Blogs

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Subject Hierarchies and the Purpose of Learning – Time to press re-set?

I'm very grateful to Gerry Czerniawski and the team at the British Educational Research Association for publishing my first BERA Blog, in which I explore just how conservative, backward looking and hierarchical the upper secondary curriculum is becoming.


Tony Breslin Speaking

Breslin calls for “National Centre for the Study of the Social Curriculum”

As a former CEO at the Citizenship Foundation and past Chair of the Association for the Teaching of the Social Sciences, Tony Breslin has called for a complete rethink of the wider social curriculum and a restating of its importance as being central to the purpose of a rounded education.


RSA

A Place for Learning: towards a new localism in education and learning?

New Breslin report sets out how learning, citizenship and community development must sit hand-in-hand if we are to build a culture of lifelong, life-wide learning in our neighbourhoods, communities and cities.


TES

Letter to the Times Educational Supplement

Letter to the Times Educational Supplement on the future of school governance.


Tony Breslin Speaking

Governance in the Academies Age: a loss of power, participation and autonomy?

What do the rapid changes in our education landscape mean for governance? Tony Breslin RSA Associate explores.


Tony Breslin Speaking

Memo to Justine Greening

Any education system that sees vocational activity as second class is second class itself


Tony Breslin Speaking

Lifelong learning

In this article for the latest edition of the prestigious RSA Journal, Tony Breslin, an RSA Fellow and Associate, outlines the kind of philosophy that is informing the approach that he is taking to a new paper on lifelong learning which will form part of the RSA Power to Create series.


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Use Your Vote supports calls for automatic voter registration

As the EU referendum looms, Breslin Public Policy's recently launched Use Your Vote campaign joins the growing support for automatic voter registration which is being led in Scotland by SNP MP Owen Thompson, with the support of online news board Midlothian View, established and edited by Use Your Vote Scotland Director Phil Bowen, proprietor of Pigeon Penguin, web partners for both the campaign and Breslin Public Policy.


Tony Breslin Speaking

Governance in the Academies age: a less or more localised future?

This is the first of the blogs to emerge from Governance in the Academies Age: issues, opportunities and challenges, the scoping study on the prospects for school governance in light of the recent White Paper, which Tony Breslin is leading for the RSA. Readers might be interested in the Governance Summit that will inform the study's final support being held at the RSA in London on the afternoon of June 21st.


Use Your Vote Breslin Public Policy

Use Your Vote: together, we can make apathy history

Tony Breslin explains the background and purpose of UseYourVote.com


Breslin Public Policy Cambridge Guides

Prepare for success with our new series of secondary transition guides

After BERA success, Breslin and Cambridge University Press combine to produce new guides for students, parents and teachers


Jeremy Corbyn

Why Jeremy Corbyn might be good for politics, whatever the consequences for Labour

In an article, in the New Statesman Tony Breslin discusses the effect Jeremy Corbyn will have on politics.


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Kids Company: a tale of what happens when charismatic leadership meets weak governance?

Whatever the actual story of the failure of children's charity, Kids Company, the truth is likely to be much more complex than the media fixation with the apparent failings of its erstwhile leader, Camila Batmanghelidjh.


Classroom

Time for a new approach to education, a long-promised ‘great debate’ on education and a focus on educational purpose?

An edited version of my piece on Labour's failure to offer a coherent narrative on education at Election 2015 has just been published on the website of Progress, the progressive think tank aligned to the Labour Party but not part of it.


Windsor Leadership Trust

So, what is great leadership?

Some thoughts inspired by the Windsor Leadership Trust. I've just responded to an e-mail from the Windsor Leadership Trust who are marking their 20th anniversary by compiling a series of essays and shorter pieces on leadership to be published later this year.


Mike Penning

So, where did it all go wrong?

It is almost a year since I've posted on the Breslin Public Policy blog, but with the election behind us, the business about to be relaunched and my adventure as Labour's candidate in Hemel Hempstead complete, if ultimately unsuccessful, I thought that I'd share my thoughts on the campaign, as published on the New Statesman website yesterday.


