An entrance somewhere else…

Graduation Ceremony 2013[523]

Chris Husbands.

The IOE’s director reflects on the past five years as he prepares to move on.

Tom Stoppard has the right line: in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, his sideways look at Hamlet, one of the hapless courtiers urges the other to ‘look on every exit as an entrance somewhere else’. It’s now five years since I was appointed Director of the IOE – five years in which the landscape of education policy in England has been transformed in every direction. Five years ago, there was no pupil premium, and so no pupil premium toolkit, indeed, no Education Endowment Foundation. There were no teaching schools, there was no EBacc; there were just a few hundred academies, all sponsor-led. GCSEs were largely modular in form. There was no baseline assessment and no phonics screening check. University fees were capped at £3,000 and student numbers centrally controlled. In five years, all this has altered with the most radical of changes in curriculum, assessment, school structures and accountabilities.

It has been an exceptional privilege to lead the IOE through this period. The Institute is a hybrid: simultaneously researching Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy, Research matters

What is education for? Gibb’s list misses a key dimension

John White.

Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, addressed the Education Reform Summit earlier this month on the purposes of education.  He said there are three. “Education is the engine of our economy, it is the foundation of our culture, and it’s an essential preparation for adult life”.

The first is self-explanatory. The second is about “introducing (the next generation) to the best that has been thought and said, and instilling in them a love of knowledge and culture for their own sake”. The third has to do with “key character traits, including persistence, grit, optimism and curiosity”.

There’s not even a nod in these aims towards equipping young people as democratic citizens. Nothing on Read more ›

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Posted in Education policy

Income distribution in times of austerity: why the cuts are likely to widen the gap

Nicola Pensiero.

Yesterday, the House of Commons passed a bill that will cut £12bn in welfare programmes. Chancellor George Osborne argues that the government has no choice but to continue reducing the budget deficit. When announcing the plan, he pointed to the unfolding Greek crisis to reinforce his idea that a country has to be in control of its own borrowing or the “borrowing takes control of the country”. The plan is expected to move Britain “from a low-wage, high-tax, high-welfare economy to the higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare country we intend to create”. Despite the proclaimed intentions, a likely consequence of these planned cuts is an increased polarisation of household incomes, as my recent research shows. Read more ›

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

Prisoner literacy levels: a worrying lack of statistics

Brian CreeseNRDC (National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy) 

‘When I learned to read at the age of 16 I suddenly got in touch with education, with the chance of becoming a different kind of boy. Not the one always in trouble with the police. But someone who could in the end make the most of myself. Get behind literacy and you get behind social justice and social opportunity’.
John Bird

So starts the press release announcing the launch of a new campaign from Big Issue founder John Bird to highlight the importance of literacy and education for people in prison called ‘Right to Read (and write)’. The exciting bit for me was that Bird had noticed my continuing complaint about the lack of any real data about prisoners’ literacy and numeracy levels. John’s press release continues: Read more ›

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Posted in Evidence-based policy, Further higher and lifelong education

Watch your language: talking about autism

describing autism blog 1

Liz Pellicano

Words matter. The way we use them to communicate with or about others can have a huge impact on people’s lives. This is especially the case when it comes to disability. Handicapped. Retarded. Mad. Activists have campaigned hard to eradicate such terms, which are offensive and perpetuate a negative view of disabled people – one as passive, unable to take control over their own lives. Read more ›

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Posted in Special educational needs and psychology
This blog is written by academics at the UCL Institute of Education.

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