Tag Archives: economy

10 things which could improve education

I’d like to offer the following tentative 10 point charter to improve education at all levels as an initial contribution to the debate about the future of education in England. 1. Build a comprehensive system rooted in equality: We should … Continue reading

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Shaping an alternative education policy.

The Labour Party National Policy Forum Consultation 2017. Labour is currently consulting on its Early Years, Education and Skills policies and the consultation document merits the attention of anyone who is interested in developing alternatives to the current direction of … Continue reading

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University for all

This August I was asked to contribute a short piece for our local newspaper, the Newham Recorder, as part of a debate about the benefits of a university education. I did my best to summarise the case in 220 words … Continue reading

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What is Social Capital?

The Economy of Ideas #5 What is social capital? “Connections among individuals; social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them.” Robert Putnam (b. 1941) Bowling Alone: the Collapse and Revival of American Community (2001) The American … Continue reading

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Capital as metaphor

The economy of ideas #4 We talk about social capital, cultural capital, creative capital, even ‘emotional capital’. It seems that capital can stand in for almost every human capacity. Why is this? Given its role as a real currency, it’s … Continue reading

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The global economy of care.

The economy of ideas #3. Is there a limit to how much we can care about others? Is it natural that we should care more about those who are closest to us? Is it in our nature to ‘look after … Continue reading

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Educational inequality in Europe

What are the patterns of educational inequality in Europe? To help answer this question, The Social Atlas of Europe (Policy Press, 2014) by Danny Dorling, Dimitris Ballas and Benjamin Hennig provides a fascinating visual overview of inequalities across our continent … Continue reading

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Overlooked and left behind?

The latest report from the House of Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility runs to over 100 pages and makes some worthy points. However, it seems to support the idea that education in itself can improve mobility and fairness in the … Continue reading

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The limits of social mobility

In his Observer article a couple of weeks ago, the sociologist John Goldthorpe shatters two cherished illusions: first, that social mobility in Britain is in decline and second, that education is a powerful agent for promoting social mobility. 1. Social … Continue reading

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Skill shortage, training shortage or job shortage?

Unpicking the ‘skills gap’ narrative. “The number of job vacancies unfilled because employers cannot find candidates with the appropriate skills has risen by 130% in 4 years” (UK Commission for Employment and Skills UKCET report, January 2016) When employers or … Continue reading

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Let’s celebrate vocational success!

I never cease to be surprised at how little most politicians and commentators know about vocational qualifications and their value. There is no shortage of people who will tell us that we need to ‘do something’ about vocational education in this country … Continue reading

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Teachers create wealth too!

It’s become a commonplace to say that wealth has to be created before it can be spent and the received wisdom in mainstream political discourse is that the private sector does the wealth creating which then allows the public sector … Continue reading

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Defending liberal education

I had the pleasure of attending a talk at the London School of Economics given by the U.S. commentator Fareed Zakaria (18th May 2015). The lecture coincided with the launch of his new book ‘In Defense of a Liberal Education’ … Continue reading

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5 vocational myths to avoid

A checklist for politicians who want to talk about vocational education and apprenticeships during the election campaign: Myth 1. The vocational route is a practical alternative to university Many students on advanced vocational courses progress to university and these courses are … Continue reading

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Do qualifications create wealth?

Does education make us richer? A ridiculous question perhaps, but the belief that educational achievement leads to economic growth is strongly held by many politicians despite all evidence to the contrary. The recent Department for Education press release claiming that … Continue reading

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