Archive for the 'Education' Category

Open education is not a luxury

polly-thistlethwaite

Polly Thistlethwaite

Polly Thistlethwaite, co-author of Being a scholar in the digital era talks about open education and how higher education’s practices and products must become more democratic to better serve democracy.

Chapter 3 of Being a scholar in the digital era – ‘Opening education and linking it to community’ – is free to download here (pdf), or from the Policy Press website during December. Subsequent chapters will be available over the coming months.

Audre Lorde famously asserted that “for women … poetry is not a luxury.” Artistry and lived experience shared, while valued less than dominant notions of thought and process, is “a vital necessity of our existence,” she wrote (Lorde, Audre. Poetry is Not a Luxury. Chrysalis: A Magazine of Female Culture, 1977, no. 3.).

Open education is no less a luxury. Markets cannot administer equitable access to education or to cultural and scientific information any better than they can fairly manage access to health care. To invoke Lorde’s essay once again, it is vital to share “living as a situation to be experienced and interacted with,” to deepen understanding, to resist oppressions, and to improve lives.

Continue reading ‘Open education is not a luxury’

Why the Government’s ‘back to the future’ approach to education won’t work

Patrick Ainley3

Patrick Ainley

Following Justine Greening’s speech at the Conservative Party Labour conference yesterday, Patrick Ainley, author of Betraying a generation: How education is failing young people reflects on the state of English Education under Theresa May’s government.

Theresa May has reorganised English state education by putting teaching in the universities and colleges together with schools for the first time.

Despite university research remaining at the service of industry in the renamed Department of Business, this consolidation gives an appearance of strategic planning but relentless competition remains the misguided method to ‘raise standards’ from primary to postgraduate schools. This leaves students at all levels studying harder but learning less as assessment increasingly takes the place of teaching.

Grammar schools: playing politics with education

The grammar schools proposal has taken playing politics with education to a new low. Perhaps deliberately disclosed before the Party Conference, it was seemingly intended to appear reassuringly retrogressive, keeping on side Tories sympathetic with UKIP, the only other party wanting more grammar schools. As it is likely to be defeated in parliament, May has already clarified, ‘It does not mean bringing back binary schooling but opening up the system’.

“The grammar schools proposal has taken playing politics with education to a new low.”

Continue reading ‘Why the Government’s ‘back to the future’ approach to education won’t work’

School Governing, what’s the story since Trojan horse?

Since the Trojan Horse Affair made headlines in March 2014 the pace of change in education governance has, it would appear, become increasingly frenetic.

In light of recent turbulent times in politics , and post Brexit, Jacqueline Baxter, author of School governance, asks what has changed in terms of the democratic governance of education in England ?

BaxterThe Trojan Horse Affair in 2014 left an indelible mark on the education system in England, with profound implications for leadership, management and governing of education.

The affair which provoked a number of subsequent inquiries into radicalisation in schools, also resulted in a raft of measures introduced by the government in order to counter extremist views in schools and to ensure that British Values are firmly embedded in the system. The affair also left government with some very pressing questions about the state of school governance and accountability in England.

Since then we have had a change of government, a vote to exit the EU and a leadership crisis in both government and opposition parties- one that at the time of writing, is still not fully resolved. Continue reading ‘School Governing, what’s the story since Trojan horse?’

Does social mobility leave us nowhere to go?

Graeme Atherton, author of ‘The Success Paradox: why we need a holistic theory of social mobility’ and director of the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON), the professional organisation for access to Higher Education (HE) in England. 

In today’s guest blog Graeme suggests the broken contract of ‘social mobility’ expected in the US and UK lies at the base of the attraction felt by many towards the anti-establishment messages delivered by the likes of Donald Trump and Brexit…

AthertonStagnating social mobility in both the UK and the US is well documented.

The stifling of opportunity for many to move up the economic ladder, and to bequeath such chances to their children has been apparent some time now in the UK and US. Internationally comparative research shows that compared to countries such as Canada and Sweden, British and American children are significantly more likely to have their income dictated by what their parents earn.

This apparent stagnation in social mobility is now beginning to shape not just the views of the policymakers but also the voters. The emergence of the unlikely anti-establishment triumvirate of Trump, Corbyn and Sanders owes much to the frustration people feel regarding the opportunities available to them. The Brexit vote, while a consequence of a conflation of factors coming together, undoubtedly was to some extent an expression of this frustration. Continue reading ‘Does social mobility leave us nowhere to go?’

Will putting schools, colleges & universities under one roof improve English Education?

With the passing of the second reading of the Higher Education Bill in the House of Commons on Tuesday 19 July, UK Higher Education steps closer to the creation of new universities by ‘new providers’ as well as the raising of tuition fees. This comes on the back of government reorganisation which ends the separation of schools from colleges and universities, whilst moving university ‘research’ and ‘teaching’ under different departments. All change then…

Author of recently published ‘Betraying a Generation: How education is failing young people’ Patrick Ainley, explains the potential impact of these changes

Patrick Ainley

Patrick Ainley, author of Betraying a generation

A little remarked feature of Theresa May’s new order is the amalgamation of schools with further and higher education in a unified Department for Education.

Like my book, the enlarged Department covers everything from primary to postgraduate schools, including training. It ends the previous unclear division of schools from colleges and universities – criticisms of which under the Coalition were not pressed too far lest they ended in Michael Gove running FHE and training as well as schools!

However, the reorganisation leaves research within what is now the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. Continue reading ‘Will putting schools, colleges & universities under one roof improve English Education?’

Is it time to refocus planning education?

…ask Kate Henderson and Hugh Ellis in today’s guest blog, enthusiastically calling for a renewed focus on the British utopian tradition of planning as a tool to drive progressive change in society.

Kate Henderson

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the Town and Country Planning Association

Hugh Ellis

Hugh Ellis, Head of Policy, Town and Country Planning Association

There is much that is admirable in planning education but as town planning has rapidly declined in England, many of the country’s planning schools which support it have struggled to recruit UK students.

Some planning schools have amalgamated with other departments and changed focus, even changed names in an attempt to broaden their appeal, but this has also raised questions about how much of the planning project they are actually teaching.

One of the most discouraging pieces of feedback we have heard from visiting planning schools across England is that they no longer teach the ‘British utopian tradition’ in any real depth. A lecture here or there is totally inadequate given that this tradition is the foundation of the ethical purpose of planning. Continue reading ‘Is it time to refocus planning education?’

Michael Gove’s unfinished Agenda for Education…and beyond?

Michael Gove has said he is standing for the Tory leadership out of ‘conviction not ambition’. In today’s guest blog post author and academic Patrick Ainley suggests further insights into Gove’s wider agenda for education and beyond…

Patrick Ainley

Patrick Ainley

In 2005, 23 male Conservative MPs, MEPs, candidates and activists connected to the Centre for Policy Studies, published a 100 page pamphlet called DIRECT DEMOCRACY: An Agenda for a New Model Party.

The pamphlet has the marks of Gove all over it.

However, despite his usual sprinkling of obscure references, Gove is no intellectual. He merely shares the standard Tory faith in the unique instincts of the Great British people who only need to be freed from state interference to recreate once again wonders of the past like the Industrial Revolution and the British Empire.

Unbundling the state

In this pamphlet therefore Gove begins by indicating how far the UK was from its glorious past by 2005 after successive Tory electoral defeats. Continue reading ‘Michael Gove’s unfinished Agenda for Education…and beyond?’


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