Education Select Committee to examine ‘purpose and quality’ of education in England

The “purpose and quality of education” will be examined by MPs in the new year, it has been announced.

The House of Commons education committee will lead an inquiry into the “purpose” of education for all children in England and appropriate measures of its quality.

The inquiry aims to discover:

– The purpose of education for children of all ages

– The measures which should be used to evaluate the quality of education against that purpose

– How well the current system performs against those measures

Committee chair Neil Carmichael, the Conservative MP for Stroud, said it was “important” to reach an “agreed sense of what education is” so the right questions can be asked about “how we evaluate the quality of our education and how well it is performing against those measures”.

He said: “As a society we all have a stake in whether our education system delivers for all children and we’re really keen to hear from parents and students, as well as from those who work in the education world or employ young people after they leave school.”

Written evidence can be submitted to the committee here by January 25, and a social media conversation will take place using the hashtag #EduPurpose.


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  1. keef feeley

    ‘What do we really need to learn to achieve a healthy, happy, successful life?’
    The evidence from many decades of extensive research has shown that to be healthy, happy and successful in almost any role in the modern world, there are 8 key skills that invariably need to be well developed, that will be discovered by answering these 8 questions.
    How well can they
    1. Learn and cope and enjoy the continual change in modern life?
    2. Understand and solve problems to make good decisions through life?
    3. Concentrate and communicate in the variety of ways possible (listen, speak, read, write, non-verbal, I.T. etc.)?
    4. Assess themselves accurately and what to improve?
    5. Manage their feelings, control their behaviour and avoid ‘quick–fix’ solutions (delay gratification)?
    6. Cope with difficulties and learn from setbacks to become resilient?
    7. Understand, empathise & appreciate other people’s views and emotions?
    8. Relate and cooperate with others?
    The priorities & focus of education of Academia measured by written exams has remained largely unchanged since the 19th century which does little to assess the development in these 8 areas of ability (skills, intelligences, capabilities, etc.. Surely education should be helping (with parents)to prepare our children for the 21st century rather than the 19th?

  2. One of the biggest takeaways for me from the Politics in Education Summit (see here for summaries: was that the countries which have improved began their improvement with an open nation-wide and incisive conversation on what education is for. The Education Select Committee received the transcripts and summaries from that event, I’m delighted to see them provide a platform for this conversation.

  3. Marie Reynolds

    I think we should ask the children…

    Currently we evaluate the quality of our education in the primary sector through a regime that focuses on testing children.

    Five year olds are tested for a school’s baseline.
    Six year olds are screened for phonics.
    Seven year olds are tested for reading, Grammar, punctuation and spelling and mathematics.
    Seven year olds that did not pass the screening check for phonics are resecreened a year later.
    There is a proposal that eight year olds that did not pass the screening check will rescreened.
    Eleven year olds are tested for reading, grammmar, punctuation and spelling and mathematics. There is a proposal that children that do not pass the tests in Year 6 wil have to retake them in Year 7.

    We need to ask the children what it feels like to be a pupil in this education system.This is an ideal opportunity.

    Teachers have the opportunity to carry out an informal pupil referendum in a real life situation and feed back the findings to the education committee by the 25th of January. What a wonderful way to exemplify one of the fundemental British Values – democracy.