvres.
Did we learn anything in Brighton about Labour’s evolving policies on universities? Not really is the glib answer but maybe such an answer tells us quite a lot about the present Labour leadership’s approach to higher education. There is no doubt that Labour is committed to the abolition of tuition fees. Even if it wanted to get out of that promise, either because of cost or the growing understanding that there might be other ways to encourage participation, it would now be impossible for the party to drop the pledge.