What are the challenges facing inequality in education for England?
I offer you an invitation to come to meet with colleagues; but more importantly, to attend The Royal Society of Arts in Charing Cross, London to listen to several speakers discuss inequality and the bewildering patchwork of provision in our school system.
Inequality in Education:
We have an educational system that is designed to polarise people, one that creates an elite who can easily come to have little respect for the majority of the population, who think that they should earn extraordinarily more than everyone else, and defines the jobs of others as so low-skilled that it apparently justifies many living in relative poverty. (Danny Dorling – The Guardian)
This is a conference organised by RSA London, Inequality in Education Network on Monday 5th October 2015 from 6pm to 9pm. The event will take place at the RSA House, John Adam Street, London. WC2N 6EZ.
This year’s conference is aimed at anyone interested in promoting fair access to education regardless of socio-economic background from Early Years to Further Education. If you are a parent, pupil, teacher, governor, university representative, interest group, NGO or just passionate about education, this conference is for you.
The meeting is designed so that participants have prior notice of some of the questions to be discussed and so that the event will have a strong social media presence via @Tide_Turning.
We (@@ & @) are doing this because we think it unlikely that any significant changes will be made unless there is a strong social movement supporting progressive reform and we intend the meeting to be a contribution to the building of such a movement.,
Please use the hashtag #InequalityEd
The Future of Education in England:
This year we have two great speakers: Diane Reay, Professor of Education at Cambridge University and Danny Dorling, Professor of Social geography at the University of Oxford. Both speakers are passionate and informed critics of the current education system.
Your Questions for the Conference:
The following questions have been presented by the speakers, Diane and Danny respectively. It would be great to receive your answers and comments prior to the conference.
Questions from Diane Reay?
- What needs to change to achieve greater equality in schooling?
- What needs to change for the key indicators below to improve?
- Which indicators are the most important and why?
- What is missing?
(Diane’s suggested indicators below)
- The degree of difference in educational attainment levels across different classes and ethnic groups
- The levels of well-being and happiness of school students
- The difference in spending per pupil across different types of schools (including the private sector)
- The levels of segregation and polarisation between schools and within them (including the private sector)
- The degree to which all children have access to a broad and balanced curriculum
- Teachers’ levels of professional satisfaction and autonomy
Questions from Danny Dorling?
- Is a more expensive education really a more privileged one?
- Have you learnt a great deal if you are awarded many A*s?
- Do we value memorising above problem solving and experimentation?
- Can we imagine a schooling system without so much testing of children?
History of the Network:
In May 2014, a RSA London network on educational inequality convened a meeting in the Great Room to which we invited @Pasi_Sahlberg and Peter Mortimore. Our aim was to address inequality of outcome in the English education system. Both speakers gave inspiring and informative talks – you can watch them here & here.
The talks got a strong response and since then we have held a number of network meetings in London. At these meetings we have become aware of the increasingly urgent need for a national discussion on education that includes the voice of parents, children and teachers who are increasingly concerned about the inequality and disorganisation of our entire education system from early years to tertiary provision.
Please use the hashtag #InequalityEd
Read here to find out what happened last year.