News and Views

Statement on the latest course closures and redundancies in the arts and humanities

History UK is saddened, but unfortunately not surprised, by the latest news of course closures and redundancies in the Arts and Humanities. Staff at Wolverhampton, Roehampton, De Montfort, Dundee, Bishop Grosseteste, and other institutions face losing their jobs, with those remaining facing a sharp worsening of their working conditions. They join Goldsmiths in being victims of the recent series of attacks on the Arts and the Humanities.

That these cuts are falling disproportionately on Arts and Humanities and on post-92s is a direct outcome of decades of government policy that has promoted the ‘marketisation’ of higher education, and an ideologically-driven narrative around the value of STEM. That these announcements come in the wake of the REF results appears, at best, cynical and, at worst, callous.

Limiting access to the high-quality expertise that Arts and Humanities offer in post-92s harms social mobility and blatantly ignores the vibrancy of our sector. Research and teaching at these institutions is often highly innovative and greatly contributes to the social, cultural and economic life of local communities. The graduates these institutions produce are also highly flexible and able to contribute positively to society, even if their true worth is rarely reflected in statistics that crudely measure  ‘graduate outcomes’ (in reality, incomes).

Along with the RHS and other scholarly associations, we have spoken out frequently in recent years about the value of History – and of the Arts and Humanities more generally – but we stress again: History graduates are just as employable as those in STEM, they represent confident, well-rounded, flexible, and thinking individuals, and the institutions that enable a diverse section of society to benefit from this education require our support.

History and higher education policy reform: what happens next

Andrew McGettigan


Optimism is in short supply amongst academics, so I apologise in advance for this blog, but recent, overdue announcements mean that the sector is going to endure a period of austerity now that the government has decided that it is only willing to bear a much lower cost for English undergraduate provision: the implications of what has been set out go beyond teaching to challenge the conditions for research in subjects like History.

 

Reforms to student loans aim to steer students towards professional & vocational subjects

Photo by Shreyas Sane on Unsplash

At the end of February, we received the long-awaited official response to the Augar review (published in May 2019, but commissioned by Theresa May in early 2018).

With an end to one form of uncertainty, sector management and policy bodies expressed unseemly relief as it became clear that the maximum undergraduate tuition fee chargeable to home students would be frozen at £9250 for another two years. Augar’s recommendation of a reduction in the basic per student “unit of resource” (fees plus teaching grants) had overshadowed the last 12 months; rumours suggested that it was receiving serious consideration; instead, the Department for Education and Treasury will simply allow inflation to erode the value of its undergraduate financing in the short-term — with no promises for the future.

You would have difficulty finding any acknowledgment from those same sector representatives about the trade-off, since it falls not on cash flowing into their institutions, but comes from the pockets of future university leavers and existing borrowers. For those starting in 2023/24, the repayment period on loans will be extended to 40 years before write-off and the repayment threshold will be lowered to £25,000 before increasing in line with inflation.[1]

This has the effect of vastly increasing the amounts repaid by lower and middle earners. You will have heard much more about the decision to drop the interest rate, but this move will only benefit higher earners: those who would currently repay more than they borrowed.

The government had the gall to suggest that this new settlement was “fairer” and even “just”, but the head of the normally sober Institute for Fiscal Studies labelled this “truly horrible” in its distributive effects. Its modelling suggested that: “Low-to-middle-earning graduates could be made about £20,000 worse off over their lifetime by the changes; the highest earners could benefit by £25,000.” See: https://ifs.org.uk/publications/15955.

The loan scheme aside, the deal gets worse once you realise that there was no announcement about reform of student maintenance support.[2]

These reforms are cynical, but they are also consistent with a desire to “nudge” applicants away from the default of a three-year, full-time degree in subjects such as History and to encourage students to take shorter technical, vocational and professional courses.[3] With the reduction in interest rate and the extension of the repayment period, it will make more sense to reduce one’s exposure to debt and, as a result, one- or two-year courses gain in attractiveness. Income contingent repayment terms originally meant that the headline tuition fee could not function as a “price”, since it did not signal clearly to those who took out loans what they were likely to pay. That is not now the case.

These reforms will begin to change decisions about university beyond the changing popularity and experience of A-level History. In the very short run, there will probably be a late rush to apply this year or to cancel deferrals as for the majority it will be much more expensive to start in 2023/24 than to do so sooner. But after that, I would expect choices to shift the other way.

