Independent Higher Education appoints new Chair and Vice Chair

Independent Higher Education appoints new Chair and Vice Chair

Independent Higher Education (IHE) is pleased to announce the appointment of Roxanne Stockwell as its new Chair. Roxanne is the Principal of Pearson College London, the first higher education institution to be set up within a FTSE 100 company.

James Pitman, Study Group‘s Managing Director of Development for UK and Europe, will serve as Vice Chair of IHE and Chair of Exporting Education UK.

Roxanne Stockwell, Chair of Independent Higher Education, said:

“I am very pleased to take on the role of Chair of Independent Higher Education and grateful for the trust placed in me by the Board. This is a time of significant change in higher education, and the independent sector has an increasingly interesting role to play, especially in providing specialist and innovative degree education, higher level industry-linked technical learning, and exploring new ways of approaching HE for institutions, for government and for students.

“IHE has succeeded in drawing together the diverse voices of the independent sector for the first time, and has been instrumental in lobbying for a new regulatory structure in England that creates a level playing field for all students. It is crucial that the Government and the Office for Students continue to support the positive development of all institutions and, in particular, to recognise and encourage the innovation taking place in a new generation of SME providers of higher education. IHE is an important voice in the debate on how to shape UK HE for the future and I’m delighted to be able to play my part.”

James Pitman, Vice Chair of Independent Higher Education, and Chair of Exporting Education UK, said:

“The emergence of Independent Higher Education as a strong voice and support structure for the steadily growing independent sector has been essential in helping these diverse institutions find their place in the wider higher education landscape. Independent providers, including our international pathway providers, are natural collaborators, often sustaining deep and innovative partnerships with industry and universities in the UK and abroad, and preparing students for an increasingly interconnected world. IHE itself has achieved great things by building broader coalitions of support, such as its promotion of international education through the Exporting Education UK network and the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Students.

“I am delighted to take on the role of Vice Chair and lead IHE’s international work for the Board at such a critical time for the sector and for the country as a whole. As we reimagine our role in the world the UK has an unparalleled opportunity to build on our historic strengths as a sector to become the leading global centre of innovation and excellence in education for the 21st century.”

Independent Higher Education Chief Executive, Alex Proudfoot, said:

“Roxanne and James are two of the most influential voices in the independent higher education sector and have been strong supporters of IHE’s development as a major representative group. Their energy, ideas and experience will be invaluable in leading us into our next chapter and cementing our reputation as a reliable partner and champion of progressive reform in the higher education sector. I very much look forward to working with them in the years ahead.

“The recent IHE Survey showed our members’ clear commitment to the new regulatory system in England but reminded us that many challenges remain for new providers and those who least resemble a traditional publicly funded university. We will continue to lobby for the level playing field the government sought to achieve with the Higher Education and Research Act and promote the importance of an SME model for higher education.”



Roxanne Stockwell joined Pearson in 2011 as Managing Director of the Higher Education Awards division, with the aim of helping Pearson set up its own university. Roxanne graduated with a BA and LLB from the University of Sydney and worked as a solicitor in equity and trusts law, before becoming an in-house corporate lawyer in intellectual property. She later completed an MA in Directing at the University of Western Sydney, while managing a theatre company touring plays to students across New South Wales, many of whom were seeing live theatre for the very first time.

This inspired Roxanne with a strong interest in education and on moving to the UK she completed an LLM in Intellectual and Cultural Property at University College London and took up a lectureship at BPP University College, where she became subject head for Intellectual Property and Dean of Learning and Teaching. She was then promoted to the board of directors as Chief Innovation Officer with overall responsibility for innovation, learning and teaching.

James Pitman is Study Group’s Managing Director of Development for UK and Europe.

Prior to joining Study Group in February 2007, James was Managing Director of the EMEA businesses of Rosetta Stone, a market leading, global e-learning software provider.

During the 1990s, James held a variety of senior international roles, including those of Vice President of International Marketing and Vice President of Operations and Business Development with Warner Music International and EMI Music. This followed eight years in international education publishing.

James has a BA (Hons) and MA from Cambridge University in Natural Sciences and an MBA from IMD in Switzerland.

For further information please contact:

Marie Clark, Director of External Relations, Independent Higher Education
Email:; Phone: 020 3929 3370

Independent Higher Education is the UK membership organisation and national representative body for independent providers of higher education, professional training and pathways.

Further information can be found at our website –

We can also be found on Twitter @independent_HE

  • On 25th February 2019