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A league of our own: How British schools can lead the world

BY spectator events


April 3, 2014

9:00 am

1 Wimpole Street, Marylebone, London W1G 0LZ


Andrew Neil, chairman, The Spectator Magazine Group

Barnaby Lenon, Independent Schools Council

Tristram Hunt, shadow education secretary and Labour MP, Stoke-on-Trent Central

Amanda Spielman, chair of Ofqual, education adviser, ARK Schools and member of the Council, the Institute of Education

Fraser Nelson, editor, The Spectator

Kathryn Asbury, psychologist and co-author of 'G is for Genes: The Impact of Genetics on Education'

Michael Davidson, head of Early Childhood Education and Schools Division, OECD


Education policy continues to be top of the political agenda, particularly after the latest PISA report ranked Britain 26th in maths, 23rd for reading and 21st for science.  What exactly does the survey illustrate and where do we go from here?

The Spectator hosted a Schools Conference on 3rd April, bringing together leading politicians and educationalists to:

– Discuss and debate whether the government is doing enough to improve teaching and learning

– Interrogate the reforms in vocational and teacher training

– Analyse the paradox of Britain’s two-tier education system

Programme highlights

Tristram Hunt MP, Shadow Education Secretary will criticise the coalition’s education policy and explain how a Labour government will stop Britain’s slide down the international league tables.

Elizabeth Truss MP, Education and Childcare Minister, will respond to Hunt and argue that the coalition has put British education back on track. This has been achieved by overhauling the examinations system and reforms in vocational and teacher training. Truss will outline how the government can live up to her promise that ‘2014 will see a new, rigorous, national curriculum.’

Alison Wolf, economist and author of The Wolf Report, on whether the government has taken the necessary steps to improve vocational training. Wolf will outline the government’s key achievements and failures in its vocational reforms.

Michael Davidson, Head of Early Childhood Education and Schools Division, OECD. Davidson will speak about the latest PISA report and why a national’s educational performance matters more in a global economy. He will also address what the education department should do to improve our standing in the world’s league tables.

Barnaby Lenon, Lucy Elphinstone and Fergal Roche: What the Private Sector can teach Britain’s state schools, an analysis of the paradox of Britain’s education system. Britain’s independent schools are the benchmark for first class education yet the state sector continues to slide down international tables. The panel discussion will offer reasons for this. Are the state and public sectors capable of offering equal standards of education?

Amanda Spielman, Chair of Ofqual. Spielman will discuss the development of the examinations system in Britain’s schools: which exams have changed, how and why. She will analyse whether we are doing enough to make Britain a serious competitor in international league tables.

Toby Young, Matthew Taylor and Daisy Christodoulou: Knowledge versus Skills: Is there any point in teaching children facts in the technological age? A panel discussion on why education has to be knowledge-based, not an exercise in creative thinking.

Kathryn Asbury, Psychologist and co-author of ‘G is for Genes: The Impact of Genetics on Education will talk about the relationship between genetics and education