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Size is Everything: What small, specialist and practice-based providers tell us about the higher education sector

  • 27 April 2023
  • By Edward Venning
  • HEPI number 160

Size is the big unspoken problem in UK higher education. Small providers are stifled. Large universities enjoy oligopolistic advantage at the cost of agility. This damages institutional diversity and dynamism: the sector’s ability to absorb new concepts, to grow and renew itself. 

For the first time, this report provides a full picture of small and specialist institutions in the UK. Written for policymakers, regulators and strategists, it shows how the sector should work at the right scale for students, for industry and for academic results. 

This especially matters for practice-based education. Enquiry-based, experimental, and industry-engaged, this pedagogy is marginalised in UK education but is a mainstay of other systems, including those that policymakers are most keen to copy. 

The report has been kindly sponsored by Norwich University of the Arts and HW Fisher, which is a top 30 UK chartered accountancy firm.

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