Policy Exchange held an education conference What should the political parties promise on education in 2015? The one-day conference brought together senior Conservative and Labour politicians, along with leading education experts and professionals to debate what the 2015 election manifestos should be promising.
In his opening address Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education in England, referenced that evidence indicates that there are two drivers of high performing education systems: school autonomy and proper accountability. ”The strongest form of accountability comes from the data generated by externally set and marked tests and the judgements made by expert inspectors.” he said.
Meanwhile Tristram Hunt, Shadow Education Secretary, called for a focus on 21st century skills, adding “we do support intelligent accountability led by a dynamic interventionist Ofsted that roots out under performance”.
Cambridge Assessment Group Chief Executive, Simon Lebus, introduced Barack Obama’s former education adviser, State Senator Michael Johnston. Mr Lebus said “I share the concern that we may well be in for a second helping of yet more qualification reform, as it is clear that qualifications remain a central feature in both parties’ ambitions for driving up standards and improving the education system.” He identified that the challenges of change being faced in the UK are also preoccupying education policy makers in the USA. Michael Johnston has been deeply involved in the development of the ‘Common Core State Standards Initiative’ preparing students for success. He said that there are two things we can offer children: truth and hope. “The ability to confront the hard honest truths about where we are with education, at the same time being really be willing to believe in the opportunities for hope”, he added.
The conference provided panel debates covering each of the different stages of learning and the curriculum, assessment and workforce. The conference was streamed live and each of the sessions can now be viewed here.