Welcome to my website. I set up this site as a way of storing research reports 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.

20 YEARS OF MUDDLING THROUGH – January 2024

Teachers and school leaders are currently facing an array of challenges – funding shortfalls, a teacher recruitment and retention crisis and questions over the safety of some buildings, to name but three. It may therefore seem like a curious time to be discussing the structure of the state school system, most notably the future direction…

BROKEN LADDERS – December 2023

The academic pathway from GCSEs to A-levels to an undergraduate degree at university is a well-trodden and well-understood route that attracts tens of thousands of young people in England every year. However, while this pathway receives considerable political and media interest, just 37 per cent of young people take three A-levels in their final years…

PRIVATE MATTERS – July 2023

The political debate over the role, status and taxation of independent (‘private’) schools in England shows no sign of abating. Two issues have attracted considerable attention in recent months: the prospect of VAT being added to independent school fees; and the charitable status of independent schools. In the first part of this research project –…

VAT ON PRIVATE SCHOOL FEES – June 2023

Despite its current political salience, the proposal to charge VAT on private (‘independent’) school fees in England is nothing new. The Labour Party’s 1983 election manifesto set out plans to “withdraw charitable status from private schools and all their other public subsidies and tax privileges [and] we will also charge VAT on the fees paid…

EXAMINING EXAMS – April 2023

Over 300 years since the first written exam was used in the English education system, this traditional form of assessment continues to divide opinion.  To their supporters, written exams provide a rigorous test of students’ knowledge and understanding that acts as a source of motivation as well as a sound basis for progression onto university…

NO TRAIN NO GAIN – November 2022

10 years ago, the Coalition Government commissioned the ‘Richard Review’ to ensure that apprenticeships in England were “consistently delivering high quality training”. The Review called for a package of reforms that aimed to deliver a “world class” system, which centred around a new ‘employer-led’ approach that has allowed employers to control the design and provision…

CHANGING COURSES – September 2022

In recent years, our education and training system has been buffeted by several seismic events, including the quest to reach ‘Net Zero’ by 2050, Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and now the looming prospect of yet another economic downturn. To rise to the challenge posed by each of these events, let alone a combination of them,…

FINDING A NEET SOLUTION – May 2022

A young person being ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ (NEET) can be particularly harmful and have long-term ‘scarring’ effects. Individuals who spend time NEET are more likely to be unemployed, receive lower wages, have a criminal record, report lower levels of life satisfaction and job satisfaction and suffer from health problems such as depression….

MAKING PROGRESS – November 2021

Having been introduced 30 years ago, SATs (‘standardised assessment tasks’) are one of the most prominent features of primary education in England, yet they remain as controversial now as they were back in the early 1990’s. To their supporters, SATs are an invaluable tool for measuring the attainment and progress of both pupils and schools…