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Ofsted herald new focus on “the curriculum, SMSC and governance” and “preparing pupils for life in modern Britain”

A note about the soon-to-be-published inspection framework -has just been circulated to inspectors who have been told to expect summer training in anticipation of a September launch.


Tony Breslin Speaking

Tackling the rise of the “SPAD-ocracy”

Letter from Tony Breslin published in The Guardian on Monday 23rd June 2014


Tony Breslin Speaking

Sport in schools: levelling the playing field

Another day, another set of unfavourable comparisons between the state and independent sector, but if ever there was a playing field that needs to be levelled, it is the sports pitch. During London 2012 I had the privilege of working on the Get Set education project, a multi-faceted programme developed by Nick Fuller and his [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

From ‘Trojan Horse’ to ‘Great Debate’: time to decide what we want from our education system?

There is an inevitability about the Trojan Horse tale that ought to act as a warning to all involved in education reform, especially those promoters of freedom who wish to release schools and their governing bodies from an onerous state, casting them free to flourish in the ‘big society’. Let’s just look at the sequence [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Why UKIP might have done us all a favour

None of the main parties can be complacent about UKIP’s support in this week’s local and European elections and none should presume it will simply disappear. This is about much more than migration or Europe; UKIP are the lightening conductor for a public mood that sees nothing for it in a disconnected, professionalised politics staffed by the [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Research and the Teaching Profession: important new report launches today

Today marks the launch of the Final Report of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and Royal Society of Arts (RSA) inquiry into the the role of research in teachers’ initial and continuing education. The report, Research and the Teaching Profession: building the capacity for a self-improving education system, which I was asked to draft for the Inquiry’s [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Schools with Soul: time to give SMSC its proper place at the heart of the school improvement and transformation agenda?

Although attending to the “Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural” development of the pupils and students in their care has been a statutory responsibility for primary and secondary schools since 1944, what counts as ‘SMSC’ has had, as the Citizenship Education expert Ted Huddleston has noted, various iterations over the years.  At different points the initials [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

High grades or the whole child: a false choice

The responses to both the PISA statistics and the Chief Inspector’s report are depressingly familiar, with those who believe that more assessment will drive up achievement (usually on the policymaker side of the fence) cast against those (usually on the practitioner side) who claim our children are over-assessed and over-tested. This false divide has pervaded [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Citizenship, a lost bag and an act of kindness: a good news story

It’s never been the stuff of this blog to go ‘personal’ but I must relate this story of human kindness, honesty and optimism. Just in case you’ve put down the newspaper or turned away from the rolling news with its tales of dishonesty, dishonour and the rest – a world where nobody can be trusted, [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Child poverty: what do young people have to say about it?

Breslin Public Policy release new paper on child poverty We are pleased to announce the publication of our new paper, A Series of Doors: young people talking about the experience of poverty, based on work originally undertaken for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, as part of their response to the government consultation on child [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Ed Miliband and the re-building of trust in politics

Today’s speech by Ed Miliband is powerful stuff and an honest, appropriate response to Falkirk but this is not just about ‘Labour and the Unions’. Below I share more of my personal experience than is usual on this ‘company’ blog – experience of Labour’s Parliamentary selection process itself. I’ve framed it as an ‘open letter [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Apprenticeships and Vocational Education programmes: destinations of choice for middle class learners?

Monday was the start of National Apprenticeship Week and, courtesy of an invitation from Fred Grindrod of the the TUC’s UnionLearn team, I spent the morning at their Annual Apprenticeship Conference.  As the son of a skilled manual worker – my father was a fitter and turner in the factories of North and West London – [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Annual GCSE results debate misses the point: passes matter when we’re clear on purpose

Without the annual GCSE and A level results season, bad weather and an off-message Prince, what would the press report in August? It is depressing, though, that while (until last August, at least) the results have improved year-on-year, the media and political treatment of this story has not. Let’s start with a bit of context: [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Beyond the Bradford Spring: lobbying, party-funding, trust and transforming our politics

