Category Archives: Education

Schools Respond to Threats

First of all, a superintendent isn’t making a decision like this on his or her own, especially in large cities, where the school system is embedded in many other systems that are servicing kids and families. You make decisions about closing schools, in normal circumstances, with city hall, with the police and transportation department — as part of a team that is thinking about how the city functions. You’re changing the entire flow of what’s happening in a city on a given day.  A terrorist threat is not a normal circumstance, which makes it more imperative that you work as part of a team that is thinking about the entire city.

But the decision should be part of the same protocol that helps shape more ordinary decisions around closing schools. In every year, in every school system, you’re going to have to make a set of calls around closing or opening schools where you could be right or you could be wrong. Most of the time you’re going to have 50 percent of the people happy and the other 50 percent of the people unhappy. Whether it’s snow, water main breaks, Halloween pranks — no matter what you do, you’re going to have a sector of the community that thinks that you acted in the wrong way, because it impacted their lives in a negative sense. Here, the stakes are incredibly higher. If the protocols are off, then you compound what is already fraught and extraordinary.

What factors do you weigh when you make these decisions?

The safety of children always comes first. But because there are no guarantees, you are also weighing families and home care, you’re weighing children who are eligible for free and reduced meals and their access to food, you’re weighing issues with teachers and their travel and their ability to get to school and deal with their own family responsibilities in an emergency.

So there are going to be dilemmas. Normally, you have a bias toward keeping schools open and keeping kids in schools. That should be the default. Kids generally are safest at school. On the other hand, there are going to be some circumstances where that’s not true.

In every circumstance, you are going to go with your judgment — that it’s a hoax or it’s a prank or you’re only going to get three inches of snow instead of 12. Sometimes you’re going to be wrong. But I would always rather be wrong in a way that protects the safety of the children. The challenge, of course, is that you have a lot of parents and a lot of children who are counting on schools being open.

The type of decision facing Los Angeles and New York and other districts in recent days seems unique and new because of the threat of political, mass violence — and because it’s happening in a climate that is highly sensitized to that threat of violence. That makes it even more imperative that you’re making decisions in the context of a team of people who are making the best judgment at a specific point in time, with a specific set of facts, bringing expertise that you and your staff might not have.

Some have criticized the LA schools for the decision to close. What’s your perspective?

Without having specific information or being part of those decisions, I think it’s irresponsible to criticize someone for choosing to close schools. Of course, you need to have the real-world understanding that you’re always going to be making these decisions, and you can’t close schools every day of the year because people are saying terrible things are going to happen. You would be surprised how often districts have to make judgments about safety, even if not to this degree of risk.

As a superintendent, you have to know that this is the kind of call where you’ll have a lot of backseat driving. People are always going to be responding to what you do after the fact. Hopefully, as in this case in Los Angeles, they are going to be responding when nothing has happened.

You’d rather take the hit and say, as I think Ramon Cortines did in Los Angeles, “I made the call to the best of my abilities, and as always, I’m accountable.” And if you’ve done your job in advance with the community and your partners, you’re going to have plenty of people who are going to be there with you saying, “The superintendent made the right decision.”

the Good Student

The world needs young adults who are ethically aware, connected to their communities, and ready to dig into the problems threatening the common good. But today’s college admissions process, which can consume teenagers and dictate what they do and value, instead encourages a competitive focus on personal successes and accolades. Colleges admissions do endorse community service, but too often, service commitments become sidelined, trumped up, or perfunctory.

A growing consortium of key stakeholders wants to change that dynamic, joining an effort to reform the college admissions process so it prioritizes concern for others and authentic community engagement. Those goals are part of a new approach to admissions outlined in Turning the Tide, a report from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common (MCC) initiative that has now been endorsed by more than 140 colleges and universities, high schools and districts, and allied organizations and scholars.

