Section: UK

If not an algorithm, economic background will determine grades

Jacob Taylor

The A-level results fiasco is just the tip of the educational inequality iceberg, one which extends even beyond the issue of private and grammar schools, but is nevertheless exacerbated by it. Underlying the broad inequalities we find in our education system is one key ingredient: socioeconomic inequality. We must now quickly learn the lesson that […]

Isolating the imagination: the decline of languages

Dr M M Gilchrist

Amid the furore over the mangling of this year’s A-level results, one statistic stood out for me: only 7,557 students took French. While the numbers taking Spanish rose slightly, those taking German fell by 6 percent. This decline in European languages in state schools is worrying, accompanied also by a decline in the humanities, such […]

Government blunders: learning from the past

Dr Stella Perrott

In their book, published in 2013, The Blunders of Our Governments, Ivor Crew and Anthony King explore 12 examples of government blunders, all of which took place prior to the majority Conservative government of 2015. Their examples are from Conservative, coalition and Labour administrations. A summary of the findings can be found here. They define […]

From crisis to opportunity: is the pandemic the catalyst to reshaping health and care services in England?

Peter Ellis
surgeons performing surgery

Politicians are attempting to blame various Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) agencies, for England’s lacklustre performance in managing the pandemic. It is a paradox that such political ‘blame gaming’ highlights what I believe are some of the inherent and longstanding problems that have limited the NHS’s potential. This is exacerbated by misinformation leaked […]

Gavin Williamson has failed his test

Andy Brown
auditorium benches chairs class

Every reasonable person knows that government isn’t easy. Particularly in a pandemic. Making real time decisions when events are unfolding at speed inevitably produces mistakes. Yet the vast majority of the mistakes made in the exam fiasco don’t fall into that category. They were avoidable and there was plenty of time to look properly into […]

Johnson claims the (oven ready) deal will be ready by September

Jane Thomas
Boris Johnson in Downing Street

Tuesday saw the start of round seven of talks on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union. The UK and the EU have now been in negotiations on their future relationship since 2 March 2020, which makes you wonder just what they have been talking about and why there’s been so little progress. Part of […]

Johnson is heading for the elephant trap he has dug himself

Anthony Robinson

Sir Ivan Rogers was our ambassador to the EU (known as UKREP) until Theresa May forced him out in January 2017 for having the temerity to suggest she should have a clear plan ready before triggering Article 50. Since then he has made a series of incisive speeches, all of which have proved remarkably prescient. […]

Trouble in Tory paradise?

Jacob Millen-Bamford

Conservative backbench MPs are an unhappy group at the moment. Number 10 is struggling to manage them and is seen to be ignoring their concerns. When the Conservatives won an 80-seat majority in the 2019 general election this majority was widely seen to be impenetrable. The government, and therefore Number 10, would be able to […]

Let’s celebrate the real wealth creators

Jacob Taylor
silver round coins

Cast your minds back two months, to a time when every Thursday evening you would step out your front door or lean out of your window and join your neighbours in clapping for the “wealth creators” of Britain. That’s not who you were clapping for? Well according to Boris Johnson we were as much clapping […]

Futures decided by Numberwang? Exam results in the time of covid

Dr Pam Jarvis

On the day that an exams algorithm robbed a significant number of working-class children in Yorkshire and across the nation of the results they needed to access their university places, Jon Snow interviewed Nick Gibb on the Channel 4 news. Gibb began by telling Snow that the spread of grades across the whole cohort was […]

The computer says “no”

Juliet Lodge

The computer says, “No, you Josh from a community comprehensive in Mexborough shan’t go to Oxford”. Nor shall you, Amber from Bransholme, Hull’s largest council estate. But the computer says “yes” to Harry from Rishworth and Olivia from Ampleforth. As for grades, the computer says “yes” to downgrading Josh’s and Amber’s and “yes” to inflating […]

Refugees are neither migrants nor illegal

Jon Danzig

By making such a chancy crossing the only way to seek asylum here, the prime minister and home secretary are complicit in aiding and abetting odious gangsters who are making millions out of desolate people.

