Brennan, John and Williams, Ruth
(2008). Higher education outside the universities: the UK case.
In: Taylor, J.S.; Brites Ferreira, J.; Lourdes Machado, M. de and Santiago, R. eds.
Non-University Higher Education in Europe.
Higher Education Dynamics (23).
UK: Springer, pp. 231–244.
The main focus of this paper is the current non-university higher education institutions in the UK. They are a diverse bunch. A few are ‘universities in waiting’. But most will not expect such promotion, even if the criteria for university status continue to change. But before describing these institutions, it is necessary to set the context provided by history, both recent and ancient. The recent history concerns the ‘binary system’ of the 1970s and 1980s and in particular the characteristics of the polytechnics that provided the core of the non-university arm of that system. The ‘ancient’ concerns the traditions of state-university relationships in the United Kingdom and the unusually large degrees of autonomy enjoyed by the latter. It is with this ‘ancient history’ that we start.
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