New Vice-Chancellor appointed at the University of Buckingham

15 July 2020


James Tooley - Vice-Chancellor appointed at the University of BuckinghamProfessor James Tooley has been appointed as the new Vice-Chancellor at the University of Buckingham, to take on the role when Sir Anthony Seldon leaves the University on the 1st October 2020.

Professor Tooley has been overseeing academic excellence across the University’s schools, research programmes, and collaborative partnerships since January this year in his role as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

Commenting on his new appointment, Professor Tooley said, “I am thrilled to be selected as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham. Sir Anthony Seldon will be an incredibly hard act to follow. He has made enormous contributions both to the University and to the wider higher education sector, and the University is deeply grateful for all he has done.

“The University of Buckingham is a very special university. I came here just over a year ago, having been in Russell Group universities for the last 25 years, inspired by Buckingham’s history and current status as the UK’s proudest independent university. I have a clear vision of where the University should be going next. I know that I will be supported by a superb team of dedicated professionals. Together, under my leadership, and building on Sir Anthony’s legacy, I have every confidence we will ensure that the University moves forward to become stronger than ever before.”

Rory Tapner, Chair of Council said: “James has made a great contribution to University life since joining us in Buckingham. He is wonderfully experienced in driving forward innovative education models, and as pioneers of the two-year degree, innovation is something Buckingham takes seriously. Students are expecting more from their universities and together we look forward to continuing to improve our student experience.”

The University of Buckingham is the oldest independent university in the UK. Formally opened in 1976, the founders of the University were driven by a desire to cultivate an institution that was rigorously independent in its thinking. This ethos remains within the University but it has been supplemented by an emphasis on developing and delivering an academic provision that is distinctive and distinguished. As well as being the home of the two-year degree, the University is also one of the few to offer a January start for the majority of its undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Before joining Buckingham, Professor Tooley held roles at the Universities of Newcastle, Manchester and Oxford. His most recent post was Professor of Education Policy at Newcastle University. His ground-breaking research on low-cost private education has won numerous awards, including gold prize in the first International Finance Corporation/Financial Times Private Sector Development Competition, the Templeton Prize for Free Market Solutions to Poverty, and the National Free Enterprise Award. His book based on this research, The Beautiful Tree: A personal journey into how the world’s poorest are educating themselves, (Penguin), won the Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Prize.

As a member of the academic advisory councils for several think-tanks, including the Institute of Economic Affairs and Taxpayers’ Alliance, James is immersed within educational developments. He has spearheaded models of innovation in low-cost private education, co-founding chains of low-cost schools in West Africa, South Asia, Central America and, most recently, England.