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

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

This was the powerful message of the Politics in Education Summit; an independently organised summit held in November 2015 at the Royal Society in London attracting leaders from across education and policy to discuss the role of politics in education today.

Among repeated calls to lift education out of political cycles, the summit featured carefully constructed proposals for the best role the UK government could play and what we could do, 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, the discussions 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?

How imaginative can we be in helping each other develop the courage for true expression, inspire real dialogue, 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 remain 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.

3 Ways to explore the Politics in Education Summit and become part of this discussion:

  1. Review the official summaries created and presented to UK Education Policy Makers
  2. Request information on access to the full original transcripts and power-point slides
  3. Join this five-part e-course for free created to guide understanding on these issues…

Part 1: Why do we have Politics in Education? – learn about the International Overview, Historical Background and Current Conditions by Tim Oates, Laura McInerney and Bill Lucas.

Part 2: Politics in Education: Who is in the Game? – explore stakeholder perspectives across the teaching profession, those with special education needs, businesses and academics.

Part 3: Where is the Power? Where is it Shifting? – look at the powers in education politics featuring contributions from government, a new professional body, unions and governors.

Part 4: Politics in Education: The Big Picture – zoom out to reflect on the purpose of education and of politics from Mick Waters, Jonathan Simons and an MP.

Part 5: Politics in Education: Calls to Action – reflect on the course and next steps.

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

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