To actually change the annual rituals of college admissions is a daunting challenge, since many of us have grown accustomed to the idea that the path to the perfect school means focusing intently on personal metrics. But the report offers a roadmap of practical steps that school counselors and college admissions officers can take to reframe the process. The advice centers on one key idea: The importance of intentional messaging that colleges will place a high value on authentic community engagement and contributions to others.

FOR HIGH SCHOOL COUNSELORS

For high school counselors, already the primary coaches in the college search process, a report that elevates the value of personal commitments and authentic connection can help lead students in the right direction.

“It’s a great tool to have as a counselor, because I can point to it and say this Turning the Tide report suggests that colleges want to see that you’re engaging in authentic service,” explains Sarah Style, a guidance counselor at Newton South High School in Massachusetts. “It gives us an opportunity to say, this is what authentic service means, and this is what it doesn’t mean.”

FOR COLLEGE ADMISSIONS OFFICERS

Changing college admissions is a two-way street. Beyond the work that high schools do, colleges will have to indicate to applicants the value their institution places on community service and ethical development — and what exactly service means to them.

To do that, college admissions officers can:

  • Include explicit opportunities on applications for teenagers to write about community service engagements or significant family responsibilities. Some students won’t explain a service commitment if they aren’t given the space to do so. Applications should also give examples of what students can include in this section. Students may not understand that caring for younger siblings or working on an anti-bullying campaign counts as authentic service.
  • Look critically at how service has impacted students. Admissions officers should use these written responses to assess how service has helped students become more cognizant of their strengths and weaknesses, deepen their understanding of communities different from their own,
  • Ask recommenders to consider how students work with diverse groups.Along with asking teachers and coaches about students’ intellectual engagement, growth, and leadership,
  • Consider the messages imparted through admissions materials. At the University of Washington, for example, the school’s key value is contribution to the common good, says Phillip Ballinger, the associate vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions. “And if that’s not being perceived by families and parents, then we need to make some efforts to change that,” he says.

GETTING STARTED

the University of Washington, admissions readers have a “holistic review process” that looks at what kinds of opportunities students have had in their high school, and how they have taken advantage of those opportunities. Essay questions examine students’ day-to-day responsibilities and commitments. “If they’re already contributing to their community before college,” says Ballinger, “that’s something they’re going to want to continue doing.”

Admissions readers at the University of Rochester are looking for students with a “developmental arc,” says Jonathan Burdick, the dean of college admission and vice-provost for enrollment initiatives. And while grades are important, “we are less interested in that than we are at all the other things they still have left to do in college,” Burdick says. “We care a lot about assembling a diverse freshman class with many different perspectives, and that doesn’t always align hand in hand with higher academic achievement.”

A recent essay question at Rochester has allowed students to more directly demonstrate this path of growth. The application asked students to respond to a quotation from Frederick Douglass, who lived in Rochester, that reads, “Man’s greatness consists in his ability to do and the proper application of his power to get things done.”

Through this question, says Burdick, “The university is trying to enroll and foster independent thinkers who are positive change agents in their communities, and we want to know how they approach that ideal and do that in their own community.”

Undocumented Students

For undocumented students, close relationships with teachers and guidance counselors can make a world of difference, says education and immigration expert Roberto Gonzales. Educators can not only provide much-needed emotional support; they can also be the resource these students and their families need to stay safe and participate fully in their communities.

If a student discloses his or her status and asks for advice, you don’t have to have all the answers right away, says Gonzales, who spent 12 years chronicling the experiences of undocumented young people for his book Lives in Limbo. More important is acknowledging the student’s concerns and telling the student that you’ll figure it out together — and then talk to colleagues, visit local community centers, or find answers online. Tell the student, “I can find ways to better help you.”

SUPPORTING UNDOCUMENTED LEARNERS IN MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL

Help families and children understand their rights. Schools are legally forbidden from asking about immigration status, and some students may not disclose (or may not know) their status. Districts and schools with immigrant populations should communicate proactively with all families, with messages of inclusion and to encourage DACA enrollment and renewal, as modeled by this resource from the Boston Public Schools and by a new BPS website called We Dream Together, designed for students. From early on, they should spread the message to students that everyone can aspire to go to college and pursue interests and career goals. That message should include the fact that undocumented students can legally attend college in the U.S.

