CIfA responds to Higher Education Teaching Grant banding change for Archaeology

As we reported in January, CIfA has been working with Universities Archaeology UK and others in the archaeological sector to lobby government on proposed grant cuts due to affect archaeology in the 2021-22 academic year.

CIfA remains concerned about the proposal to split the current C1 group of ‘high cost subjects’, which would have the effect that archaeology courses would lose funding of £125 per student this year.

We have responded to an  Office for Students (OfS) consultation and have urged that the approach be reviewed, with a view to retaining archaeology courses within the category C1.1, where funding remains unchanged, for the following reasons:

  • Archaeology graduates are crucial to the sustainability of the UK workforce in development-led archaeology. As a recognised construction skill, archaeology is a part of the supply chain for housing development and infrastructure and is essential to meet planning policy requirements to deliver sustainable development. As such, archaeology is a contributor to this key Government priority area. The archaeological sector is supremely reliant upon university training, with over 90% of archaeologists being trained to graduate level. In additional, archaeology jobs are also on the shortage occupation list, indicating the particular need for skilled graduates.
  • Archaeology is a STEM subject: Lab-based scientific techniques and practical fieldwork skills are essential in the modern discipline of archaeology. These are costly elements of archaeology courses and are the elements most likely to be impacted by any cut in high-cost subject funding.
  • The UK’s archaeological research is truly world-leading, with the top four places in the QS World Rankings. This success and reputation for quality is a direct consequence of the fact that the UK has embraced the aforementioned modern scientific approaches to archaeology and has led in innovative research and development of the discipline’s scientific and high tech methodologies such as ancient DNA, photogrammetry, and advanced survey techniques.
  • CIfA, as the leading professional institute, offers PSRB accreditation for degree courses which are specifically designed to deliver the skills and competencies necessary for graduates to obtain professional accreditation in archaeology. We believe that this should be taken into account by OfS.
  • Archaeology, which encompasses science, social science, and humanities, provides a well-rounded skill set to graduates, even those who do not enter the archaeological profession. We therefore consider that it, provides considerable contribution to STEM priority areas.

Member are encouraged to respond/write to their MPs.

The OfS consultation runs until 6 May and can be found here.