Too many young people are wasting their time by doing worthless degrees

It’s an exciting time of the year for many young people, with some setting off to university for the first time and others starting to polish their applications for next year. Good news if you have been accepted to read economics at Cambridge, say, or business studies at Oxford. A survey by the Sunday Times […]

The blob is wrong: competition and independence raise school standards

The A-Level results released last week confirm the dominance of schools in London and the South East. Provisional league tables have only appeared so far for state schools, but these two regions have two-thirds of the top 100. South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, and Wales did not have a single school between them in the […]

A radical idea for reviving the North

The Head of OFSTED, Sir Michael Wilshaw, warned last week that secondary schools in Liverpool and Manchester were ‘going into reverse’. Too many pupils in Northern towns and cities are simply not prepared for the next phase of their education, training or employment. In Liverpool, for example, four out of every ten schools are judged […]

A-levels, culture, and the great regional divide

Last week saw the ritual tears and joy of the announcement of the A level results.  An encouraging aspect was the increase, albeit small, in the percentage of entries in traditional academic subjects, now standing at 51.2 per cent.  This is yet another example of incentives at work.  The universities have been signalling that non-academic […]

Do short-term governments affect the UK’s productivity?

Since the economic crisis labour productivity growth in the UK has been very poor. The Bank of England estimate that output per hour (productivity) is 16% lower than it should be given pre recession trends. With output recovering and high levels of employment, many argue that the so-called ‘productivity puzzle’ is the reason behind lagging […]

Learn Maths, Young Person! The Secret of Success in the 21st Century

A currently fashionable pessimistic topic is the lifetime prospects of children born into the middle class. Graduate debt, lack of finance to buy homes and job insecurity after they graduate, the list goes on. Alan Milburn, the government’s ‘social mobility tsar’, put the seal of approval on this prevailing angst last month. His Social Mobility […]

Gresham’s Law in Education: How the Bad Drove Out the Good

Young adults in England have scored almost the lowest result in the developed world in international literacy and numeracy tests. A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows how England’s 16 to 24 year olds are falling behind their Asian and European counterparts. England is 22nd for literacy and 21st for […]