“Efficiency and effectiveness”
Higher Education Policy Institute
House of Commons, 21st April 2010
• Carl Lygo
– Chief Executive, BPP Education Group and Principal BPP College
of Professional Studies (BPP Business School, BPP Law School)
– Barrister
– Worked in the publicly maintained university sector (8 years)
and with BPP Education Group for 13 years
• Why I’m here
– To give a non-traditional HE perspective
– How private sector universities differ from the publicly
maintained university sector
BPP Education Group
 BPP formed in 1976 by three accountancy faculty to provide
home study and flexible training for the finance sector
 Floated in 1986 as BPP Holdings plc
 In 2007 BPP became the first proprietary company to gain UK
Degree Awarding Powers
 Also in Ireland through BPP Professional Education
 Also in Holland through Markus Verbeek Praehep/Markus Verbeek
Business Academy
 140,000 clients studying with BPP annually
 BPP College of Professional Studies (BPP Law School, BPP Business School)
 BPP Professional Education (BPP Learning Media)
 Mander Portman Woodward (private schools group 14-18)
BPP Education Group
In 2009 became a wholly owned subsidiary of Apollo
Inc £306 million acquisition (BPP t/o £165 million,
99.8% from private clients)
Professional Education
Law School
Apollo Education Network
• University of Phoenix (US)
John Sperling established 1973, on-line commenced in 1989
458,600 students (as at Q2 Earnings announcement 2010)
7,500 doctoral students
1 enrolment every 20 seconds
66% female students
College for Financial Planning (US)
Institute for Professional Development (US)
Western International University (US)
Meritus University (Canada)
Universidad de Artes, Ciencias y Comunicación “UNIAC “ (Chile)
Universidad Latinoamericana “ULA” (Mexico)
The UK “private sector”
• Private providers who exercise degree awarding powers of the
publicly maintained sector (e.g. Kaplan International Colleges)
• Private providers who support the operations of the publicly
maintained sector (e.g. INTO, Cambridge Education Group, Study
Group) but have no degree awarding powers
• Providers in the UK with degree awarding powers but who are
charities governed by public law – some of which operate a thin
line in relation to the “public benefit” test – enjoying tax breaks but
have none of the controls built into the publicly maintained sector
• What’s left?
• BPP College of Professional Studies – degree awarding body – the
only private sector provider of degree education in the UK
• Academic Council
– Educational authority of BPP
– Voting majority weighted in favour of Independent Members
– Chaired by Professor Martyn Jones, PVC of Kingston University
– 6 independent members, 2 from “industry” (1 QC, 1 from Business), 4 from
the higher education sector
• Board of Directors
– Faculty led commercial board including Deans of Schools
– Non-executive director
• Ceremonial President: Baroness Cohen of Pimlico
• Executive
– Principal, CEO
– Deans of Schools (Business, Law)
– Chief Officers for operating roles – Finance, Technology, Operations,
Marketing, Enrolment, People
Private Sector
BPP Model
UOP Model
• Learning Centres in 14 UK Cities and
13 in other European countries
• Face to Face learning
• Blended learning
• New to on-line
• Blackboard/Moodle/others
• Class sizes typically 12-18
• 12-16 hours contact pw (clients)
• 95% faculty permanent employees
(16 hours max for 2 semesters)
• Centralised programme
• 3 standard “start dates” for degree
• Learning Centres in 40+ States, 200
• Ground campus learning
• On-line learning
• Bespoke e-learning platform
• Moving between modes
• Class sizes average 15
• Large freelance faculty from
industry/other Universities
• Centralised programme
• Weekly “start dates” for degree
• Employed permanent employees
• 37.5 hours per week contract
• 30 days holiday per year plus bank holidays etc plus discretionary
closure days (employee can flex holidays by buying/selling up to 10
• Career levels of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Principal Lecturer,
Professor linked to HE Academy descriptors with appointments
• Typically 16 hours max teaching per week for two semesters
• Salaries usually higher than the publicly maintained sector
• Not part of the University Pension fund
Other services
Academic registry led by the Academic Registrar
Quality Assurance & Enhancement embedded
Pro bono – award winning pro bono service (04,05,07 and 09)
Careers service
Library – both physical and on-line
Student accommodation – use of third party private sector
suppliers (UNITE etc)
• Student societies (sporting, cultural, political, spiritual etc)
BPP Approach
Uncomplicated management structure
Learning and Teaching led
Service culture
Focus on the client
– Supporting career development
– Practical, professional and relevant
