‘Evidence-based policy’ is a phrase that’s been knocking around politics for a while now; unfortunately however it exists only as rhetoric and not in practise.
At a party last weekend, I ended up speaking to someone who told me that he didn’t mind who was Prime Minister as long as they were capable, honest and a ‘good person’. Leaving aside the depressing implications for partisan (or even ideological) politics, this speaks to the idea of character, to which Demos yesterday devoted a conference.
Free education for students and good pensions for university staff seem like different issues. But students are marching for free education this week and staff are boycotting assessment in defence of their pensions. The two are part of the same story.
There’s no democratic mandate for unfree education, for student-paid tuition fees at English universities.
Recently, there was news to suggest that the privatisation agenda is alive and well in our schools. In came as these things often do, in an insidiously innocuous sounding proposal; this time with the announcement by the Academies Enterprise Trust that they are looking to outsource their non-teaching role.
Today David Cameron addressed the Conservative party conference in what was a well performed speech, littered with a surprising amount of policy announcements.
At a fringe event yesterday Tristram Hunt reiterated what seems to be the guiding principle for Labour’s ideological approach to education; social mobility.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
The UK faces a crisis, if not of politics, then of politicians and political parties. Critics argue that politicians are in it for what they can get out of it. Most have never had a “real job” in their lives. They do not understand the pressures and challenges facing ordinary people.
I’ll admit that despite speaking this week at a music festival, when it comes to the arts that’s not my personal passion (being thrown out of the primary school choir for being tuneless might have something to do with that). Instead it is theatre, particularly fringe theatre.
Labour are expected to make a move on tuition fee policy soon, with many estimating the policy will result in the reduction of tuition fees by around £3,000 a year, possibly even £4,000.
Contrary to the drastic proposals of Iain Duncan Smith, or the ideology of George Osborne, it seems that the populist radicalism of Michael Gove is one of the most dangerous elements of the cabinet. Unlike his fellow cabinet members, his reforms seem somewhat separate from the rest of government and are not as intertwined with the actions of David Cameron.
Today Nick Clegg took to a stage in east London for a speech to spell out party education policy and to clarify his comments earlier in the week over free schools, comments that not only mark him apart from his coalition partners but also from his own party.
Cracks have started to appear in the coalition’s veneer of unity over education policy. Over the weekend, Nick Clegg voiced his disapproval of one of the key elements of Michael Gove’s free school policy, and in doing so even ended up contradicting one of his own ministers.
It was a big weekend for the debate over education policy. Tristam Hunt made his mark in an interview with the Mail on Sunday in which he stated that Labour would not remove existing free schools and would, rather than scrap the scheme, adapt it.
Today it has transpired that there is a very real danger of a shortage of school places. According to their report, the Local Government Association (LGA) says that within two years almost half of England’s school districts will have more primary school students than places. Some areas will face up to a 20% shortfall in school places by 2015.
Where has Michael Gove been? Until the news of today’s speech landed, the most we had seen of him in recent weeks has been an impression by John Bercow surfacing on YouTube.
Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire – WB Yeats
The debate about the future of education, and what role academies will play in it, seems to miss one vital, central issue: what role do we want formal schooling to play in our society, and how should we best organise it? Are we caught up in a mechanistic discussion about means of delivery rat
Michael Gove has once again proved himself as being possibly the most dangerous man in the government; Gove has been consistently been pursuing his regressive education agenda but has never attracted the same vilification or even attention as figures like Andrew Lansley, Jeremy Hunt and Chris Grayling.
One thing should be made clear from the off: what follows is no kind of endorsement of Michael Gove’s record at the Department for Education, the way that the rhetoric of empowerment is often being used as a mask for centralism, his top-down and hopelessly reactionary plans for the National Curriculum, the increasingly political use of inspections to drive
The occupation against Sussex University outsourcing is in its fifth week and the story of higher education privatisation continues to unfold.
As English universities have become more marketised their advertising budget has risen. Spending on marketing rose by 22% in the run-up to £9k fees and will spiral.
The good society is one where we constantly strive and work for improvement. We will never have that society unless we think ahead, plan and strategise about our future, characteristics lacking in the government machine. The dominant late intervention culture has failed.
At the Fabian Women’s Network Labour conference fringe on Monday October 1st, we asked “How can Labour solve the childcare crisis?” We believe that answering this question is urgent – a position shared by the others contributing to the debate, including the Family and Parenting Institute and the Co-operative Party.
Jamie Oliver. I probably don’t need to write anything else. Just mentioning his name should be enough to start a lengthy conversation. Or rant. Everyone’s heard of him. Some like to stick an expletive in the middle of his name. Many of us seem to have strong views about him, one way or another.
In a few weeks, students paying fees of £9000 a year will start their first term at many English universities. Last Wednesday David Willetts signalled the government’s intention to press ahead with the privatisation of higher education.
Universities are charities.
A while ago, the FT’s education correspondent, Chris Cook, wrote a piece for the FTdata blog throwing up some interesting numbers about the percentage chances of students from disadvantaged backgrounds getting into Oxford.
Any argument for school reform motivated by a sincere desire to increase social mobility deserves to be taken seriously. That’s why the debate started by Ben Mitchell’s advocacy of grammar school expansion is one that belongs on Shifting Grounds.
Feel like you learnt about the Vikings an awful lot at school? Well you probably did. It was that topic teachers just couldn’t resist, even if deep down they knew the questions they posed would be answered like the rehearsal that had gone before.
Ben Mitchell wants to see more grammar schools built and existing ones expanded. He argues that children on free school meals (FSM) do much better there than in comprehensives. So more grammar school places would mean a better deal for poorer children.
There can be few issues that polarise so violently or predictably, but discussion on the merits or otherwise of grammar schools is certainly up there. Almost universally condemned by the left, and splitting the right.
The rationale behind its opponents states that its policy of selection by academic ability hands grammar schools an unfair advantage.
It’s four o’clock on a Sunday in Bath and the long-promised sun has finally come out. I’ve just finished running a training weekend for fifteen adults. The participants are a diverse bunch; a solicitor, an estate agent, a retired teacher, a former employee of Goldman Sachs. There’s even a telecoms entrepreneur who’s just sold his own business.
Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have both used this week to fire the starting gun on a debate over social mobility. Both, for different reasons, want to push past a focus on tuition fees.
As the tide of academies rises, the role of local education authorities in the democratic accountability of our schools recedes.
With times hard for families as it is, rising food and fuel bills, simultaneously made worse by cuts to housing benefit, tax credits and the looming spectre of unemployment, the Conservative-led government is again piling on the pressure with the threat of withdrawal of child benefit payments for families of persistent truants.