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Education & Arts Blogs
Today is the final deadline for university applications via UCAS. If previous years are anything to go by, over half a million hopeful applicants will have gone through the process of filling in their forms, making choices, completing personal statements in the hope of going on to an educational experience that will transform their lives.
But to what extent are these hard-working young people being well-served by the system? In Policy Exchange’s report last June, Sins of Admission, we set out how university admissions are having a detrimental impact on schools and sixth form colleges – and pupils in the process of applying for higher education. The increasingly routine use of unconditional offers and contextual admissions threatens to undermine the quality of our universities and feeds the soft bigotry of low expectations in schools.
The UK should feel deservedly pleased with the results of this week’s PISA rankings. Since the last rankings three years ago, it has risen from 22nd to 14th in reading, from 15th to 14th in science and from 27th to 18th in maths. The last is a particular achievement, with the UK improving nine score points over the last three years, one of only a handful of countries to secure a statistically significant increase. The gender gap and rich-poor attainment gap in the UK is also narrower in both cases than the OECD average.
Policy Exchange’s John Blake – himself a former teacher – says that while school reform will continue, recent announcements suggest that skills policy will be the focus of the Department for Education under its new leadership.
Policy Exchange’s John Blake – himself a former teacher – appeared on the Today programme to argue that new tests for young children will help teachers identify which children need extra support. In this blog, he says that, done properly, children will not know they are being tested and so union-led scaremongering should be ignored.
Welcome shift of emphasis to vocational training but big questions for PM’s review of University funding
Policy Exchange’s Head of Education John Blake – himself a former teacher – examines the Prime Minister’s speech on tertiary education.
The new education secretary should ignore the sudden deluge of tweets and remain focused on his department’s urgent issues, writes John Blake in the TES.
Policy Exchange Head of Education John Blake writes an open letter to the new Secretary of State for Education.
We’re not recruiting enough teachers – but are we asking the right questions as to why? Policy Exchange’s John Blake – himself a former teacher – explores the challenges behind the latest figures.
The Chancellor should not give in to the temptation to “give what amounts to protection money to the union lobby” and increase school funding in next week’s Budget, argues Policy Exchange’s Head of Education and Social Reform John Blake in the Times. “We can have world-leading schools without breaking the bank, but not if our school system believes there will always be more money whatever happens.”
Policy Exchange’s Head of Education welcomes Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman’s powerful statement about the quality and content of the school curriculum in England. Ofsted says there is too little discussion of curriculum planning and too few teachers and school leaders understand what this means. With a decade’s teaching experience, including as a curriculum creator for one of England’s most successful school trusts, John Blake argues in the TES that schools need to look to Britain’s cultural institutions to find the support they need.