The debates on Newsnight this evening about the Bradford West by-election and the role of lobbyists in our democracy, and the related and long-standing concerns about ‘cash for access’ and party funding serve only to underline the obsolescence of how we currently ‘do’ politics. How did we get here? It seems to me that several [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Stephen Twigg MP, Professor Geoff Whitty CBE and Children’s Commissioner Maggie Atkinson in sparkling form at the launch of Transform Education

Thanks to the masses who packed into the Thatcher Room at Portcullis House, Westminster last night to celebrate the launch of Breslin’s Transform Education project (www.breslinpublicpolicy.com) and who heard Stephen Twigg, Geoff Whitty and Maggie Atkinson in sparking form – we’ve thrown some of their comments out through Twitter (@UKpolicywatch) but these soundbites can’t hope [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Stephen Twigg MP, Professor Geoff Whitty CBE and Children’s Commissioner Maggie Atkinson to speak at the launch of Transform Education

We are pleased to announce that Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Stephen Twigg MP, Professor Geoff Whitty of the University of Bath School of Management (and formerly Director at the University of London Institute of Education) and Children’s Commissioner Maggie Atkinson are to speak at the launch of Transform Education on the evening of [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Breslin Public Policy Launch: many thanks to all!

Many, many thanks to all of you who helped us to celebrate the launch of Breslin Public Policy last night – really, really appreciated and a fantastic evening with lots of bustling and productive conversation. It was great to bring so many people together, drawn from across the fields of policy and practice. Connecting these [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

What shall we do about vocational education?

Education policy is full of contradictions and mixed messages and today’s announcement on the declassification of vocational qualifications, in terms of their status in school league tables, is a case in point. For the past 35 years – since James Callaghan’s acclaimed Ruskin College speech calling for a great debate on what we want from [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Citizenship Education and the National Curriculum Review: a disappointment or a chink of light?

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education has dispatched an interesting Christmas card to all interested in the next iteration of the National Curriculum, the first report from the National Curriculum Review Expert Panel. Conspiracy theorists will note that their report has arrived just after most schools have closed for Christmas but this is [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Examinations: let’s take this as a wake-up call rather than an excuse to indulge in ‘moral panic’

Today’s Daily Telegraph ‘splash’ on the examination system raises important questions about the place of testing in our education system, the wisdom of arranging the major awarding bodies into what amounts to a price-setting oligopoly and, of course, the integrity of the examinations themselves. But, fuelled by the words of a small number of senior [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

We need to distinguish between illicit access, professional lobbying and legitimate campaigning

There seems to be some muddled thinking out there in the aftermath of the Adam Werritty and Bell Pottinger affairs and the reported (and sometimes filmed) endeavours of former ministers to open up the gates of power, if others (those seeking illicit access to the influential) will open their cheque books. It seems to me [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Citizenship tests for newcomers may miss the mark but Citizenship Education for all is vital

Last week, on Tuesday 29th September, I had a letter published in The Times – a response to a thoughtful column from Libby Purves, published the previous day, in which she criticised the questions, style and focus in the tests sat by newcomers (and sometimes not-so-newcomers) to the UK who are seeking British Citizenship. The [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Let’s not go from austerity in the economy to austerity in the curriculum: art for all our sakes

When the economic climate is tough, it is normal for the pendulum to swing towards a concern for the basics, not least in the field of education. The spirit is of ‘lock-down’ not luxury and in educational terms that tends to translate into a focus on standards, especially in terms of literacy and numeracy, a [...]


Tony Breslin Speaking

Breslin publishes new post on social networking on the Independent’s blog

Following my recent participation at the Battle of Ideas, the annual festival of debate organised by the Institute of Ideas, as a panelist in a discussion about the impact of social networking on community life, I’ve posted an article on the Independent’s blog


Tony Breslin Speaking

United for Change Twitter debate ‘think-piece’: public or private? citizen or consumer?

A few weeks ago I was invited to submit a think-piece for United for Change’s first Twitter debate. It was also the first such debate that I had taken part in. I’m not convinced by Twitter as a debating platform – you can shout out in 140 characters and you can even listen in the [...]