 

How far will History’s fees go as inflation bites?

There is a further dimension to consider. As the maximum undergraduate tuition fee continues to be frozen at £9250 pa, university management is likely to become less keen on “classroom” subjects, such as History: so-called Band D subjects which receive no additional teaching grant to supplement the undergraduate fee.

As a subject, History’s undergraduate funding benefited in 2012 as the new £9000 fee represented a large increase on the circa £6000 received from fee plus grant in the preceding years. But since then, there has only been one increase, to £9250. Vice-chancellors are now limiting their complaints to sniping over the likely real terms value of the 2023/24 fee compared to 2011/12 (contrast their silence over what graduates will have to repay in future).

Early in the last decade, from the perspective of university management, it made financial sense to recruit increasing numbers to business, law, arts, humanities and social science subjects (Band D): there was a clear surplus to be made, which could then be used to cross-subsidise other activities like higher-cost subjects, capital development and staff research time. As the value of the fee continues to decrease in real terms, that surplus vanishes and the priorities of university top brass – capital development and STEM – mean that unfunded research time becomes a general problem.

That is, in a hypothetical History department where recruitment had stood up over the last decade, inflation would mean that original surpluses gradually reduce to break-even and could, over time, come to be seen as loss-making — depending on how central costs are distributed (think increasing energy prices). At institutions where recruitment is not so strong, the question will be whether fees cover departmental costs and, in particular, the component of staff salaries devoted to research.

 

Further Casualisation? Further Internationalisation?

In this financial context, the viability of a History department’s research culture will now largely depend on the institutional ability to ramp up casualisation further or increase the recruitment of international students (for whom there is no limit on what universities can charge). In practice, there is limited scope for increased international recruitment in some subjects, which will, in any case, be monopolised by the “big beasts” in the sector. In a report this month, the National Audit Office pointed out that “many providers’ medium- and long-term financial forecasts depend on assumed continued growth in overseas as well as domestic student numbers”.

The risks, moral as well as geopolitical, of building a “business model” of charging as much as you can from as many students as you can recruit should not need stressing. But without international students, there is a difficult question about how “unfunded” research can get done.[4]

The sector is financially uneven. The median income for established universities is between £200-£250million per year, but some receive less than half that and others are more than four times larger. Oxford and Cambridge bring in over £2billionsome years. The bigger, more prestigious institutions will increasingly be able to dominate the market for international students and reinforce their historic advantages. Along with these size disparities, there are significant variations in financial performance that are masked by aggregate sectoral figures: worrying numbers of institutions are running persistent and sizeable deficits.

As management come to view unfunded research time as a drain on limited resources, a new binary system will likely emerge, one which sees fewer institutions operating with sustainable research in the arts, humanities and social sciences than was even the case before 1992.

While the squeeze on unfunded research will be apparent across the board, pre-92 universities offer contracts with higher amounts of time for research.[5] Some of these have not fared well in the last five years since undergraduate student number controls were fully removed. High-profile cases include SOAS and Goldsmiths. Wholesale review of research time would potentially be as destructive for them as the current pension dispute. As a result, some institutions may become more prone to consider closing departments seen to be underperforming financially, rather than recognise that they have become teaching-led institutions.[6]

Things could move very quickly in the next few years, and it is important that representative bodies like History UK establish a picture of what is going on in relation to research time, contracts and student and staff recruitment across the sector. While the government talks up efficiencies and market competition, it is important to establish what is being sacrificed to that end. Whatever form the next round of struggle takes, it needs information as ammunition.


Andrew McGettigan writes on higher education financing and university finances. His book The Great University Gamble: money, markets & the future of higher education (Pluto) appeared in 2013. He is an expert on student loan accounting and university business models. Although he mainly works on private commissioned reports, his writing has appeared in London Review of Books, the Guardian, and the Observer as well as the industry press.

 

Notes

1. Those who started after 2012 have “Plan 2” loans, the current repayment threshold is to be frozen at £27,295 pa for two years before increasing in line with RPI. Borrowers are required to repay 9 per cent of earnings over that threshold. Outstanding balances are written off 30 years after leaving university. Interest accrues at between RPI and RPI plus 3 percentage points depending on earnings. See: https://www.gov.uk/repaying-your-student-loan/what-you-pay.

