From Grammar schools to academic freedom: what is the future of education?Monday 10 October, 18.45 - 20.30 , Main chapel of Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester M2 1NL UK satellite events
Education is once again in the front line of ‘bring-backery’. Theresa May’s plan to bring back grammar schools has struck horror into an educational establishment which has struggled for more than half a century to abolish the 11-plus exam. Whatever next? Rote-learning, blackboards and chalk, gowns and mortar boards, the cane and the strap?
Tony Blair declared that ‘education, education, education’ were the top three priorities for New Labour and targets, league tables and parental choice came to dominate the world of teaching. Higher education too has been opened up to greater scrutiny and government intervention, as well as being subjected to the rigours of the market and the demands of the student as fee-paying consumer. Now the Prevent scheme, aimed at tackling radicalisation, threatens hard fought for academic freedom. Many of the instrumental schemes to make employability the focus of school and university education seem to reduce education to little more than an accreditation scheme for employment.
As politicians look to the past for inspiration, what is the future of education?
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academic; author, Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity; education editor, spiked
writer and researcher