Welcome to my website. I set up this site as a way of storing reports, articles and other publications that I’ve worked on in the past as well as displaying my media appearances. I have also included a short biography and a contact form, should you wish to find out more.

FURTHER CONSIDERATION

After spending years, perhaps decades, in the policy shadows, the Further Education (FE) sector in England is finally attracting the attention of policymakers. Last year, the ‘Augar Review’ of post-18 education declared that FE colleges “are an essential part of the national educational infrastructure and should play a core role in the delivery of higher…

ADMITTING MISTAKES

Since UCAS was created in 1993, it has administered a system of competitive applications from students in which universities choose whom to admit. Students must submit various types of information including their predicted exam grades, a ‘personal statement’ and academic references, after which universities assess the information provided by candidates and decide whether to offer…

RUNAWAY TRAINING

The apprenticeship levy began operating in April 2017. The levy is, in effect, a tax of 0.5 per cent on the pay bill of UK employers with annual wages of over £3 million. These employers pay their levy contributions into a digital account held by HMRC and can then ‘spend’ their contributions on apprenticeships delivered…

TRUST ISSUES

It would have been hard to imagine back in 2002 when the first ‘city academy’ opened that such a small, targeted scheme aimed at replacing failing schools in urban areas would end up becoming one of the most contentious educational debates in living memory. The situation we are left with almost two decades later is…

A STEP BACCWARD

Ever since its retrospective introduction in 2010, the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) has generated considerable debate. Despite its confusing name, the EBacc is a ‘performance measure’ for schools that records the percentage of pupils who enter and pass their GCSEs in all the following subjects: English language and English literature; Mathematics; Either history or geography; A…

FREE TO CHOOSE

Our post-18 education system is broken. The total value of outstanding student debt has already passed £100 billion and is forecast to reach around £450 billion by the middle of this century. With the vast majority of universities charging £9,250 per year for undergraduate degrees, students are typically finishing their courses with £40,000-£50,000 of debt….

REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT

Ofsted’s ratings of each state school as ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’ are frequently used by parents. The giant PVC banners that adorn many school gates are testament to how much weight is placed on the judgements made by inspectors. Ofsted’s own research has shown that their ratings are the second most important factor…

A QUALIFIED SUCCESS

The contrast between the stability of academic and vocational qualifications in this country could not be starker. A-levels and GCSEs have existed in some form for almost 70 years, and their purpose and character have remained largely unchanged over their impressive lifespan. Meanwhile, numerous waves of vocational qualifications, training schemes and government programmes have come…

TES and FE Week articles (October 2018)

Here are two articles that I wrote for two magazines that cover separate education and skills issues, including a discussion of how much money we spend on education compared to other countries as well as analysis of how a future reduction in low-skill immigration might affect government policy on skills. ‘School spending in Britain DOES…