– Constantly re-evaluating and testing what the client needs
• Employer engagement
– Invest a lot in understanding what the employer wants
– Employ professionals from the employer base
• Rigorous standards
– High professional standards – we expect a lot
Financial value of education
Source: LSE study quoted Evening
Standard 04/03/10
Confirming similar data in UUK/PWC 2006 report
“The economic benefits of a degree”
Wage premium of relative degrees
Source: CIPD “Value of Degrees
Survey 2006”
*Future Fit (2009)
“Employability Skills” CBI/UUK* defined as:
• Self –management – readiness to accept responsibility, flexibility, resilience, self-starting,
appropriate assertiveness, time management, readiness to improve own performance based on
feedback, reflective learning
• Team working -
respecting others, co-operating, negotiating/persuading, contributing to
discussions, awareness of interdependence with others
• Business and customer awareness – understanding the drivers for business
success – including the importance of innovation, taking calculated risks, the need to provide
customer satisfaction and to build customer loyalty
• Problem solving – analysing facts and situations, applying creative thinking to develop
appropriate solutions
• Communication and literacy – ability to produce clear, structured written work, oral
literacy, including listening and questioning
• Numeracy – general mathematics awareness and its application in practical contexts,
confidence tackle maths problems in the workplace
• Application of information technology – IT skills including word processing,
spreadsheets, file management, and use of internet search engines
How well do Universities prepare students?
“33% of graduating students wish they had
chosen a different course such as a more
scientific/technical course or a business
based course or a professional vocation”
Source: CIPD “Value of a Degree” 2006
Change is inevitable
UK Economy
– “For over a decade we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging
our children’s future for the convenience of the present”
– A crisis that will get worse for future generations
– “The UK is awash with debt – corporately, personally and at the
country level. The country will hit 100% of GDP in interest-bearing
debt somewhere round about 2014” Jon Moulton
– “You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means,
but only for a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that
collectively, as a nation, we’re not bound by that same limitation?”
Change is inevitable
UK Funding for HE
– The current funding model for Universities is older than the NHS
– Price Waterhouse Cooper study shows that 41 Universities ran
deficits through the “boom years” 2004-2008
– Some universities have contingencies for only 12-14 days operation
– 1 University is already spending next year’s HEFCE hand out to pay
– Mergers have not necessarily been the answer (London Met)
– More radical cuts in funding are on their way - Institute of Fiscal
Studies (a further £1.6 billion by 2013)
Full-time job servicing others and chasing public
Ministerial team
58 educational quangos
7 research councils
23 sector skills councils
30 Lifelong Learning Networks
Professional Bodies/Institutes
60% of funding
from the public
40% from the
UK is below the OECD average on HE expenditure as a % of
GDP and the 9th lowest country for the amount of private
spending on HE
Abandoning the 50% participation target ?
• No – how can a knowledge economy compete?
• Last year record numbers of UK applicants were turned away
from University, this year it could be even worse
• UK university graduation rates for young people graduating with a
first degree is below the OECD average*
• 30% of the total UK work force have a graduate level qualification
• The % of 15-19 year olds NOT in education or employment in the
UK is the 2nd highest of all the 29 OECD developed countries, only
Turkey is worse*
• The UK is below the OECD average for developed nations in terms
of the % of population completing upper secondary education*
*Source: OECD 2009 At a Glance Data: Education Directorate
The future?
• BPP offers undergraduate degrees at the top up level fee
– BPP neither receives nor asks for any funding from HEFCE
– BPP’s model involves 12-16 hours contact teaching per week in
maximum class sizes of up to 18
– Degree can be completed in 2-7 years (BPP teaches through
the summer term)
– Professional employed faculty teaching professionally relevant
degree programmes
– “subsidies should go to those most in need” (CBI Proposal)
– “Government needs to welcome greater private sector
involvement in the sector provided it delivers high-quality
provision and value for money” (CBI proposal)
“Stronger Together: Business and Universities in turbulent
times” 2009, CBI
• Here to stay!

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