Professor William Richardson
Honorary Visiting Professor


Since September 2011, William Richardson has been the 15th General Secretary of HMC (The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference).  HMC is the oldest and most prominent association in the Anglophone world representing independent schools.  See:

My current research interests are:

  • historic and contemporary conceptions of merit and how these inform public policy
  • the politics of assessment
  • schools in continuous operation since the medieval period
  • social, political and economic attitudes towards fee-paying schools

My recent work on the politics of assessment can be found in:

Richardson, W. (2011)  England’s ‘examinations industry’: deterioration and decay. A report from HMC on endemic problems with marking, awarding, re-marks and appeals at GCSE and A level, 2007-12.  Market Harborough, HMC.


During 1986 to 2011, when I was a full-time academic, my writings focused on:

  • education policy and practice:
    • post-compulsory education and work-based learning
    • historic and comparative aspects of technical/’vocational’ education
    • education and the knowledge economy
    • policy capacity in government
    • assessment and examinations
    • social change in the history of education
  • the evolution of educational research:
    • the development of the field in the Anglophone world since 1945;
    • the historiography of education and historical methods in research;
    • the politics of educational research.

Over that period I held academic positions at the Universities of Warwick, Sheffield and Exeter where I was Professor of Education and Director for the Research Centre for the Learning Society (2000 - 2011) and Head of the Graduate School of Education (2002 – 2007).  I was a governor of the University of Exeter during 2004-07.

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