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Policy Exchange’s recently appointed Head of Education, Jonathan Simons, responds to the Lib Dem’s announcement that all five – seven year olds will receive free school meals from next year. Jonathan argues that although there are some benefits attained from more children eating school lunches, the £600m cost of this scheme could be better spent increasing the pupil premium to provide better quality education to the most deprived youngsters.
Jonathan Simons, Policy Exchange’s Head of Education, examines Michael Gove’s recent speech to Policy Exchange on ‘The Importance of Teaching’. Jonathan notes how the teaching force is becoming less homogenous and increasingly differs in its views on education reform to those held by trade union leaders and the ‘education establishment’. Gove may well find that talking over the heads of the self proclaimed intermediaries means he needn’t expend so much effort attacking future rounds of union strikes and some findings of ‘progressive’ academics.
Lucy Lee, Policy Exchange’s Head of Education, offers a few thoughts on the government’s proposed tax-free childcare scheme. Whilst expressing support for greater support for working parents, Lucy voices concerns that the scheme will favour wealthier parents when it is poorer families that need the support most. On top of this, families earning under £10,000 will not be eligible for the scheme, nor for the proposed increase in working tax credits that would increase childcare assistance.
Harriet Waldegrave, Education Research Assistant at Policy Exchange, argues that International Women’s Day is a good time to challenge the idea that childcare is a just a woman’s issue. Harriet notes that childcare is an economic issue and a child development issue, and should be seen as a women and a men’s issue.
Dr Owen Corrigan, Education Research Fellow at Policy Exchange, sets out findings from his report on vocational education Technical Matters. Dr Corrigan argues that students should be offered an alternative route through the education system that focuses on high quality technical and vocational provision to help meet the needs of pupils better suited to practical subjects.
Lucy Lee, Head of Education at Policy Exchange, argues that the government needs to address the quality of childcare in the UK. Citing upcoming research by Policy Exchange, Lucy shows that there is a huge discrepancy between the quality of childcare in wealthier areas compared to deprived parts of the country.
James O’Shaughnessy, author of recent Policy Exchange report Competition Meets Collaboration on ways to tackle failing schools in the UK, argues that failing schools should join successful Academy chains to drive up standards. If this is ineffective, then he suggests education management organisations, including both profit and not-for-profit, should take on the running of these schools.
Deregulation is not necessarily the solution to the childcare crisis: we must keep in mind what parents want
With the childcare debate seeing several new developments recently, Policy Exchange Education Research Fellow Harriet Waldegrave examines the issues that have arisen around care quality, regulation and funding. Harriet warns against the debate sliding into an ideological argument on deregulation.
James O’Shaughnessy, former Head of Policy for No. 10 and author of recent Policy Exchange report Competition Meets Collaboration, argues that following the new Ofsted inspection scheme, an increasing number of schools in Britain will be told they are failing. James suggests new ways to tackle this problem, including creating more academy chains.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Sean Worth, Senior Consultant to Policy Exchange, proposes ideas to turbo-charge the Government’s plans to free up the supply of schools in poorer urban areas by removing restrictions on who could provide schools, as well as lengthy planning requirements.