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Putting schooling and higher education in different parts of Whitehall creates friction. But a certain level of friction serves a purpose

  • 11 July 2014

As SW1 prepares for an expected ministerial reshuffle, it is a timely moment to consider the landscape of Whitehall alongside the personalities that reside there.

In the latest edition of Insight, a new magazine published by the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, the Director of HEPI, Nick Hillman, considers where responsibility for higher education should lie.

While recognising some of the benefits that accrue from treating all of education alike, he considers five arguments in favour of the the status quo. One of them is reprinted below:

  • ‘Having schooling and higher education in different places creates friction. That may sound unhelpful and inimical to the mantra of “joined-up government”. But a certain level of friction serves a purpose by forcing different parts of Government to discuss tricky issues in a way that does not always happen when an issue sits within a single department. It is no secret that the DfE and BIS have different views on issues like careers advice, transnational education and the use of contextual data for university admissions. That forces Number 10, the Treasury and the Cabinet Office to think about these issues too.’

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