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The arrogance of student numbers decision

The response to the decision not to cap student numbers has been incredulity, says Jennifer Richardson, and it just proves that - once again - the government isn't listening

Cop-out of the week comes from universities minister Greg Clark, who has instructed education bodies to ensure applicants are aware that studying pharmacy does not guarantee a pre-reg place.

This is his response to a consultation in which the majority of over 180 respondents from health, government and higher education supported a cap on pharmacy student numbers, which Mr Clark believes "there is no need to consider". As CCA chief executive Rob Darracott tweeted incredulously: "Three years' evidential/expert work dismissed by yet another minister's ‘beliefs'."

A spokesperson for Mr Clark's department (BIS) rather chippily tells us that the consultation "is not a vote on government policy". Of course not: the government and therefore its ministers have been elected by the public to make rounded decisions on our behalf – and they have to take into account opposing interests.

It demonstrates staggering arrogance to go against a majority verdict while refusing to explain how you arrived at that decision

So C+D invited BIS to clarify the "other sources of evidence available to the minister" that it said were considered alongside the consultation – but it declined. Regardless of your view on student number capping, as an elected representative it demonstrates staggering arrogance to go against a majority verdict while refusing to explain why and how you arrived at that decision.

Jennifer Richardson, Editor [email protected], @CandDJennifer

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