Year One of our strategic plan

Posted by rsl11 at Dec 07, 2020 11:18 AM |
Find out what we've been up to in the year since we launched the strategy, and read our specific objectives for 2020/2021

Download the summary as a PDF

Just after the EA officially launched its strategy in May 2019, the Augar report recommended that degree tuition fees be frozen for three years, and then reduced by almost 20%. The resulting lost income, the report states, would be replaced by additional teaching grant funding, with funding towards high-cost and 'high value' subjects being rebalanced. This notion of 'high-value' has occupied the Association for much of time since the report was published: how do we help young people (and their parents/supporters) to see the value of the study of English to themselves, the economy, our culture, and our society? How do we ensure that perceptions about graduate outcomes don't become accepted as fact? How do we avoid equating 'value' with high graduate salaries, whilst acknowledging the importance of financial stability for the graduates of tomorrow?

If the Augar report is one bookend to the 2019/20 strategy year, then the recent British Academy report, 'Qualified for the Future', published in May 2020, is its counterpart. This report provides tangible evidence for the benefits of the skills acquired in AHSS degrees to the economy, and shows that STEM graduates are not necessarily more employable, or on track for higher-earning careers than AHSS graduates.

It's great to have this tangible evidence to hand to back up what we already know: that the skills and attributes English graduates have are valuable to the workforce and society more broadly, and that English graduates can go on to have high-earning careers.

However, there are still questions we need to answer, particularly when it comes to understanding the reasons behind the fall in English A Level enrolments. Why isn't this trend reflected equally in every school? What factors are affecting a student's decision to take (or not) an English A Level? In 2020/21 we should focus on understanding this trend, to better inform our strategic activities.

2019/20 was also shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic, a global event which has had an unprecedented impact on education. We don't yet fully understand how education will be transformed; the Association should be facilitating and leading these discussions.

During Covid, we have seen that our members and stakeholders have new and more pressing needs: dealing with the unfamiliar territory of online or home learning, facing financial instability, and managing challenges to the mental health of their families, students, and themselves. We have responded by creating more ways for members to connect with us and with each other, and during 2020/21 we will continue to listen to what our members and stakeholders need from us.

Download the summary as a PDF

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