Exam stress – the ‘value’ of GCSE

Another set of public examination results. This time round, after years of bleating about falling standards, media attention has focussed on the stress caused to young people - this year’s cohort being the first to  endure the new subject requirements. Many on the Left correctly argue that education has become ‘commodified’. But anyone trying to … Continue reading Exam stress – the ‘value’ of GCSE

How should Labour finance education and public services?

While opposition to Tory cuts continues, Labour has  huge support for its commitment to restoring school budgets. At the same time however, the Party leadership also promises to ‘balance the books’ and maintain ‘fiscal credibility’.  By this it means that over the course of a five-year Parliament, current  (day to day)  expenditure  will be largely … Continue reading How should Labour finance education and public services?

Cutting, or ending tuition fees?

In the context of a ‘review’ and a pending government announcement on HE funding, City investment broker Hargreaves Lansdown has put its financial and accounting expertise to more benevolent purposes. https://www.hl.co.uk/about-us/press/press-releases/cutting-tuition-fees-and-loan-interest-rates-is-no-help-for-the-average-student Remarkably it finds that neither a reduction of tuition fees to £6000 from the current £9000 plus per annum or a cut in interest … Continue reading Cutting, or ending tuition fees?

Labour and Industry

Jeremy Corbyn’s recent speech to engineering and manufacturing employers has ( as is generally the case!) been misrepresented. Launching Labour’s Build it in Britain, Corbyn has been accused of wanting to establish a ‘protectionist’ blanket around UK manufacturing and by implication being ‘pro-Brexit’ even though it’s questionable whether there’s anything in EU legislation that would … Continue reading Labour and Industry

‘Full employment’ ?

Post-war governments committed themselves to maintaining ‘full-employment’. According to economist John Maynard Keynes, this meant the state ensuring levels of 'aggregate demand' remained high. But governments also accepted that there would be ‘trade-offs’ – as the labour market tightened, inflation would start to rise and so on. Economists tried to calculate the ‘non-accelerating inflation rate of … Continue reading ‘Full employment’ ?

Another fall in apprenticeship starts

The number of apprenticeship starts has fallen again. Latest government figures show just 290, 500 starts for the nine-month period from last August. This compares with 440,300 for the same period a year ago. The Department for Education chart below illustrates the extent of the decline. It suggests that David Cameron’s target of 3 million … Continue reading Another fall in apprenticeship starts