Is Boris Johnson losing the plot?

Anthony Robinson

On a visit to Northern Ireland yesterday where he met Irish prime minister Micheál Martin, Boris Johnson made the extraordinary claim that there will be no border down the Irish Sea, saying if there is one it will be “over my dead body”.  This is widely reported in the local media (here and here) and […]

A case for school-led political education

Beanna Olding

Twitter wars; they’re everywhere. Even if you are not on Twitter, you’ve probably still seen a fair few. And even if you haven’t directly seen the venomous, back-and-forth, 280-character limited attacks, I’ll wager that you’ve read the news articles denouncing or encouraging them. It seems that the debate around whether or not these Twitter wars […]

The taste of Lavender is as good as the scent

Meryl White

How I’ve appreciated the smells of lavender growing in my garden this year reminding me of visits to Lavender farms across the UK and Provence in France. As well as being a beautiful plant, lavender is well known for its soothing scent and the calming benefits of its oil. It’s a classic in the world of […]

Brexit backing billionaire plans to open new car plant – in France

Anthony Robinson

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder of the chemical company Ineos and Britain’s richest man, plans to open a car plant in France to build the successor to the 4×4 Land Rover Defender which was discontinued in 2016. Ratcliffe, who was a supporter of Brexit, reportedly moved to Monaco in 2019 in order to avoid paying £4bn […]

Public health should be in public hands

Jane Thomas

This morning on BBC Radio 4, Minister of State for Health Edward Argar attempted to defend the indefensible by suggesting that the government will stick with Serco to provide the essential coronavirus test and trace programme. This is despite mounting evidence of the abject failure of the current test and trace programme run by Serco, […]

Testing (and tracing) is not just for schools

Jane Thomas
adorable blur bookcase books

It may only be August, but as far as Covid-19 is concerned, it’s now all about autumn and winter. In particular, what is concerning for children, parents, educators and employers is how prepared the country is to reopen schools and what impact this will have on the pandemic. Will it be safe enough for our […]

Social instability? It’s on the house! (part two)

Andrew Leach

Part one of ‘Social instability? It’s on the house!’ is available HERE Successive UK governments have had, at best, short-sighted housing policies for decades. Despite all the promises and white papers, programmes of house-building, bank lending, and false starts, headlines over recent years have talked of a housing crisis. The population’s getting older, house ownership […]

Labour warns of “jobs bonfire”

Anthony Robinson

Labour’s shadow business and consumer minister has slammed the government for costing small businesses millions of pounds in wasted preparations after they were given just 24 hours’ notice to scrap a planned reopening. Lucy Powell set out yesterday how bowling alleys, casinos and beauty salons across the country had all spent time and money preparing to […]

Planning for profit

Andy Brown
high angle shot of suburban neighborhood

Planning regulations are hugely complex and difficult to understand. It must be very tempting for a new minister to try and make their mark by simplifying and reforming the system. Particularly if they represent a political party that has received huge donations from building developers. So, it comes as no surprise that Robert Jenrick wants […]

Social instability? It’s on the house! (part one)

Andrew Leach

Home, they say, is where the heart is. Quickly followed by “I wonder what this place is worth?” For too long that most basic of provisions, a roof over one’s head, has been seen as “an investment” rather than a home, a sanctuary. And increasingly, it’s the politicians who are rubbing their hands at the […]

Multigenerational is the new black

Javed Bashir

First, it was minority ethnics, then Blacks Live Matter and now Asians – the popular trope doing the rounds for why the North is being locked down is now multigenerational households. Yes, multigenerational is the new black. Craig Whitaker, Conservative MP for Calder Valley, gave an interview on LBC radio with Ian Payne on 31 […]

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