Purpose and quality of education: Committee holds conference

14 September 2016

The Education Committee held a wide-ranging conference on the purpose and quality of education in England.

Conference background and topics of discussion

The conference follows the receipt of more than 160 written submissions of evidence, including from education ministries from across the world, a web-forum, and a public evidence session with Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills.

The conference opened with a panel debate with experts on the question of the purpose of education chaired by the editor of Schools Week, Laura McInerney. There followed a discussion of how this question was viewed and interpreted in different education systems with representatives of the governments of Finland and Switzerland, led by Gabriel Heller Sahlgren, who has written extensively on international education systems.

Breakout sessions

More than 100 guests then attended a series of breakout sessions, during which a number of subjects arising through the Committee’s inquiry were discussed. These included primary and secondary assessment, parental engagement, social mobility in education, employability and functional skills, standards, behaviour and discipline, educating outdoors, expressive arts and creativity, and wellbeing and mindfulness.

The conference was rounded off with a keynote speech from renowned academic and broadcaster Professor Mary Beard (PDF PDF 88 KB).

The Committee plans to reflect on the conference before deciding its next steps.

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright

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