The first topic we want to discuss is ‘The Purpose of Education’ which we believe is fundamental in steering the future of education policy in the right direction. We have posed a series of questions to stimulate discussion on this topic however, we want you to let us have your views. Please suggest a debate on this first topic by leaving your comments in the box on the right, or go to the debate page to see the topics already being discussed.


We will organise the debate around three phases during the course of the next two terms. The topics for each of the phases are as follows:

The purpose of education 

(First half of autumn term discussion)

This topic is absolutely fundamental yet no discussion took place before the current wide-ranging reforms were implemented. A paper introducing some of these issues can be found here. It contains a number of questions to stimulate discussion. Should we adopt a national statement on the purpose of education? If so, what might it say? What do we mean when we talk about a ‘good education’? What is the correct balance between education as an end in its own right and a more utilitarian approach geared to the needs of our economy and future workforce?

Improving the quality of teaching and learning and the leadership of learning 

(Second half of autumn term discussion)
Everyone wants their child to go to a good school. The question is how do we deliver these expectations? We know that improving the quality of teaching and learning and the leadership of learning can help us realise this ambition but how do we do this? The second debate paper highlights some of these issues and can be found here. This paper contains a number of questions on this topic debate – how could the government build greater ownership of an agreed school improvement strategy across England? What are the characteristics of an excellent teacher? What needs to be done in order to attract, develop, recruit and support the next generation of school leaders?

Structures, admissions and accountability 

(Spring term discussion)
The government and the opposition both place great store by the concept of autonomy; school and college leaders being free to run their institutions as they consider appropriate and taking responsibility for outcomes. But how far has autonomy been an aid to improvement? And, how real is the level of autonomy? In terms of admissions, how far has this development brought welcome innovation and competition to the system? Are admissions procedures helping to promote or undermine broader social cohesion objectives? And how can we maintain rigour in the system while paying greater attention to accountability mechanisms that provide information and data relevant to teaching and learning? How can an accountability system maintain a focus on improvement in attainment with recognising progress in developing broader skills? And how could accountability be better balanced to reflect both the responsibility of individual institutions and their wider contribution to the local education system? The third debate paper will be produced and published on this website in the New Year and it will look at all of these questions and more.

We would like to hear your views on the phases above.  Find out how you can get involved.

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