events archive

Education Forum at the Battle of Ideas 2017

10:00am, Sunday 29 October, The Barbican, Silk Street, London

Education is always a popular and heated topic at the Institute of Ideas’ annual Battle of Ideas festival, which takes place this year on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October at the Barbican in London. Join the Education Forum for a packed programme of debates in Sunday’s Battle for Education strand…

10:00-11:30
Student Voice: Should We Listen?
Over 90 per cent of schools now have their own school council, which provide students with a say in the way schools are run. But has this created a generation of entitled “student emperors”, who are used to having their views heard but not challenged? Has student voice gone too far—or not far enough?
Speakers include: Mary Bousted, Jon Brunskill, Joanna Williams

12:00-13:00
Have We Made Maths Too Hard?
In a rush towards greater rigour and mathematical fluency for all, have we over-estimated the capacity of schools and colleges to deliver? Should we pay more attention to the differing needs and abilities of students? Or should we celebrate greater ambition and keep pushing teachers and students to scale ever-greater heights?
Speakers include: Kris Boulton, David Perks, Charlie Stripp, Helen Ward

13:10-13:50
Schools Through the Ages: An Illustrated History
An introduction to the history of education for teachers and non-teachers alike. What were the Seven Liberal Arts taught in medieval schools, and what made them “liberal”? How did “public schools” turn into private schools?  And if state education is now seen as a self-evident good, why were so many people once against it?
Speaker: Harley Richardson

14:00-15:30
Too Dumb, Too Young: Who’s Qualified to Vote?
Recent elections suggest the main division in society is between the well-educated and the poorly educated, and some fear that “the education gap is tearing politics apart”. Do “low-information” voters need more education to realise their role in democracy? And if so, what sort of education should that be?
Speakers include: Ed Dorrell, Neil Davenport, Caroline Macfarland, Michael Merrick

16:00-17:15
Should Schools Make Pupils Work-Ready?
Business leaders frequently criticise schools for failing to prepare young people for the world of work.  But is a greater emphasis on vocational subjects and skills really what children need?  Or is knowledge a better foundation for employability? What’s the role of schools anyway—to create workers or citizens?
Speakers include: Mary Curnock Cook, Chris Muller, Kevin Rooney, Jason Smith

17:30-18:45
Can Cognitive Science Save Education?
After decades of research, it appears that cognitive science has discovered how to make learning really work. Have we finally found an educational gospel or is cognitive science just old-fashioned common sense? Are too many innovative “educational programmes” based on neuromyths with little genuine evidence behind them?
Speakers include: Wendy Berliner, Dr Nick Dennis, David Perks, Nick Rose

There’s lots more debates about families, schools, and society across the festival weekend.

For tickets and further information, see the Battle for Education.