1. Purpose of blog posts
The HEFCE blog aims to establish the Council as an authoritative and credible voice in the area of higher education policy.
It does this by communicating simple stories, sharing examples of practical success, and brokering discussion.
The blog is aimed at two core audiences:
- Higher education ‘strategists’
Those working in positions of senior management at universities and colleges.
- Policy experts
This encompasses individuals with a professional interest in higher education policy working at universities, think tanks or even as special advisers in government.
We are especially interested to publish articles in the following areas:
- Research findings of particular importance and interest to higher education policymakers
- ‘Horizon-scanning’ articles of interest to higher education strategists
- The viewpoints of recognised experts on areas within the field of higher education policy relevant to HEFCE.
4. Opinion and politics
The blog aims to share the expertise of HEFCE staff, and encourages them to give their opinions. It also aims to commission recognised experts in the sector to provide opinions on relevant subjects.
But articles should not endorse partisan policies or party-political views. Where authors wish to address an issue that is sensitive or controversial, they should discuss this with the HEFCE communications team.
HEFCE will also agree to publish posts that dissent from a public position either HEFCE or the Government has taken. But dissenting posts should be written in a respectful, cordial and constructive spirit.
Blog posts should not undermine, criticise, or discredit government policy.
5. Tone, style and grammar
Try to stick to the following guidelines:
- Blog posts should be no more than 6-800 words.
- Paragraphs should comprise no more than three sentences and each should communicate one idea.
Style and tone
- All posts should follow HEFCE house style (this is available on request) and be proofed for spelling and grammar.
- The tone of posts should be simple and conversational. Sentences, words and paragraphs should be short.
- The tone should be personable and engaging but professional and objective.
- Avoid jargon and cumbersome phrasing – it’s more important here to be readable than pedantically accurate.
Words and phrases like ‘progression pathways’ and ‘public engagement’ are familiar within the sector, but our readership extends beyond this audience.
Structure and content
- Posts should ‘tell a story’. They should not simply reveal one fact after another, but draw together points of tension, discussion or interpretation. Writing out a skeleton structure will help you do this.
- From first concept to final wording, think of the reader, and the people they may have regular contact with. They are interested in how HEFCE’s actions will affect them, not our internal structures and procedures.
- The headline and opening paragraphs are the most important. They need to seize the reader’s attention and convey at least a flavour of the overall message. Try to revisit the ideas in the opening during the post and at the end. Note the first paragraph should not contain any formatting or links.
- Make your post easy to scan. Include sub-headings and try to use imagery, video or charts to give the post more visual structure.
- If using ‘you’ of the reader, have a clear understanding of who you’re addressing, and if it’s a subset of the readership make this explicit.
Charts and imagery
- If using figures or tables, try to present them as a chart or visualisation. And spell out clearly the point they make in the title.
The number of disabled students has increased in the last 10 years
Disabled undergraduate entrants 2007-2017
- If possible, try to use images, infographics or video. But make sure that all visual content looks professional and plan it with HEFCE's communications team in advance.
6. Publication and approval
All authors should, as far as possible, agree and plan articles with the HEFCE Communications team.
They should also allow enough time for editors to proofread posts.
External authors are free to republish their contributions through their own blogs or channels, provided they follow our licensing policy.