Simon Hughes to join Open University

 

According to the BBC, Simon Hughes has accepted a post at the Open University, as their Head of Public Affairs. This will be a maternity cover for one year.

The OU site gives this great quote from author Bill Bryson:

What other nation in the world could have given us William Shakespeare, pork pies, Christopher Wren, Windsor Great Park, The Open University, Gardeners’ Question Time and the chocolate digestive biscuit?

We wish him well!

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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16 Comments

  • Good luck to, Simon.

    There’s also news of another former MP. Michael Moore is to chair the Borders Book Festival in Melrose – and is also taking up a post advising Price Waterhouse Cooper on devolution matters. Good like to Mike, too.

  • Great news! As an Open University student who is graduating next year I can’t begin to express how important it has been to me. It gives people who missed out on higher education a chance to study and better themselves and their careers. I wish Simon luck in his role and I hope he can do some good there.

  • Nice to see one of the good guys getting on with their lives. He could – like many others – so easily have accepted a peerage and lived off expenses for the rest of his life. Well done Simon Hughes.

  • Peter Watson 15th Feb '16 - 4:51pm

    It seems ironic that Simon Hughes is joining an institution that has been damaged by the increase in tuition fees and the subsequent decline in numbers of part-time and mature students.

  • Peter Watson 15th Feb '16 - 4:55pm

    @James Gane “As an Open University student who is graduating next year I can’t begin to express how important it has been to me.”
    All the best with that. I am halfway through the final module of an OU degree, hopefully graduating this year.

  • Thomas Shakespeare 15th Feb '16 - 5:01pm

    @Peter Watson

    “Damaged by tuition fees”?!

    You mean happy that they’re getting more funding after the tuition fee reforms? Tuition fee increases were political madness, but they are not having a negative impact on students or unis.

  • Peter Watson 15th Feb '16 - 5:14pm

    @Thomas Shakespeare “Damaged by tuition fees”?! You mean happy that they’re getting more funding after the tuition fee reforms?
    No I don’t mean that at all:
    http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2015/jun/25/save-part-time-students-the-open-universitys-new-leader-urges-mps
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/education/article4359441.ece

  • Peter Watson 15th Feb '16 - 5:19pm

    A quick Google also threw up this excellent looking blog by a Liberal Democrat:
    http://www.tenpencepiece.net/blog/2016/01/21/open-university-student-numbers-fall-a-further-14-in-201415/

  • Peter Watson 15th Feb '16 - 6:49pm

    @Tim Holyoake “I wish Simon well with his appointment at the OU – I’m sure he’ll make a success of it.”
    I certainly want him to be successful, but I feel that his position is weakened by having abstained in the vote on increasing fees (still breaking his pledge) and then taking on an official role to explain the tuition fees policy.

  • Peter Watson 15th Feb '16 - 7:20pm

    @Tim Holyoake “I remember writing on my concerns about his role as an advocate for HE at the time”
    I have often expressed my concerns that claims that “applications for University places are at an all time high” and “young people do not appear to have been put off by the headline cost of tuition”, particularly when linked by Lib Dems to improvements in social mobility, are flattered by changes that made nursing a degree-level career. Nursing is now the most popular degree subject but these students were insulated from Coalition policy by having tuition fees and bursaries paid by the NHS.
    Also, 18 year olds who might have chosen their careers a long time before the Coalition were not offered an alternative by that government so it is a huge relief that they do not appear to have been forced to abandon their ambitions. Many mature and part-time students on the other hand, appear to have put aside plans they might have had for career change, personal development, etc.

  • Trevor Smith 16th Feb '16 - 12:02pm

    The OU is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th Century. Originally suggested by Michael Young with his “University of the Air”, it was taken up by Harold Wilson when PM and implemented by Jennie Lee. SPOCS are a further development in distance learning world-wide.

    Good luck to Simon.

  • Good luck Simon. Open University 5*.
    It took me 6 years as a retiree to get a BSc – after leaving school with no ‘A’ levels.
    Why graduate with a huge debt when you can work while still gaining a good degree?

  • Denis Loretto 17th Feb '16 - 6:06pm

    As a Southwark activist and close colleague of Simon I wish him well in his new post. If he puts anywhere near the energy and action he put into his long term as MP for this area the Open University will benefit greatly.

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