Housing White Paper offers no hope for young people: here’s what could


Andy Green

The Government’s new white paper on housing, entitled ‘fixing our broken housing market’, is not going to fix anything except the share prices of the large private development firms. As Simon Jenkins writes in The Guardian: ‘it is a stew of fake news, old clichés and pretend solutions’. It is long on consultation and very short on the radical measures needed to solve the UK’s housing crisis. It dodges all the big issues on reforming housing taxation, including the council tax, regulating rents and tenures, and on public responsibilities for housing provision. Even the very small measures it does propose come hedged with qualifications and get-out clauses.

As our research at the Llakes Centre for Learning and Life Chances shows, home ownership amongst 18-34s is only half of what it was 25 years ago, and the decline has affected all social groups. But the Government’s proposals won’t create the genuinely affordable housing to reverse this trend for young people.

The White Paper’s diagnosis of Britain’s housing crisis is simplistic in the extreme. It claims that the problem is ‘simply’ that we do not build enough homes, because of excessive planning regulation and lack of competition in the building sector. It is certainly the case that we have not been building enough homes, but the wider truth is not so Read more ›

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Posted in Evidence-based policy, Social sciences and social policy

Class size and teaching: width and quality both matter

Peter Blatchford

David Aaronovitch is a good journalist and there is much to admire in an article he wrote for the Times newspaper last week (‘Teachers must get out of their ideological rut’, January 26, 2017). I suspect however that he has never taught a class of children. The line he takes – following the well publicised view of the head of OECD educational policy Andeas Schleicher – is that class size doesn’t matter. David remembers the words of his grandmother: ’feel the quality not the width’.

With my colleague Tony Russell, I am working my way through the carefully collected views of hundreds of primary school teachers, headteachers, Teaching Assistants and pupils, along with careful classroom observations and case studies (part of a large scale study we conducted at UCL Institute of Education), and what stands out are the many ways that class size does indeed matter. We have found that having fewer children in the class tends to mean more individual attention, a more active role for pupils in class, better relationships between pupils, easier classroom management, more individualisation for Read more ›

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Posted in Evidence-based policy, Special educational needs and psychology, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

Summit to think about: what will Chinese visitors learn from our emerging apprenticeship system? And what can they teach us?

Martin Doel

In December, Education Secretary Justine Greening led a small delegation to the latest UK China Education Summit in Shanghai, part of the wider UK China ‘People to People Dialogue’.

When arriving in China you anticipate striking differences in our two education systems, given our very different histories and political cultures. This is no doubt the case in many areas of education policy and practice, but in technical and professional education, through the four summits I have taken part in, I’ve become increasingly struck by the extent of shared concerns and similarities of approach between China and the UK.

When the Summits began, in 2012, university and school education were the predominant themes, but on this occasion the greatest attention in the formal ministerial summit was given to technical and professional education. In both nations it seems that the critical role of this sector in increasing prosperity, productivity and social equity is being Read more ›

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Posted in Further higher and lifelong education, International comparisons, Leadership and management

Why teachers in London’s most diverse schools believe Brexit threatens British values


Miri Yemini

It has now been six months since the referendum results revealed British voters’ decision to withdraw from the European Union, and schools in London are beginning to adjust to this new phase of history. As schools are now required to promote ‘Fundamental British Values’ I was interested in understanding how teachers in highly diverse schools were now tackling the global and local aspects of citizenship education.

It turns out that Brexit is dominating their thoughts: teachers in London’s most diverse schools see Brexit as a threat to the schools’ identity and nature. Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Social sciences and social policy, Teaching, learning, curriculum & assessment

What’s the worst that could happen under New US Ed Secretary Betsy DeVos? Some scenarios

US President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary, Elisabeth (Betsy) DeVos, has come in for tough questioning this week during her Senate confirmation hearing. Trump has not given education much air time, but has said he wants to spend $20 billion in federal funds for block grants for states to support vouchers for children to attend private schools.

DeVos, a billionaire who has never worked in or attended public education, is a strong advocate of vouchers. But under questioning, said she would encourage – but not force – states to implement them.

Meanwhile, Education Week reports that elected officials in hundreds of U.S. cities and other local jurisdictions have said they will work to limit their cooperation with any plans to use data they possess towards Trump’s threat to deport undocumented immigrants. For Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.

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