 

Create a strong mentoring system. Gonzales identified a single characteristic shared by each of the high-achieving undocumented students he followed: “To the person, they could name three or four adult mentors in their lives,” he says. “These were teachers, counselors, adults within the school community who really helped forge a pathway for them.”

Look to colleges as a model for student services. At the postsecondary level, some colleges have taken the lead by creating resource centers for undocumented students, and these have been effective at providing the specific support these students need, Gonzales says. These resource centers include an identified staff person who acts as a liaison to students in navigating the bureaucracy of higher education. They also provide trainings for staff and faculty, and they convene support groups and clubs for undocumented students.

Stay aware of the challenges of adolescence. Navigating adolescence is challenging for all children, but it’s uniquely so for undocumented children, who may contend with stigma, exclusion, or self-seclusion or secrecy that families often feel compelled to impose. With DACA, “there are more supports to prevent kids from falling off,” Gonzales says. “There are new opportunities for guidance, allowing these young people and their families some breathing room — some chance to maintain their aspirations.”

Students Surviving

For students who identify as LGBTQ or are gender non-conforming, school can be a difficult, even dangerous, place. Especially in the wake of shifts in federal guidance on transgender students, educators can make a difference by openly supporting these students.

WHEN SCHOOL ISN’T SAFE

LGBTQ students can feel “isolated and alone and rejected” when peers and teachers don’t accept them, says Tracie Jones, who runs student diversity and inclusion programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). Children as young as kindergarten can be bullied for not fitting in with typical gender expectations. Transgender students are especially vulnerable, facing more hostility in school than peers who identify as gay or bisexual. According to a 2015 survey [PDF] by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 77 percent of transgender youth were mistreated at school (ranging from verbal harassment to prohibitions on dressing according to gender identity to physical or sexual assault); according to the Human Rights Campaign, transgender youth are twice as likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol[PDF] as straight, cisgender peers.

All of this affects learning. LGBTQ students who are harassed or excluded have lower GPAs than straight peers and are half as likely to pursue post-secondary education. “If you’re constantly in that space of fear, there’s no chance of being able to reach the content and the learning that’s going on in your classroom,” says Tina Owen-Moore, who founded the Alliance School in Milwaukee with the explicit mission of providing an environment that would support LGBTQ students.

Even coming to school can be difficult. When Owen-Moore started the Alliance School in 2005, attendance rates were at 61 percent. Many students who enrolled simply were not in the habit of coming to school because they didn’t perceive it “as a safe or welcoming place,” she says.

Vocal support from teachers and administrators can make a world of difference. Now the Alliance School has an attendance rate of 91 percent, and students are applying to college and focusing on their careers, rather than just trying to “get through” high school. “It’s so important to build a place where young people can thrive instead of just survive,” says Owen-Moore, now pursuing a doctorate at Harvard.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • A deeper dive into the discrimination and harassment that LGBTQ students face, from GLSEN’s 2015 National School Climate Survey
  • A comprehensive report of LGBTQ youth’s experiences and how adults can best support them, from the Human Rights Campaign
  • Resources, strategies, and background information on gender and the importance of supporting transgender students, from Welcoming Schools
  • A toolkit on allying with nonbinary youth and a fact sheet on being transgender, from Teaching ToleranceWe Want to Hear from You

Our country is polarized: How is that showing up in your school? What are you doing to protect students, confront discrimination, prevent bullying, and foster inclusion? Usable Knowledge would like to hear from you. Join us on Facebook and Twitter, using #OneAllHGSE. Send your advice and resources to uknow@gse.harvard.edu, and we’ll share as much as we can

Turkish schools to stop teaching evolution

Evolution will no longer be taught in Turkish schools, a senior education official has said, in a move likely to raise the ire of the country’s secular opposition.

