Category Archives: Education

Will our children ever trust us again?

In any other year, the next few months would be some of the most formative of Emma’s life. New classes, newer friends; at the very least, her second term in Sixth Form held the promise of A-Level mock exams. But with the Christmas holiday over and schools shut until at least mid-February, Emma — like […]

The potential and pitfalls of putting the ‘university experience’ online

Way before the upheaval of the COVID-19 crisis, universities were gradually moving some teaching activities online. Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) such as Moodle or Blackboard are well-established for providing access to course materials, including readings and lecture slides, and the submission and marking of student coursework. More recently, a head of steam has developed around […]

Don’t turn Britain’s schools into mental health centres

Britain’s schools are changing: not just in terms of what is taught, but also what we expect them do to help pupils. In June 2017, the Times Educational Supplement reported that the government had put £200k behind a plan to train ‘mental health first-aiders’ in every secondary school. The funding is intended to train 3,000 teachers and teaching […]

This strike reminds us what universities are for

Britain’s university leaders might feel that they had been through an ‘annus horribilis‘, said universities minister Sam Gyimah at last week’s official launch of the Office for Students. With scandalised reports of vice-chancellors’ pay, ongoing wrangles over university funding and student tuition fees, and now a large, sustained and well-organised lecturers’ strike paralysing dozens of pre-1992 universities, […]

What should schools teach?

In the UK, decades of political meddling in the curriculum have resulted in endless lists prescribing what – and how – teachers should teach. How refreshing then, that unlike many educational policy prescriptions, What Should Schools Teach? does not offer a dazzling list of innovative academic hybrids, along with an interactively inspirational flowchart of how […]

Schooling goes back to the future

‘A young person loiters vaguely by your door. His mum wants him to check his targets again, so you go over his last report for the third time. He seems satisfied with your explanation and conveys himself back to maths. When you asked him if he enjoyed maths he said he was doing better this […]

Anthony Horowitz: ‘We’re afraid of our kids, and we’re afraid for them’

‘A child should be able to make up his or her own mind about an adult they are meeting without that adult having to wave a government-stamped piece of paper. The idea that the government can come in to the most fundamental of relationships – between an adult and a child – and somehow manipulate […]

Turning teachers into objects of suspicion

One of the most pernicious prejudices of our time is that adults, given half a chance, will abuse the children in their care. This is the prejudice that lies behind the UK government’s out-of-control, increasingly unpopular mass vetting scheme, in which adults who want to spend time with, or take responsibility for, children other than […]

Why pedagogy is in peril

Frank Furedi, author of Wasted: Why Education Isn’t Educating, talks to Jennie Bristow about the politicisation of education and the crisis of adult authority. Everyone has a view on the crisis of education. Politicians point the finger at outdated attitudes, mess about with the curriculum, prescribe new teaching methods and seek to involve parents in […]

Examination, examination, examination

‘The time for reform has come’, said Mike Tomlinson, leader of the government-commissioned working party on the future of England’s schools examinations system, as he produced his interim report on 14-19 education. What, again? Over the past few years England’s exams have undergone more reform than the pupils sitting them have had hot dinners. Each […]