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.

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…

VALUE-ABLE LESSONS – July 2021

The debate over ‘low value’ HE has reached a stalemate. Numerous government ministers both past and present and the independent review of post-18 education chaired by Philip Augar (the ‘Augar Review’) have criticised universities for delivering degree courses that do not offer sufficient ‘value’ – primarily in the form of higher graduate salaries and better…

RE-ASSESSING THE FUTURE (PART 2) – April 2021

The dominance of A-levels in the final years of secondary education is inescapable. Of the 328,000 students who finished studying in 2020, 83 per cent of them had studied at least one A-level. Countless other qualifications have come and gone since A-levels were created 70 years ago, but it would be wrong to assume that…

RE-ASSESSING THE FUTURE (PART 1) – January 2021

The impact of COVID-19 on school examinations in 2020 and 2021 has been devastating, yet it would be wrong to assume that all was well before the coronavirus took hold. Examinations at the age of 16 – historically, the school leaving age – have been a central feature of secondary education in England for decades….

FURTHER CONSIDERATION – October 2020

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 – June 2020

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 – January 2020

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 – September 2019

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 – July 2019

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…