2. Once again, the family income threshold determining access to additional maintenance support has been frozen. It has been stuck at £25,000 since 2008! In a separate earlier analysis, IFS pointed out: “had it risen with average earnings, it would now be around £34,000.” (https://ifs.org.uk/publications/15940). And that would roughly double the number of students in receipt of extra maintenance cash today. Coupled with a below inflation increase in loan entitlements (2.3%!) and ballooning rents, it means that current students are being treated very poorly. In effect, the result is more students trying to earn in term-time, studying less and relying more on commercial lending and, according to the IFS, facing “genuine hardship”. A whole chapter of the Augar report has been ignored. Instead of using higher loan repayments to increase support for those studying today, potential future funds have been sucked out of the sector. At the end of March, with the Chancellor’s Spring Statement it became clear how the future savings on higher education — by making former students pay more back — had enabled many of the measures that were announced.

3. The government is preparing to transform the financing further in 2025, when the Lifelong Learning Entitlement is meant to be launched. At this point, loans will be available for individual modules. The Office for Students is backing a fully fledged pilot in 2022 with some individual modules now designated for student support at 22 institutions. None is a History course. See: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/skills-and-employment/higher-education-short-course-trial/.

4. The Office for Students even recently concluded that the improved ability of London institutions to “recruit globally” represented such a significant benefit that it was no longer appropriate to recognise the “extra costs of operating in London” via the London Weighting grant payment for home students. As a result, the latter — in 2020/21 worth an extra £240 per History student per year in inner London (£150 in outer) — was abolished with a stroke of a pen at the start of 2021/22, saving the OfS £64million per year, which was then funnelled into subjects considered “strategically important”. See: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/consultation-on-recurrent-funding-for-2021-22/.

5. The national contract originally negotiated at post-92 universities seems to present research time as “personal development” and suggests it is done outside of the maximum 38 weeks of term-time and roughly 9 weeks of leave. (See: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/1970/Post-92-national-contract). The latter is not agreed at all post-92s and will also come under increasing strain, with Falmouth and Staffordshire even proposing to employ all new staff at subsidiaries to avoid local government pension schemes.

6. The government’s preference for “strategically important” subjects has been laid down in recent years; there is no guarantee that this won’t also play out in funding decisions resulting from the latest REF.

Inclusive Pedagogies during the Pandemic: Can Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Keep Up?

Adam Budd, University of Edinburgh


ALL ACADEMICS who are committed teachers understand the importance of reflecting, openly and critically, on our own practice. But during the first months of the pandemic, we were so focussed on making the quick shift to digital teaching that it was impossible to find the “safe space” to reflect on what we were doing. While we worried about our students’ unequal access to technology and the lack of evidence to ensure our online assessments were fair, we also witnessed the extent of unequal suffering during lockdown. The Albert Kennedy Trust had advised our LGBT+ students to “press pause on coming out” because escalating cases of domestic violence toward young queer people showed that lockdown at home “was at best a difficulty and at worst actively dangerous.”[1] The novel coronavirus frightened us all but it imperilled an unequal proportion of colleagues and students from Black and South Asian backgrounds, irrespective of socioeconomic context.[2] How could our sprint to support our students, and each other, create the scope for reflective practice on teaching during that awful time?

In May 2020, History UK launched its research-based Pandemic Pedagogy Handbook, “to provide emergency assistance to historians, … as they transition to online teaching in response to Covid-19 restrictions.” Its website tallied 4500 hits within 12 weeks, suggesting its popularity beyond historians.[3] By “emergency,” the authors meant “pedagogical emergency”—but we were facing a cluster of crises throughout that spring and summer. When governments announced the cancellation of final-year exams, and that universities would offer places to school leavers on their “calculated” or “predicted” outcomes, historians anticipated a reopening of the racial disadvantage gap that marked our discipline. For many years “predicted grades” had been lower than “achieved grades” among even the highest-achieving pupils from South Asian and Black ethnic groups.[4] So in line with the commitments we made in our Report on Race, Ethnicity, and Equality in UK History (2018), the Royal Historical Society hosted a virtual workshop in June, to understand the impact of the Covid crisis on minority-ethnic admissions to higher education.

