The vice-chancellor of Kingston University will step down at the end of 2010, six months before he was due to retire, to take up a part-time position at the Institute of Education.

Sir Peter Scott, a former journalist at the Times and editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement, led the university for 12 years, and will become professor of higher education studies at the institute in January 2011.

Sir Peter, who will turn 65 next summer, said: “I have enjoyed every moment here at Kingston – and know I will go on enjoying it for the next seven months and will continue to work to ensure Kingston prospers in the years ahead.

“I am, and always will be, very proud of Kingston, and all its staff and students.”

A Labour supporter, Sir Peter was knighted in 2007 but has spoken against undergraduate tuition fees, and has criticised Government proposals to freeze student numbers.

Prof Geoff Whitty, director of the Institute of Education, said: “We’re delighted Peter has agreed to take up this important post, following on the work of David Watson.”