Alpaslan Durmuş, who chairs the board of education, said evolution was debatable, controversial and too complicated for students.

“We believe that these subjects are beyond their [students] comprehension,” said Durmuş in a video published on the education ministry’s website.

Durmuş said a chapter on evolution was being removed from ninth grade biology course books, and the subject postponed to the undergraduate period. Another change to the curriculum may reduce the amount of time that students spend studying the legacy of secularism.

Critics of the government believe public life is being increasingly stripped of the secular traditions instilled by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The secular opposition has long argued that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is pursuing a covert Islamist agenda contrary to the republic’s founding values. Education is a particularly contentious avenue, because of its potential in shaping future generations. Small-scale protests by parents in local schools have opposed the way religion is taught.

There is little acceptance of evolution as a concept among mainstream Muslim clerics in the Middle East, who believe it contradicts the story of creation in scripture, in which God breathed life into the first man, Adam, after shaping him from clay. Still, evolution is briefly taught in many high school biology courses in the region.

The final changes to the curriculum are likely to be announced next week after the Muslim Eid or Bayram festival at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The draft changes had been put forth for public consultation at the beginning of the year.

The subject of evolution in particular stirred debate earlier this year after Numan Kurtulmuş, the deputy prime minister, described the process as a theory that was both archaic and lacking sufficient evidence.

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey is to stop teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in high schools, deeming it controversial and difficult to understand, a senior education official said, a move likely to alarm secular Turks.

Critics say President Tayyip Erdogan and the Islamist-rooted AK Party are undermining modern Turkey’s secular foundations by pushing a conservative agenda, including tighter regulation of alcohol and other restrictions, since coming to power in 2002.

A chapter entitled “Beginning of Life and Evolution” will be deleted from the standard biology textbooks used in schools and the material will be available only to students who go on to university studies from age 18 or 19, Alparslan Durmus, head of the national education board said in an online address this week.

“We are aware that if our students don’t have the background to comprehend the premises and hypotheses, or if they don’t have the knowledge and scientific framework, they will not be able to understand some controversial issues, so we have left out some of them,” he said.

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is rejected by both Christian and Muslim creationists, who believe God created the world as described in the Bible and the Koran, making the universe and all living things in six days.

The Bible presents that as the exact time needed for creation but the Koran says “days” actually means long periods of time.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said earlier this year that Darwin theory, first published in the 19th century, was “old and rotten” and did not necessarily have to be taught.

A lobby group that promotes secular education, the Egitim-Is (“Education Work”) Union has voiced concern at the changes to the curriculum, saying it reduced emphasis on the achievements of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey who banned Islam from public life.

School for the super-rich opens in London’s

School assemblies will be held in a state-room hung with original 1761 green silk wallpaper. History will be taught in neoclassical rooms designed by Robert Adam, and chemistry experiments will be carried out in basement laboratories being converted from what are amusingly described as “Mrs Patmore’s kitchens”.

This is Eaton Square upper school, the first new co-ed private school in central London for decades, which is preparing to open its doors to the children of the super-rich bankers, aristocrats and oligarchs of Mayfair and Chelsea.

On 6 September, the headteacher, Sebastian Hepher, will welcome 96 12- to 14-years-olds through the doors of 106 Piccadilly – a Grade I-listed townhouse, once home to Lord Coventry and for more than a century the location of the St James’s Club. The co-ed school roll will eventually number 450 and the building is currently undergoing a £5.2m conversion – backed by private equity funding – into what might be the most fancily located school in the world.

“Are our parents super-rich?” It is a description that Hepherchooses not to use. He prefers to just say they are “certainly wealthy enough to pay the school fees … which are high.”

The historic building – on some of London’s most valuable land – is restricted by the council for use for social or community benefit. It was previously the London outpost of a Malaysian university. It was once the home of the French ambassador and for 110 years it was the St James’s gentlemen’s club, where Ian Fleming and Evelyn Waugh were members.

