To Ask What Education Is For Is To Ask What Society Is For

This became the powerful, perceptive message of the Politics in Education Summit. Among repeated calls to lift education out of political cycles were carefully constructed proposals for the best role the UK government could play and what we could do, as citizens and influencers, to contribute in partnership towards current and future developments of our state education system; the cornerstone of any hopeful, purposeful society.

Alongside thoughtful debates, this Summit revealed an uncomfortable truth about the wider state of state education. Deep questions of worthiness, frustrations around representation, fear to speak and apathy for all the good it might do are running through our system.

What are the consequences to this debate, so central to society, when people feel their background or way of expression excludes them, rather than simply signalling hope for an invitation, some patience and empathy in conversation, to partake and learn what’s necessary to become part of this important national discourse?

State education is personal, affecting our lives and the lives of those we love.

How imaginative can we be in helping each other develop the courage for true expression, to inspire moral dialogue, leading to intellectual reasoning and thoughtful action? Speakers stressed the importance of understanding perspectives of key stakeholders, including the Government and media in order for us to move forward with any coherent vision on education. Interestingly, this recasts our Government as a lever we can learn to understand and use effectively, rather than the provider of a service we critique.

Teacher retention and recruitment remains an urgent problem affecting our young people. Given the big picture context and space provided by the Politics in Education Summit, this urgent problem was diagnosed as a symptom of underlying problems we’ve neglected, while short-term policies swept the system. Longer term thinking, longer term goals and longer term policies are the recommended treatment now.


Commissioned summaries of the event as shared with UK Education policy makers available at LeahKStewart.com/PoliticsInEducation

An interactive eCourse is also open from my website to explore bite-sized content from those who gathered at the Politics in Education Summit sparking the Select Committee inquiry into the purpose of education, just ask me for links to materials from this contact page.

Summit Speakers (and eCourse contributors) include Tim Oates, Sir John Dunford, Jonathan Simons, Mick Waters and more.


“I’ve been really enjoying the course! It’s a great way to take everything in. Thank you” – Naureen

“Your videos make it all more accessible. Thanks for starting something new in education!” – Alan


Once you’ve messaged me from this page, I’ll write back with how you can access the materials for free and join a discussion with others interested in understanding the politics of education.