Date Name

Plans, policy & point-scoring

Part-reflection, part-justification, and part ministerial handbook, Dewi Knight reviews Ministering to Education, the new book by former Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews. Set against a backdrop of political and ideological lines that divided nations more than the left or right, Andrews’ work is essential reading for all in UK higher education policymaking.

Managing your career in HE administration

Surprisingly, ‘Managing Your Career in Higher Education Administration’ is possibly the first book in the UK covering careers in university administration. And as these careers evolve and grow in a changing sector, it’s unlikely to be the last. Paul Greatrix reviews the book and reflects on the state of the profession, how it is thought about in the sector and the pitfalls of searching for status rather than focusing on delivery and innovation.

Anderson appreciated

On the 54th Anniversary of the publication of Grants to Students – also known as the ‘Anderson Report’, David Malcolm reassesses its legacy for higher education. Re-examining Sir Colin Anderson’s life, and responding to some of the recent criticisms levelled against him in the context of the 2012 system, today we revisit this much-overlooked report and the man that set in motion a period of radical change for UK higher education.

On a wonk and a prayer

This week the IPPR Commission on the Future of Higher Education published its final report – A Critical Path. Rick Muir, Associate Director at IPPR responds some of the criticism levelled at the report on this site earlier in the week and defends the report’s recommendations.

Review: IPPR’s Critical Path

Sometimes in reading a report you spot what is missing before you see what is there. In reading through the new IPPR report ‘A Critical Path: Securing the Future of Higher Education in England’, one is struck by the lack of references to another (comparatively recent) report, “Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education“. Such has been the slump in fortunes of the Browne review that a report just three years later covering almost identical ground does not see fit to offer it a single mention. David Kernohan takes a look at the similarities between the two and the successes and failures of IPPR’s HE Commission’s new far-reaching report in to higher education.

Review: The Great University Gamble

Writing here in a personal capacity, Nick Hillman, the Special Adviser to David Willetts reviews ‘The Great University Gamble: Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education’ (Pluto Press, 2013) by regular contributor to this blog – Andrew McGettigan. Also find here details of a new competition to win a copy of the book.

Thatcher’s children seek ‘independence’ for universities

The Thatcherite ‘Free Enterprise Group’ made up largely of 2010 intake MPs have published a report on higher education funding; ‘Completing the Reform, Freeing the Universities’. It argues that financial independence and stability for universities can be achieved by building up endowment funds. Not a new idea by any means, but it is important to understand thinking about universities emanating from a group of MPs that contain current government ministers and others tipped to lead the Conservative Party one day.

We’re under fifteen feet of pure white snow

An avalanche is coming. An avalanche of nonsense. David Kernohan reviews the new publication ‘An Avalanche is Coming’ by Pearson’s Michael Barber and finds serious problems with the disease he outlines and even worse problems with his ideas for a cure.

The Meaning of Stefan Collini

It would be extremely therapeutic for all of those involved in the management of higher education in the UK today to read Stefan Collini’s What are Universities For? (Penguin 2012). This is not because Collini actually answers the question his title poses (and he is the first to acknowledge this) but because Collini articulates in eloquent, silken prose what every ‘ordinary’ academic in the country thinks but is either too lacking in self-confidence or too ill-informed of the issues to say for themselves.

What is Collini for?

Stefan Collini’s much-anticipated book, What are Universities For? (Penguin, 2012) has not been received with universal approbation. The several positive reviews are in danger of being overshadowed by the rather bad-faith effort from Peter Conrad in the Guardian. This post is not a comprehensive review of the book, but a wonk’s reflections on some of the ideas that Collini presents.

First look at the Skandia Report: ‘First Steps to Wealth’

The report by the financial investment company Skandia First Steps to Wealth has been covered in the press in terms of the impact on the tax payer. However, the report contains a lot more than this headline, covering the relative benefits to young people of different routes to employment post-16. This first look at the report seeks to look at all aspects and not just the impact on the perceptions of the affordability of the Government’s current financial arrangements for tuition fee loans. Nonetheless, that element of the report is clearly very significant. The report estimates that the recurrent annual liability to the Government of the current fees regime is approximately £9bn, and that this could grow depending on the level of economic growth, the number of students and the rate of inflation.