Posted on behalf of the organisers of The Politics in Education Summit. 'I' and 'We' in this post refer to the organisers and not me.
"Delivering a fit for purpose education system is one of an elected Government’s key responsibilities and privileges, but in recent years the way that education is delivered, structured and assessed has seen unprecedented reforms and shifting priorities, many of these in line with a changing incumbent Government’s philosophy. The speed and breadth of these changes has highlighted how powerful an individual Government can be (and never more so with the current Education and Adoption Bill proposals) and raises questions over whether there is sufficient controls to ensure that education reform is based on evidence rather than political ideology."
"I came to this topic from a background of organising Summits which put evidence centre-stage and was fascinated to see how differently evidence is treated in the education system and the extent to which political ideology can take centre-stage in education reform – from creating a potential bias in interpreting evidence to underpinning an entire ideological model of how schools should be structured and governed. In researching this event I found an overwhelming lack of consensus on everything to do with the education system – from pedagogy to the curriculum, from the accountability systems to the very purpose of education itself. This lack of consensus revolves around the fact that education is very much values-based and therefore, by its nature, Political. Does this mean that it’s just inevitable or actually right that political ideology plays a role in the governance of the system? Can ideology actually help heal? Or does it worsen transformation? Does it drive change or just create divisiveness? If education is the bedrock of our society, is it appropriate that it is subject to the cyclical pressures of changing Governments and changing Secretaries of State, surely making implementing a clear and strategic long-term vision for education virtually impossible? Would it not be more effective and productive to have a clearly defined purpose and manifesto that is agreed by all parties and remains a constant despite changing Governments? If we were to design an effective education system from scratch – isn’t that what we’d do?"
"We wanted to create an event that made space to explore the impact of Government in education and question the value of creating additional safeguards which might help reduce ongoing cyclical change and disruption in the system. There isn’t another event like this - we’re questioning the status quo and exploring alternatives to shine a spotlight on critical issues that affect every part of the education system, and we need you to participate and contribute to ensure your perspectives are heard by policymakers and influencers."
"We’ve brought together an incredible line-up of expert educationalists to debate the role and question the influence of key stakeholders, including Governors, Teachers and Industry. We will consider how evidence is used in reform and examine the role of the Unions, the new College of Teaching and the role of Governing Boards. We will also explore whether the creation of an Independent Education Body might help reduce cyclical disruption and create an evidential base from which to achieve greater consensus. In other sectors, such as Health, there is a designated professional body which sits aside from Government and is largely responsible for healthcare decisions – should this, could this even, be replicated in Education?"
"Ultimately, this event questions who or what protects education from bad ideas and explores ways in which education policymaking might be better improved. The Summit will be recorded, transcribed and circulated to policymakers. It includes four separate 40 minute open Q&A debates with the audience to ensure a wide range of perspectives are heard. We’re keen to make sure all stakeholder groups are well represented in the audience. Make sure you get your voice heard, join us by registering at www.politicsineducationsummit.co.uk