The purpose and quality of education in England

09/02/16

​We are pleased to say that the Education Select Committee has now published our evidence in support of its inquiry into the purpose and quality of Education in England.

Our position was submitted on our behalf by the University of Winchester’s Centre for Real-World Learning who produced the collective response of 10 national organisations including PTA UK, the RSA, Association of School and College Leaders, and the City & Guilds.

In summary, this response made the following recommendations:

  • The English education system needs to be reformed in a number of areas, driven by a clear vision of what education is for and what capabilities, knowledge and skills society needs our young people to develop.
  • Education in England needs to be driven by key goals including:

  • Preparing students for a lifetime of learning while seeing childhood and school as valuable in their own right;
  • Engaging effectively with parents via a new national strategy;
  • Valuing vocational and academic routes equally through engagement with employers;
  • Cultivating happier and healthier children;
  • Empowering and valuing teachers’ creativity and professionalism.

PTA UK’s Policy and Communications Director Michelle Doyle Wildman said: “We know from our annual parents’ survey that English parents feel a good education goes beyond exam results. We also know that the vast majority of parents want a say in education at a national level and in schools. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to give the parent perspective to such a fundamental topic for our times, namely the purpose of education”.

The collective response also recommends that:

  • An Independent Commission for Curriculum Review is established to guide and assess this reform.
  • A new measure is developed to assess our success as a nation in valuing our children. A new index could bring together: The quality of school life; physical and emotional well-being plus how engaged children are in their education.
  • Capabilities and characteristics such as resilience, positive attitude, collaboration, self-control and craftsmanship need to be valued in their own right and as a way of achieving more academically. This may require some type of measurement to sit alongside examination results.
  • As a good education ensures all learners progress, any assessments and external examinations need to be evaluated against this goal. Education in England needs to rely less heavily on high-stakes testing in the future.

To see the full response please click here.

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