Hepher said “a lot” of his pupils live on Eaton Square, the most expensive residential street in the country where the average home is worth £16.9m according to Lloyds Banking Group, and a pleasant 15-minute walk around Buckingham Palace Gardens from the school’s front door.

Other pupils live “in Chelsea, on the Kings Road”, he said. “South Ken today is a hugely international population so the schools are populated by those families, which makes it the richest melting pot.”

Hepher meant rich in diversity, but the parents are also probably among the richest financially. Hepher said stumping up the school fees of nearly £22,500 a year would not be a problem. The fees are actually slightly cheaper than at Westminster School which costs £26,000 a year and St Paul’s, in leafy south-west London, at £24,000.

Eaton Square upper school said demand for places has been much stronger than expected and the school will open with three classes of Year 7s, two Year 8s and one Year 9 class. Hepher had originally planned on two Years 7s, and one class in each of Years 8 and 9.

The divide between academic and technical education

The economic arguments for widening access to higher education are widely accepted. The UK is moving towards a skills crisis that will be exacerbated by Brexit. We are facing some of the worst productivity levels in the OECD, and we have acute shortages in many sectors, with a record number of advertised vacancies. The UK’s engineering industry alone will need another 1.8 million trained individuals by 2025. But we will only be able to plug these gaps if we focus on all learners, and not just those on academic courses.

The Social Mobility Commission’s most recent report notes that the funding and expertise ploughed into widening participation have resulted in more working class young people at university than ever before. But that comes with the large caveat that both student retention rates and graduate outcomes for the same group have scarcely improved in the last two decades.

What is less recognised is that many widening participation strategies are inadequate because they put too much emphasis on academic pathways and thus ignore the majority of learners. This year around 43% of young people will enter higher education having studied A-Levels or BTECs. While access issues remain for many disadvantaged students, those on an academic route benefit from a clear, simple pathway to level 4 (equivalent to an HNC) on to level 6 (Bachelors’ degree) and above. The same cannot be said for the rest of the school population.

Universities’ widening participation strategies have rarely accounted for those in further and vocational study. Faced with a complicated and fragmented system, only 2.4% of these learners navigate through FE colleges to higher education study at Level 4 or above, and consequently face careers which often have little chance of meaningful progression. The social impact of this failure is feeding into an ever more divided society, as indicated by the fault lines shown up in the recent general election and last year’s Brexit referendum.

My institution, London South Bank University, was founded 125 years ago to “promote industrial skill, general knowledge, health and wellbeing to young men and women belonging to the poorer classes of south east London”. We are now pioneering a bold new solution to local educational provision which could help meet this challenge. Through a series of mergers, we are creating a family of educational providers: a group of like-minded specialist educational providers sharing a common approach to educational delivery and linked through a formal group structure. Currently in addition to the university, this includes a technical college and an engineering academy. A tie-up with Lambeth College is also under discussion.

The family of educational providers seeks to address this in two ways – firstly by providing access back into education both through adult education courses and through an Institute of Professional and Technical Education which helps employers to upskill their staff. Secondly, it puts aside arbitrary age-based barriers, allowing students to learn what they need when they need it.

For example, if a student was particularly gifted at subjects such as design and computer science but struggled at maths, they probably wouldn’t fulfil their potential because they would be unable to get into a FE college or sixth form if they failed their maths GCSE at 16. In a learning family with shared educational objectives this learner could start their A-Levels while continuing to study for their maths GCSE, allowing them to take the exam when they were ready. If they made good progress they could even move on to taking foundation degree modules at the university.

The family approach represents LSBU’s response to the needs of our corner of south-east London. It is not prescriptive and will not be suitable for every local area. However, I would encourage all educational providers to engage critically with the ideas in our new paper Families of Learning: Co-Creating Local Solutions to Education System Failings [pdf]. Together we can explore whether they present opportunities to meaningfully widen participation, tackle the skills shortages and boost genuine social mobility.

