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The UK's only independent think tank devoted to higher education.


The HEPI Blog aims to make brief, incisive contributions to the higher education policy landscape. It is circulated to our subscribers and published online. We welcome guest submissions, which should follow our Instructions for Blog Authors. Submissions should be sent to our Blog Editor, Josh Freeman, at [email protected].

  • Polytechnics or universities?

    15 August 2016 by Nick Hillman

    August seems as good a time as any to put up something we have been meaning to post for a while: the text of Anthony Crosland’s Woolwich Polytechnic speech of 27th April 1965. It is incredibly important in higher education policymaking, as it announced the binary system of polytechnics and universities…

  • Forget grammar schools, what about comprehensive universities?

    9 August 2016 by Nick Hillman

    The perennial row over grammar schools flared up again last weekend. Possibly, just possibly, the new Prime Minister is not as opposed to new grammar schools, which select pupils on academic ability, as her recent predecessors. The debate over grammar schools feels endless and circular but is perhaps best articulated…

  • New Zealand: A small far away country from which we can learn much?

    2 August 2016 by Sam Cannicott

    This guest blog has been contributed by Sam Cannicott, who has been the Education Policy Adviser for the Liberal Democrats (2007-2010) and a Policy and Strategy Adviser at Regent’s University London (2012-15) and who now lives and works in New Zealand. New Zealand has a population of under 4.5 million and only eight universities. …

  • Why the MoneySavingExpert is wrong

    28 July 2016 by Nick Hillman

    Martin Lewis, the founder of the MoneySavingExpert, is on the warpath. He is furious that the student loan repayment threshold is being fixed at £21,000. This means the terms on which student loans were taken out by today’s students have been retrospectively changed: previously it was said the threshold would…

  • The first ever Higher Education Festival is coming this September

    27 July 2016 by Sir Anthony Seldon

    Guest blog by Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham What does the future hold for universities? The University of Buckingham is hosting the UK’s first Higher Education Festival covering all issues facing the sector. The Universities Minister Jo Johnson, the Shadow Higher Education Minister Gordon Marsden, the…

  • Will the new higher education topography prove sustainable?

    25 July 2016

    This blog is an extract from a speech the HEPI Director, Nick Hillman, delivered at the University of Buckingham on 25th July 2016. New entrants In the UK, it has been phenomenally difficult to get good quality independent higher education institutions off the ground but simultaneously too easy to run ones of questionable quality.…

  • What are the consequences of moving HE from BIS to the DfE?

    20 July 2016

    This article by Nick Hillman, HEPI Director, was originally published last Saturday on by HE from Research Professional. The head of steam has finally blown the gasket. The pressure that had been mounting for several years to plonk higher education policy back alongside other education matters within Whitehall has triumphed. The…

  • Where should HE reside in Whitehall?

    14 July 2016

    Back in 2014, aeons ago in political terms, I wrote a piece for Insight, the magazine of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, on whether or not responsibility for higher education policymaking should be plonked back in the Department for Education. Given the strong rumours of the demise of the current…

  • HEPI author Scott Kelly responds to the new Sainsbury review on Technical Education

    8 July 2016 by Scott Kelly

    The publication of the Report of the Independent Panel on Technical Education, chaired by Lord Sainsbury (published today), is hardly likely to receive anything like the attention given to the Chilcot report but it nevertheless shines an equally bright light on systemic failures in a vital area of public policy.…

  • What would PM May mean for HE?

    30 June 2016

    In today’s copy of The Times, Theresa May has an article launching her bid to become Conservative Party Leader and therefore Prime Minister. The piece ticks as many boxes as possible for the two electorates she has to satisfy: first, her 329 fellow Conservative Members of Parliament; and, secondly, the…