Peter D’Sena, RHS Vice President, observed at the time that “we are not facing a crisis, but rather crises born of racial injustice compounded by a health crisis.” Epidemiologists had explained for years that social and economic inequalities, created and sustained by racism, led to health inequality among minoritised-ethnic communities across Britain.[5] Indeed, by midsummer, patterns of pandemic-related illness highlighted these racial disparities, even when researchers accounted for geographical and socioeconomic factors.[6] In one East London hospital, Black patients were 80% and Asian patients 54% more likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation than white patients.[7] To think about pandemic pedagogy separately from this humanitarian catastrophe in 2020 was as difficult as teaching in a surgical mask in 2021 while trying not to worry about the seats left empty by the variable number of self-isolating students.

When the tough academic year 2020/21 ended, History UK undertook a study of inclusive pedagogy among History departments across the four nations. Led by Dr Sarah Holland, Education Officer of HUK and Dr Adam Budd, University of Edinburgh, History UK are undertaking a series of meetings with focus groups comprising directors of EDI and directors of teaching from 21 HEIs. Having read the RHS report on race, and considered the Pandemic Pedagogy Handbook, in addition to a series of questions, we held our initial meetings with representatives of five institutions associated with the East Midlands Centre for History Teaching and Learning. These provided an opportunity for historians to reflect openly on our practice as educators, in the company of similarly exhausted yet eagerly communicative colleagues who were committed to fairness in higher education.

These consultations consider the key priorities and challenges for History as a subject for inclusive teaching. What work had historians undertaken before the pandemic? Have efforts to mitigate the damage of Covid-19 shifted strategies to extend equality, diversity, and inclusion across historical curricula? Although our departments range in size, demographics, recruitment strategies, and areas of emphasis, colleagues suggest that before the pandemic hit, action on inclusiveness tended to originate among students and staff. But with so many new guidelines coming down from senior administration during the pandemic, the directional flow towards ensuring equality has changed. From 1999/2000, HEFCE (now the Office for Students or OFS) has funded Widening Participation (WP) programmes to help universities recruit and retain students from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas or backgrounds; it also supports access for students with visible or invisible disabilities. Consequently, senior university administrators have pointed to their quantifiable success in WP to illustrate that their campuses are inclusive places for historically disadvantaged students. Interestingly, the shift to digital teaching during the pandemic may have enabled universities to raise their ambitions on access. We have noticed that the phrase “reducing attainment gaps” (which implies a deficit in student performance) has become “eliminating awarding gaps” (implying problems with teaching and assessment). This bolder ambition reflects the apparent ability of all students to engage with digital learning regardless of where or who they are. Similarly, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of disability, which has led universities to showcase online teaching that will reach disabled students without discriminating among or against them.

We see two problems here. The first is that the criteria that the Office for Students and universities have used to define WP originate in the Dearing and Kennedy reports of 1997. By retaining these criteria, universities pre-empt an intersectional understanding of disadvantage that students and their tutors now see more clearly. As we noted earlier, members of minoritised ethnic communities experience life-threatening disadvantage even when we factor for economic and geographical context. But WP funding to retain disadvantaged students has been allocated according to a definition of “at-risk” that refers only to students’ age and entry qualifications.[8] Colleagues we met are calling for an intersectional analysis of recruitment data and strategies, to reflect the broader thinking on vulnerability, equality, and access.

Second, students who can access the internet may not be able to engage with digital content on an equal footing. Universities have funded digital versions of more if not all the content that students need for their courses, and this is an excellent step forward. But even if all students can access the required technology, not all will have a quiet space in which to read, think, and write, free of caring responsibilities. Some students report that their homes become unsafe when they access course content on topics that address sexuality, race, and religion. Attempts to decolonise the historical curriculum take on new meaning when teaching and learning moves online. Whilst some colleagues are painfully aware of the challenges students might face engaging with such material at home, the move online assumed an exclusive learning environment. When students find such matters ignored by celebrations of digital teaching strategies, they may assume that their university will not offer flexibility or support, or that their university cannot recognise why supportive community matters. Whatever the reality, these perceptions are incredibly important and can have a profound impact on the lives of students. Colleagues are pleased by the eagerness of universities to narrow or eradicate disadvantage gaps and to recognise those disabilities that have prevented students to attend classes in person. But this enthusiasm may side-line those students whose experience was never anticipated by major inclusion strategies at institutional level.

