The pace of academic publishing is something most researchers accept, but I’m sure that others feel, as I do, that the excitement of having findings published seems slightly historical as their research has moved on. Or in the case of prison education, everything has moved on. So delighted though I am by the publication of my article on prisoners’ basic skills levels I thought this might be an opportunity to outline developments since this was written.
A year ago, when I posted my initial report on prisoner basic skills, the world of prisoner education was very upbeat, even expectant. The surprise appointment of Michael Gove as Minister of Justice appeared unexpectedly positive. The Coates commission was collecting evidence and would subsequently come up with a series of recommendations which would win almost universal support from those working in prison education. Prisons were mentioned in a Queen’s Speech for the first time in decades and the topic of ‘prison reform’ was on everyone’s lips… Then came Brexit, Gove’s failed leadership bid and the emergence of a new Government, a new minister, a new set of priorities.
The Coates reforms, while still theoretically government policy, look ever more fanciful in Read more ›
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Survey (TIMSS) now provides 20 years-worth of internationally comparable data on the mathematics and science performance of primary and secondary pupils worldwide, and the contexts in which they learn. England has participated in the study, which is now in its sixth four-yearly cycle, since its inception in 1995. The 2015 national report, which I and a team from the UCL Institute of Education authored for the Department of Education, can be found here: TIMSS 2015. Read more ›
Government decisions about student fee levels, research funding and all the other aspects of higher education finance, and how individual institutions respond to these policy choices, now form a central aspect of the study of higher education, in the UK and elsewhere.
But it was not always so: and one of the scholars who was largely responsible for bringing these matters centre-stage academically in the UK was Professor Emeritus Gareth Williams, who was honoured at a seminar held at the IOE this week. The event was structured around the book of essays written to celebrate his contribution to the study of the economics of higher education. The international significance of Gareth’s work is demonstrated by the fact that authors were from the United States, Germany and Canada, as well as from the UK.
As he remarks in his own commentary, Gareth began his work as an economist just at the time – the mid-1950s – when the economics of education was emerging as a distinct topic for study. He joined the IOE in 1984, after working for the OECD and then at the LSE. The Institute had by then become a leading centre for research in the economics of education under the leadership of Mark Blaug (1927-2011), a pioneering Read more ›