Oakes (1978)

1978 Oakes Report (text)

The Oakes Report (1978)
The Management of Higher Education in the Maintained Sector (1978)

Report of the Working Group appointed by Shirley Williams

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1978
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

Background notes

Historical context

The working group was appointed by Labour education secretary Shirley Williams in February 1977 with the following terms of reference:

To consider measures to improve the system of management and control of higher education in the maintained sector in England and Wales and its better coordination with higher education in the universities and, in the light of developments in relation to devolution and local authority finance, what regional and national machinery might be established for these purposes (Oakes 1978:iii).
The report was presented to Williams in March 1978.

At the time of the report, Gordon Oakes (1931-2005), a solicitor by profession, was the Labour MP for Widnes and an education minister in Jim Callaghan's government.

Summary of the report's main recommendations

The committee's recommendations can be found in Chapter XIII. The key points are:

  • the management of local authority provision of higher education should reflect a partnership between national and local levels;
  • a National Body should be established to provide information and advise the Secretary of State and the local authority associations; and
  • nine new regional advisory councils should be established in England to coordinate the development of higher education in the public sector, including initial, induction and in-service training of teachers.

The report online

The full text of the report is presented in a single web page. I have corrected a handful of typing errors.

Other reports on higher education include:

Robbins (1963) Higher Education
Dearing (1997) Higher Education in the learning society
Browne (2010) Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education

The above notes were prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 13 August 2017.