Tackling inequality in English education

Henry Stewart's picture
On 7th April 2014 the RSA hosted a discussion on educational inequality in England. Peter Mortimore gave passionate call for change and Pasi Sahlberg looked at international comparisons and lessons from Finland. The videos are well worth watching for their entertaining and informative contribution:

Pasi Sahlberg: Video: Lessons on Equality & Education

Pasi explains how the GERM (Globalised Education Reform Movement) - based on standardisation, competition and test based accountability - has spread around the world. Pasi argues (at 5 mins) that what unites every country infected by the GERM virus is that none of these countries have been able to improve student performance, as measure in the international studies.

He goes on to graphically show how the more unequal a nation is, the less well their education system performs - and how our Secretary of State chooses the wrong countries to follow. In contrast Finland built on a fairly equal society with the abolition of private schools and selection, and an approach very different to that of ERM. And two crucial conclusions from the 2012 PISA research:

Pasi argues for more trust and responsibility and less “accountability”. He concluded with 5 keys to improvement in England:

Pasi’ 5th point (not captured in the video) was to focus less on school choice and more on educational equity.

Further Videos

See also Peter Mortimore on Educational inequality in England plus

Educational inequality: Video: Q & A
Educational inequality: 5 mins video of Jon Cruddas and Philip Beadle

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Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 28/04/2014 - 09:00

Thanks, Henry. It can't be said often enough that increasing so-called "choice" in education has no bearing on school improvement. And countries which concentrate on equity tend to perform better in PISA tests.

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