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Regional planning and delivery of higher education

HEFCW has been developing a regional dimension to planning and delivering higher education since 2010, following an expectation in For our Future, the Welsh Government's strategy for higher education (HE).

By working with other learning providers and employers, universities would create better opportunities for progression into HE through co-ordinating programmes in community, workplace, further education and higher education settings. They would also increase their responsiveness to local employers, providing better tailored workforce development and easier access to expertise.

Following a consultation in February 2010 (W10/06HE), we defined three regions for higher education planning purposes:
  • North and Mid Wales
  • South East Wales
  • South West Wales

With all HE institutions and directly funded FE institutions in each region to collaborate in developing a strategy, guidance for submitting strategies for planning and delivering regional HE was published in circular W10/16HE in May 2010, with the first regional strategies submitted in November 2010.

We made funding and support available to develop and implement these regional strategies, as outlined in circular W10/28HE which also invited bids for additional funded credits and Regional Initiatives Funding. Circular (W10/29HE) invited submissions for Foundation Degree proposals, again to support the implementation of the regional plans. A further circular (W11/03HE) was published in January 2011 outlining the arrangements for a regional redistribution exercise to help reduce duplication of provision within each region.

The credit allocations for successful regional proposals for additional funded credits and the outcomes of the regional redistribution exercise were published in circular W11/12HE.

In June 2011 the three regions were invited to provide feedback on the 2010/11 regional planning process, and where appropriate informed the process for 2011/12. We published a summary of the responses in Annex A of circular W11/29HE.

Circular W11/29HE set out the arrangements for the continued development of a regional dimension to planning and delivering HE from 2011/12 to 2013/14. Each region was asked to submit a revised strategy that covered a three year period from 2011/12 to 2013/14. Each region was also asked to submit a report on the progress against each Regional Strategy in 2010/11. The strategies for all three regions are published below.

North and Mid Wales

South East Wales

South West Wales

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