A seven page document, written by edpol for the Foundation for Education Development, critiquing how education policy is...Read Full Report
Education policy in England needs long-term planning
Build a long-term plan, based on strong process, evidence, institutions and participation
A shared vision and plan for education policy in England
England’s education system is a huge, interconnected, complex system. To establish enduring policy and to ensure intended outcomes are achieved, a long-term planning process is necessary. A long-term plan starts with a shared vision of the future and an agreed purpose for education. This should be constructed with the confidence of all major parties and key stakeholders. The vision and purpose should consider a 10 to 15-year time span and be clear enough to help set priorities.
A process for educational change
There needs to be an agreed process to change the key building blocks of the education system, such as curriculum, assessment, accountability, funding and system organisation. As an example, early work is shared below on a possible process for curriculum development.
Using Evidence: From What Works to What’s Possible
To strengthen decision making a What Works for policy makers should be created to understand “What’s Possible?” An Education Policy Knowledge Centre (EPKC) is proposed. Capacity is required – to synthesise existing evidence and practice. This should provide timely evaluation of policy options to all: Ministers; Civil Servants; SpAds; Think Tanks; Oppositions; representative bodies etc. See the Overview and Research and Structure proposed for the EPKC here.
Strengthening and building institutions
Existing institutions need strengthening and supplementing. Proposals for DfE reform are offered below. Non-governmental institutions require a clearer and more considered voice, at a national, regional and local level. Their perspective must be wider-ranging and longer-term. Forums for evidence review and debate, amongst experts and stakeholders of all types are lacking. ‘Policy Boards’ that look at particular challenges, are one mechanism to facilitate this process.
Widening participation in policy making
The foundation for a long-term plan must define the relationship between national government and local actors. Top-down policy has limitations. If a vision anticipates greater empowerment for providers and stakeholders, then delegation is a logical next step – smaller, local and regional structures foster responsibility and can be made accountable.