Policy Papers

History & Policy papers are written by expert historians, based on peer-reviewed research. They offer historical insights into current policy issues ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq, climate change and internet surveillance to family dynamics, alcohol consumption and health reforms. For historians interested in submitting a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.

Currently, 222 papers are freely searchable by theme, author or keyword, with new papers published regularly. Where possible, we publish papers to coincide with relevant policy developments. If you are a policy maker, civil society practitioner or journalist and would like to contact one of our historians, please contact historyandpolicy@kcl.ac.uk.

You can download H&P policy papers directly from the Apple iBooks store to your iPhone, iPad or Mac. We also have an Amazon Kindle version to download to your PC for transfer to your Kindle via USB cable. Please consult your Kindle manual for further details.


Should we abandon external exams for sixteen-year-olds? Strategic considerations from the 1940s

Andrew Watts reviews a 1940s attempt to abolish public external exams (like today's GSCEs and A-levels) and move to an internal examination model within schools. Especially in the light of events over the summer of 2020, is it time to revisit this debate?

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Holocaust education and contemporary anti-semitism

Holocaust education is presented as a key means of combatting anti-semitism. Larissa Allwork shows in four case studies that it may not be effective in its current form.

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The charitable status of elite schools: the origins of a national scandal

Professor Roy Lowe examines how 1,300 independent schools in Britain came to provide tax-subsidised education to the elite - freed from oversight by nineteenth-century compromises.

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Safeguarding academic freedom in a neonationalist political moment

Mike Finn shows that a century of - more or less - academic freedom in the UK cannot be taken for granted, as the state-university relationship changes and the pressures of marketisation grow, against a backdrop of neonationalist elements entering into political discourse.

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‘No promotion of homosexuality’: Section 28 and the No Outsiders protests

George Severs shows that since Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 was repealed there has been little guidance from government on how to implement LGBT-inclusive education. It would be easier to resolve the current controversy, centring on the LGBT education programme in Birmingham schools, if the Department for Education issued new guidelines. 

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The provision of school meals since 1906: progress or a recipe for disaster?

From the 1870s onwards many poor schoolchildren regularly went to school underfed and unable to benefit from the new compulsory elementary education. Alan Finch traces the ups and downs in provision and uptake of subsidised school meals since 1906, and notes the deterioration in recent years.

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The role of government in determining the school history curriculum: lessons from Australia

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The ‘Idea of a University’ today

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Tackling truancy: why have the millions invested not paid off?

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Going to university: funding, costs, benefits

Ten years after publication of the Dearing report, Carol Dyhouse of the University of Sussex explores how higher-education funding structures have affected successive generations of students.

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About Us


H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Leeds, the University of Liverpool and the Open University.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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