All this work relies on a mixture of on-going research, evidence and monitoring.
Our work in this area aims to identify risks and intervene to address them. New fee and funding arrangements for higher education (HE) came into effect from autumn 2012. In this environment, the choices of students, institutions or employers may create risks for some subjects.
So our work aims to protect against this kind of risk to the future availability of subjects. But it recognises that the new funding arrangements aim to create more dynamism and the potential for self-correction. This means we will only address risks very selectively.
The changes from 2012 also mean that our general approach to subjects at risk has changed. Until now, we have held a single list of ‘strategically important and vulnerable’ subjects. We no longer do this. Instead we focus on risks to the future availability of any subject.
We have already sought – or planned – to address specific risks to subjects. We will continue to support: science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), modern foreign languages, and quantitative social science. All of these subjects we supported through our previous work in this area.
Our support so far includes:
We will maintain on our web-site an up-to-date list of interventions that we are making to address subject risks.
We base decisions to support subjects at risk on evidence, which we gather and develop regularly. This evidence, in part, comes from annual monitoring of:
In addition to quantitative data, we also gather information from institutions, other sector partners and those with a stake in the HE sector.
Using these sources of information we will, in the coming years, analyse and monitor the impact of the new funding and fee changes. Where necessary, we will make collaborative interventions to address risks to a particular subject.
We will publish an annual report which draws together the available information on the future availability of subjects.
Our SIVS Advisory Group oversees our work in this area.
In autumn 2013, we invited a range of key organisations to provide updated evidence on the current risks to subjects in HE. Their evidence and advice is set out in the documents below, along with a short document setting out the themes arising from this evidence, and how HEFCE intends to respond.
During 2011 and 2012, we consulted on our new approach to SIVS by consultation with, and inviting evidence from, a range of key organisations.
Evidence and advice received from five organisations is set out in the documents below.
In developing our approach to strategically important and vulnerable subjects, we have undertaken a formal assessment of their impact on the HE sector in terms of regulatory burden, equality and diversity, and sustainable development.