The University of Law

The University of Law (ULaw) has been awarded a gold ranking in the government-led teaching excellence framework (Tef) – a new scheme managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England which aims to recognise and reward excellent learning and teaching in addition to existing national quality requirements. Here’s a quick explainer on what Tef is all about. The Tef panel judged that ULaw “delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK”.

The Tef panel found (pdf) that ULaw has consistently strong and established links to employers and the legal profession; course design and assessment practices that ensure that all students are challenged to achieve their full potential; the provision of many personalised development opportunities for students; and a culture of professional practice and teaching excellence, which is embedded with academic staff continuing involvement in professional practice.

The awards are decided by an independent Tef panel of experts, including academics, students, and employer representatives. The provider’s undergraduate teaching is assessed against 10 criteria which cover teaching quality, learning environment, and student outcomes.

Professor Andrea Nollent, vice-chancellor and chief executive at The University of Law, said:

“Our students are smart and ambitious and rightly demand the highest standard of teaching, so we are delighted to receive the Tef gold standard. The award is testament to our tutors, all of whom are qualified solicitors or barristers, together with our teaching approach, which focuses on equipping our graduates with the skills they need and employers want. This award builds on our success of last year, when we were voted joint-first for student satisfaction, teaching, academic support and learning resources in the National Student Survey 2016.”

ULaw’s courses include a fully-integrated employability service to maximise students’ employment prospects.

Established in 1912, the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan is the oldest law school in Western Canada, exemplifying a tradition of excellence in teaching, research and innovation.

With a strong history in Indigenous legal education, developing strength in dispute resolution and access to justice, and leading and emerging scholars in the fields of constitutional law, health law, criminal law and commercial law, the college also offers a highly-regarded mooting program, joint degree programs and global exchange opportunities.

*Intellectual Property and Information Law

They frame ways for attorneys to protect client interests in areas as varied as law enforcement, print journalism, pharmaceuticals, fashion design, video syndication, and the arts.

The Concentration offers you a solid substantive grounding in both IP and information law and provides flexibility for you to develop a set of courses that is tailored to your specific interests and career objectives.

*Courses and Faculty

Foundational, core specialty, and elective specialty courses compose the intellectual property and information law Concentration. You are also encouraged to take an experiential course.

For full requirements, current students can log into Lawnet.

For further information please contact the Office of the Registrar or Professor Olivier Sylvain.

Temporary school built for pupils

A temporary secondary school complete with dance studio, art rooms and science labs is being built to house pupils whose academy at the base of Grenfell Tower has been closed since fire raged through the block.

The Kensington Aldridge academy (KAA) is relocating to a new site for the start of the academic year while police continue a forensic examination of the scene. Construction of the temporary school, just over one mile from the current site, is under way.

KAA has been closed since the fire at the 24-storey block of flats on 14 June. Two other nearby schools, the Burlington Danes academy and Latymer Upper school, took in hundreds of pupils for the last few weeks of term.

The school had hoped to reopen in September, but investigations are expected to continue until the end of the year and as yet there is no timetable for the tower to be covered. Staff are concerned about the psychological impact of the sight of the building’s blackened skeleton on children.

KAA’s buildings also need extensive cleaning following the fire and ventilation systems need checking.

The vast majority of KAA’s 900-plus pupils live within a half-mile radius of the school and the tower. Four pupils died in the fire, plus another who had recently left.

Over the next eight weeks, a temporary school is being constructed on land at Wormwood Scrubs, a large open space in the neighbouring borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, about a 20-minute walk from KAA.

It will comprise five blocks of Portakabins, close to Burlington Danes academy. “We had hoped to be back in our usual building by September, but that’s not possible so we are activating plan B. The important thing is that children have as normal an education as possible,” said a spokesperson for KAA

KAA is advertising for a maths and a physics teacher for the autumn term to cover two members of staff who have been seconded to provide pastoral support to students affected by the fire.

