1963 Robbins Report (complete)
The Robbins Report (1963)
Report of the Committee appointed by the Prime Minister under the Chairmanship of Lord Robbins
London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1963
Notes on the text
A Treasury Minute of 8 February 1961 stated that Conservative prime minister Harold MacMillan intended to appoint a committee chaired by Lord Robbins:
to review the pattern of full-time higher education in Great Britain and in the light of national needs and resources to advise Her Majesty's Government on what principles its long-term development should be based. In particular, to advise, in the light of these principles, whether there should be any changes in that pattern, whether any new types of institution are desirable and whether any modifications should be made in the present arrangements for planning and co-ordinating the development of the various types of institution.Lord (Lionel) Robbins (1898-1984) was head of the economics department at the London School of Economics, where a building named after him was opened in 1978. He was an advocate of government support for the arts, as well as for universities.
The twelve members of his committee held 111 meetings and received over 400 written submissions of evidence from people or organisations. They visited universities and colleges in Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland and made longer visits to the United States and the Soviet Union. Their report was published in October 1963.
The report online
The full text of the report itself is online in a single web page, including the 61 tables and five charts, which are presented here as images.
The five Appendices are not online. They were published separately: Appendices 1, 3 and 4 at the same time as the Report, Appendices 2 and 5 later. Details of their subject matter can be found in the Contents list in the Preliminary pages.
The formatting of the text (bold, italics, centred etc) is a reasonably accurate representation of the printed version, but the pages presented here are not exact facsimiles of the original: the font (Times, Arial etc) and size of print - and therefore the number of words to a line and lines to a page - are determined by the settings you have chosen for your web browser. However, the page breaks are correct. In other words, if something is shown here as being on, say, page 103, you can be sure it appeared on page 103 in the original.
The page headers (chapter numbers on the left hand pages, chapter titles on the right) have been omitted, as have blank pages.
I have taken two liberties with the text: I have removed the full stop in 'per cent.'; and also the unnecessary apostrophe in, for example, 'the 1830's'. I have also corrected a couple of printing errors and added explanations of one or two archaic words. Anything added to the text is shown [in square brackets]. (However, please note that the report itself uses square brackets twice in the Annex).
One very small point (literally!) is perhaps worth mentioning. In the font used in the printed version there was hardly any difference between full stops and commas. My character recognition software frequently failed to identify them correctly - indeed, they are difficult to tell apart even in the hard copy. I have endeavoured to reproduce the correct punctuation, but if you spot any full stops which obviously should be commas, or vice versa, do please let me know. Contact details are here.
Inside my second-hand copy of the Robbins Report I found two press cuttings from The Times (25 and 26 April 1966) and an article from The Economist (5 April 1969), which may be of interest to readers: they are reproduced on the Extras page.
Summary of the report's main recommendations
Chapter XIX of the report sets out the committee's conclusions, provides a summary of the report, and lists 178 recommendations, of which the following is a brief summary:
Other reports on higher education
There are now three major reports on higher education on this website:
1963 Robbins Report Higher Education
1997 Dearing Report Higher Education in the learning society
2010 Browne Report Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education
The 1963 Robbins Report and the above notes were prepared for the web by Derek Gillard. The report was uploaded on 1 March 2011; the revised notes on 18 November 2012.