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Speaker(s): Professor Nicholas Barr, Professor Howard Glennerster, Professor Sandra McNally, Dr Kitty Stewart, Professor Anne West
Chair: Professor David Piachaud

Recorded on 21 February 2018 at Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Ignorance, though one of the Giants, was barely mentioned in the Beveridge Report, but addressed by the 1944 Education Act and 1963 Robbins Report. This panel identifies gaps that have emerged and ways to fill them, focussing particularly on equality of opportunity.

Kitty Stewart will discuss the importance of early education to children’s life chances, and consider how far current early years and childcare policy is well-designed to promote children’s development and to narrow gaps between children from different backgrounds.

Anne West will focus on school-based education. She will outline how the school system has changed since the 1944 Education Act, particularly since the academies programme was introduced. She will highlight some of the concerns that have been raised regarding the governance and financing of academies and outline proposals as to how these might be addressed.

Sandra McNally will address the state of further and technical education in England. She will look at the extent to which there are good opportunities within this type of education in England – and whether there is inequality of opportunity in who is able to access the more successful routes. The post-war assumption was that education should be tax-financed.

As higher education expanded both Howard Glennerster and Nicholas Barr advocated income-contingent graduate contributions. They discuss two contrasting futures: A return to old style, mainly tax-financed higher education, with a neglect of early education and vocational education, and resource constraints affecting the size and/or quality of higher education; or a forward-looking approach based on: a holistic view of tertiary education; a universal endowment at 18; a well-designed income-contingent loan; flexible pathways through tertiary education; and greater emphasis on education spending earlier in the system.

Nicholas Barr is Professor of Public Economics at LSE and the author of numerous books and articles including The Economics of the Welfare State (OUP, 5th edn, 2012), Financing Higher Education: Answers from the UK (with Iain Crawford) (Routledge 2005), and Reforming Pensions: Principles and Policy Choices (with Peter Diamond) (OUP, 2008).

Howard Glennerster joined the Higher Education Research Unit at LSE in 1964 after working in the Labour Party Research Department.

Sandra McNally is Director of the Centre for Vocational Education Research and Director of the Education and Skills Programme at the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE. She is also a professor of economics at University of Surrey. Her interests are in the economics of education. She works on evaluation of government policies, particularly in schools and in post-16 education.

Kitty Stewart is Associate Professor of Social Policy at LSE, and Associate Director of LSE’s Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion.

Anne West is Professor of Education Policy in the Department of Social Policy at LSE.

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