Meleisa Ono-George’s critique of the RHS Report on Race, Ethnicity, and Equality in UK History argued that attending to achievement disparities must extend to “a decolonised, anti-racist and engaged classroom” in which students will be “encouraged to be active participants in the classroom community.”[9] Now, as the pandemic continues, students tell us that “classroom community” means something different than it did before we switched to masks, monitors, and deepening experiences of financial precarity. The thoughtful conversations we had about creating “safer spaces” and “fostering community” for our students and for each other, before March 2020, have changed. We now must account for the intellectual, emotional, and economic consequences of infection, associated disability, chronic illnesses, and death among our Black, South Asian, and less affluent students and their families. The Sutton Trust has found that during the past year, 30% of students were less able to afford their studies, and 34% had lost a job, worked reduced hours, or not been paid by their employer.[10] For the first time in a decade, the awarding gap has stopped closing.[11] Many of these students lack the “wider pastoral preparedness” that would build emotional and intellectual resilience.[12] How can universities generate a sense of belonging for these students in the context of such far-reaching yet ultimately personal shifts? These are individual as well as broader crises, and to address them in ways that meet these clear but shifting conditions, senior administrators and teaching staff must work together to understand our students intersectionally. The pandemic offers opportunities to learn, and this will entail thinking about the pedagogical implications of equality, diversity, and inclusion strategies that were created at a different time, to meet different challenges.

 

References

[1] How Coronavirus Has Affected the LGBT+ Community, Bardardo’s, 2020.

[2] Public Health England, Disparities in the Risk and Outcomes of COVID-19, 2020.

[3] A. Merrydew, “The History UK Pandemic Initiative,” CUCD Bulletin, 49 (2020).

[4] G. Wyness, The Rules of the Game, (London: Sutton Trust, 2017). R. Murphy and G. Wyuness, “Minority Report: The Impact of Predicted Grades on University Admissions of Disadvantaged Groups, (London: UCL, 2020).

[5] J. Nazroo, “The Structuring of Ethnic Inequalities in Health: Economic Position, Racial Discrimination, and Racism,” American Journal of Public Health, 93 (February 2003): 277-84.

[6] Public Health England, Disparities in the Risk and Outcomes of COVID-19, 2020.

[7] Y. Wan and V. Apea, “‘49% More Likely to Die’ – Racial Inequalities of COVID-19 Laid Bare in Study of East London Hospitals,” The Conversation, (27 January 2021).

[8] L. Bowes, et al. The Uses and Impact of HEFCE Funding for Widening Participation, Edge Hill University, 2013.

[9] M. Ono-George, “Beyond Diversity: Anti-Racist Pedagogy in British History Departments,” Women’s History Review, 28 (2019): 500-7.

[10] R. Montacute and E. Holt-White, Covid-19 and Social Mobility Impact Brief, no. 2, Sutton Trust, May 2020.

[11] J. Hutchinson et al, Education in England: Annual Report 2020, (Educational Policy Institute); for Scotland, see P. Scott, The Impact of Covid-19 on Fair Access to Higher Education, (Commissioner for Fair Access, Scottish Government, 2020).

[12] See D. Woolley and A. Shukla, “A Call to Action on Widening Participation in the Era of Covid-19,” Higher Eduation Policy Institution, 8 June 2020. For the foundational scholarship on resilience, see C. Dweck et al, Academic Tenacity, (Seattle: Gates Foundation, 2014).

Call for papers: Assessment in History – Reassessing the purpose and future of assessment in the study of history

Assessment in History – Reassessing the purpose and future of assessment in the study of history

LOCATION: Online

DATE: 23 May 2022 (pending UCU strike dates)

OUTLINE: This event, organised by History UK, is designed to reassess the purpose and future of assessment in history. Assessment is a fundamental part of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, but what role does (and should) assessment play in the study of history in Higher Education? And how does this connect with history assessment in secondary schools and the skills required by a range of employers and careers? This event will be an opportunity to address these questions. Case studies will be used to explore how and why different types of assessment are being used in history degrees. Alongside more traditional forms of assessment such as essays and exams, more innovative approaches to assessment are emerging which present opportunities and challenges.

Contributions on any aspect of assessment in the history curriculum are invited. We would particularly encourage participants to think about:

  • The purpose and future of assessment in history UG and PG degrees
  • Assessment and inclusivity
  • Digital assessment
  • Creative assessment
  • Practice-based assessment
  • Assessment for Learning
  • Feedback/Feed-Forward
  • History assessment in secondary schools
  • Assessment and Employability
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on assessment

We welcome proposals for panels or papers that address the theme of assessment in history degrees. Proposals can take the form of individual papers (10 mins), panels (three to four papers on a related theme) or interactive workshops (30 mins). Participants will be invited to contribute to a publication on this theme.

