Uni chief delighted to accept job OFFA

A POLITICAL feud centering around University of Bedfordshire vice chancellor Les Ebdon’s suitability for a top government quango role has ended with the professor being given the job.

Professor Ebdon (pictured) has expressed his delight after finally being named as the new director of the Office For Fair Access (OFFA).

Professor Ebdon said: “I have always been passionate about access and opportunity and believe strongly that your background should make no difference to your ability to get into university or to succeed at university.

“The Office For Fair Access is an independent body which was established to safeguard future students’ interests and I am looking forward to continuing the excellent work.

“I am grateful for all the messages of support I have received, in particular from among friends in the higher education sector, including staff, students and graduates, as well as the media,”

But the appointment as the government’s new uni admissions tsar has not been without controversy.

MPs on the Business Innovation and Skills select committee had refused to endorse Professor Ebdon’s appointment with Prime Minister David Cameron wading in on the argument.

But business secretary Vince Cable, who had originally recommended Professor Ebdon for the role, got his man with Mr Cameron unable to veto the decision.

And Professor Ebdon has the full support of his jubilant University of Bedfordshire colleagues.

Deputy vice chancellor Mary Malcolm said yesterday: “We’re delighted. We’re very supportive of the appointment.

“We know what Les has done to improve performance and standards and access to students at the University of Bedfordshire and it’s very exciting to have him looking at the entire sector to achieve something similar on a national scale.”

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