Some people who live near the temporary site for KAA have expressed concern at the impact of an extra 960 students – the number enrolled for the next academic year – in an area where about 1,200 children are already attending Burlington Danes academy. KAA is considering staggering its timetable to start and finish at different times to BDA.

“We’re going to be sandwiched between two massive secondary schools,” said a resident of the small Woodman Mews estate. “There is a rationale to the new site which completely stacks up, but there’s been no recognition of the impact on our lives and local infrastructure.”

KAA is negotiating with Transport for London for extra bus services from the Grenfell Tower area to the new site, and is “planning appropriate road safety measures … given the heavy traffic on Wood Lane”, Benson told parents.

The school opened three years ago as an academy specialising in performing and creative arts. It is sponsored by the Aldridge Foundation, which is responsible for eight academies.

the UK is still a desirable study destination

A new 2017 study, published by Universities UK International, The UK’s Competitive Advantage, found that international students in the UK have higher levels of satisfaction than their global peers.

The study revealed that 86 percent of international undergraduates in the UK are “very likely” to recommend the UK as a study destination.  This figure is three percentage points higher than results in 2008.

What’s refreshing for the UK?  These numbers are higher than other significant global study destinations like the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The report also shows that the UK is number one for student satisfaction, with 91 percent of international students reporting that they are “satisfied.”

The drop in numbers of international students studying in the UK is a worry to universities.

“International recruitment figures in the UK over the last few years have not done justice either to the global success of the UK’s universities, or the sector’s ability to tap into this substantial growth market,” says Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK. “At the same time, competitor countries have seen rises in international student numbers.”

When aggressive statements on immigration are made by British politicians and a few days later hit newspapers in India, Pakistan or Malaysia, it’s hardly surprising that as a prospective student you may decide to spend three years and a shedload of your cash somewhere a bit friendlier.

Dandridge says: “The quality of our universities must be matched by the quality of welcome we provide to students.”

Fees are a big worry for many international students, says a British Council survey. High costs and poor exchange rates may be a reason why more international students are doing UK university courses outside the UK now than inside, studying either on satellite campuses or via distance learning – or a combination of the two.

If you’re a student deciding where to do your degree, you have more choice than ever on where to study. David Smith, from Simon-Kucher & Partners, thinks this could lead to UK universities setting different prices for different courses, to better reflect the value of the course you’re applying for.

Worries about getting a job after graduation are particularly hard for international students whose families have made enormous financial sacrifices so they can study overseas.

“A lot of Indian students get a loan through their parents, which they’ll have to pay back. Without being able to work here afterwards, that’s not feasible now,” says Vicki Smith, director of Study in the UK, which offers advice on UK higher education to students in countries around the world.

A visa to work beyond four months after graduating from a university in the UK now normally requires a job with a minimum salary of at least £20,300 a year – and it can be even higher for some sectors. A mechanical engineer must earn a minimum of £24,100, an electrical engineer £23,600 and a design engineer £24,800.

Given that the UK graduate job market is hardly at its healthiest – latest data from the Destinations of Leavers of Higher Education survey shows that the median salary of employed graduates from full-time courses six months after graduation was £20,000 – this means that many overseas students will be heading home shortly after handing their graduation gown and mortarboard back to the hire shop.

And while PhD graduates are allowed stay on for a year to look for work or start a business through the Doctorate Extension Scheme, introduced in April 2013, their university must be willing to continue being their sponsor. This is different to USA, Canada, Australia and Germany who are extending their post-study work offer in recognition of the skills that international students can offer their job markets.

Despite all this, the UK is expected to retain its position as the second strongest market after the US, attracting an extra 126,000 international students, according to a study by the British Council’s education intelligence service.

But with China, for example, investing heavily in its own universities and colleges, there is likely to be a fall in the numbers of Chinese prepared to spend a king’s ransom to study abroad, and larger numbers wanting to apply to do their degree in one of the fastest growing economies in the world.