To submit your proposal, please send a short abstract (upto 200 words in the case of an individua paper, upto 500 for a panel) to Dr Sarah Holland (sarah.holland@nottingham.ac.uk) by 12th April 2022.

History UK statement on cuts to History and other disciplines at Goldsmiths

History UK is shocked and concerned at Goldsmiths, University of London’s destructive plans to impose mass redundancies amongst academic and professional staff in the departments of History and English & Creative Writing. These proposals not only threaten the future of these world-renowned departments and the unique identity of Goldsmiths as an institution of learning and innovative teaching. They also constitute an attack on underrepresented histories and the accessibility of History and English as disciplines, at a time when our world needs them more than ever.

Goldsmiths currently teaches the only MA in Queer History in the world and was the first institution to launch an MA programme in Black British History in 2020. These, and other pioneering programmes have sustained Goldsmiths’ identity as a world-leading centre for progressive, creative and critical education with a strong commitment to social justice. To impose swingeing cuts on such dynamic and socially vital departments is an act of cultural vandalism.

The diversity of Goldsmiths’ student body is unique and this cohort and the potentially larger cohorts to follow must have continued access to the teaching of the world-leading academics currently working in the Department of History. Given that many other universities are currently working to secure expertise in these areas following the Black Lives Matter movement and increased awareness of the impact of historical health inequalities during the pandemic, it is remarkably short-sighted for Goldsmiths to treat the irreplaceable experts in these areas as disposable. Such a move would lead to lasting reputational damage and is likely to limit any possibility of return to the secure pre-2020 financial position.

Goldsmiths’ Civic University Agreement states its commitment to working to improve the lives of people in the locality. Two out of five Lewisham residents are from a black or minority ethnic background, while Lewisham is one of the most deprived local authority areas in England. Two of the four priority areas in the agreement are ‘economic prosperity, jobs and growth’, and ‘culture, health and wellbeing’. The socially aware and engaged Department of History makes invaluable contributions to these priority areas: running an Integrated (Foundation Year) degree that supports socio-economically disadvantaged students to return to study; partnering with cultural institutions in London and beyond to provide these students with work placements; and working with schools and community research projects as well as national bodies to further equality of opportunity and aspiration for diverse, and often marginalised, groups. The cuts will make it impossible for the Department of History to continue this work, and it is difficult to see how the University can claim to uphold its commitment to the Civic University Agreement while undermining on-the-ground achievements in this way.

The proposed cuts also threaten scholars from groups that are severely underrepresented and/or marginalised in the UK historical profession. The Royal Historical Society Report on Race, Ethnicity, and Equality found that among UK-national staff, 96.1% of university historians are white, a figure higher than in most other subjects, while under-representation is particularly stark for Black historians. Key recommendations from the Royal Historical Society LGBT+ Report included deepening coverage of LGBT+ history throughout the curriculum, and integrating LGBT+ histories into core survey modules. The Department of History at Goldsmiths scores exceptionally well in both these areas. The proposed cuts will undermine the University’s stated commitment to equality and diversity as a member of the Equality Challenge Unit and a Stonewall Equality and Diversity Champion. They are also at odds with many of the University’s own core Equality Objectives 2017-21.

Contrary to the selective use of metrics by those proposing the cuts at Goldsmiths, which draw on out-of-date NSS results from 2020, the latest figures underscore the quality of teaching in the Department of History. For instance, satisfaction with teaching increased from 75% in 2020 to 90% in 2021, a strong increase given that the average across all subjects and institutions in 2021 was 80%. Overall satisfaction, learning opportunities, assessment and feedback, and academic support all also saw significant increases from 2020 to 2021. In 2021, History was up in all measures except one. Clearly the subject is on a rising trajectory, not failing, and to suggest otherwise is a flagrant misrepresentation of the metrics so cherished by university management.

Moves to cut History and other subjects at Goldsmiths have occasioned widespread condemnation from the academic community, including an open letter currently circulating to protest these redundancies with 3500 signatories and rising (see also a recent RHS blog post). History UK adds its voice to the rising chorus demanding that Goldsmiths rethink these proposed cuts and work to develop long-term strategies to secure these world-leading areas of research and teaching.