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Our greatest challenge: supporting schools facing the greatest challenge

GuestBlogger19 February 2018

 Written by IOE Events

The fifth in our ‘What if…?’ debates series, looking at how best to support the most challenged schools, featured the stellar line-up of the National Schools Commissioner, Sir David Carter, Sam Freedman of Teach First, Head of Passmores Academy (and ‘Educating Essex’) Vic Goddard, and Lucy Heller, Chief Executive of the international education charity Ark.

While the correlation between disadvantage and lower educational attainment is not 100%, it remains a strong one. This has been a central concern in education debate for some time, but it’s something we seem to take two steps forward and one step back on (some might say one step forward and two steps back). We asked our panellists: if you were Secretary of State, what would you do to crack this problem once and for all? This required some radical ideas; what we got was radical but also practicable (well, in theory at least – even the suggestion of moving Parliament to Sheffield; the upcoming re-fit does provide the opportunity, after all…).

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Transforming teaching as a career choice: what would be on your wish list?

GuestBlogger22 December 2017

Written by IOE Events

Next up in our ‘What if…’ debates series was the matter of the teaching profession: What if… we wanted to transform teaching as a career choice?. To address this question we had union and think tank representatives in the form of Mary Bousted and Jonathan Simons, and international perspectives from Professor Martin Mills of the University of Queensland (and incoming Director of the IOE’s new Centre for Research on Teachers and Teaching) and Lucy Crehan, author of Cleverlands.

ioe-debates-social-mobilityThat there is a pressing problem with recruitment to, and retention in, teaching has become all too evident. Recruitment targets for initial teacher training courses have now been missed for five years in a row, while head teachers have been increasingly vocal about the difficulties that they’re having in staffing their classrooms. Graduates and teachers are voting with their feet (many to become teaching assistants as it happens) and the alarm bells are ringing – and not to mark the end of the lesson.

It seems that we have no alternative but to think about alternatives. What might they be? Never mind those lists for Santa Claus, what should we be asking the Secretary of State for Education to put under the Christmas tree for teachers? (more…)

Education and social mobility – the missing link, or red herring?

GuestBlogger9 November 2017

pencil-iconWritten by IOE Events

On 31 October, we held the first in our ‘What if…’ events series, which challenges thought leaders to bring some fresh and radical thinking to key debates in education. We kicked off with the issue of education’s role in relation to social mobility, asking the panel ‘What if… we really wanted to further social mobility through education?’.

First up was Kate Pickett of Spirit Level fame. She rejected the very premise of the question, highlighting the greater impact of wider, pervasive inequalities.

Nevertheless, she saw some scope for education policy to help lessen those inequalities – banning private education, randomising school admissions and ending student fees were a few of her recommendations.

Next was James Croft, chair of the Centre for Education Economics. He was more sanguine about what could be achieved through education and ‘working with the grain’ of the existing system.

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