At this year’s Labour Party Conference, EPI has partnered with the Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO) to hold a public panel discussion on ‘Prioritising equality: education policy as a lever to tackling disadvantage and inequalities’.
There continue to be considerable inequalities in education in England. The latest EPI research on the disadvantage gap find that for persistently poor children, there has been no overall progress in closing the gap in outcomes over the last decade. The Covid-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the situation; in 2021 the key stage 4 disadvantage gap between poor children and their more affluent peers increased by the largest annual amount since comparable statistics have been available.
This bleak picture has implications not only for the life chances of these pupils but for the country overall. The Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO) policy priorities project highlights that “in the battle to overcome severe skills shortages and waning productivity growth, there is a strong economic case for major investment in education and skills throughout life.”
This panel will bring together school leaders, policy makers and other education stakeholders to consider what policies an incoming government could implement to close the disadvantage gap and drive economic growth. Building on CEPEO’s policy priorities work, speakers will discuss both low-cost immediate policies, such as support for children’s early maths skills and the introduction of a ‘Social Mobility Scorecard’ for universities, and longer-term, more ambitious plans, like the reform of school admissions policy and investment in Further Education, to move towards a society of more equal opportunities from early years to adulthood.
We are delighted to welcome Dr Sally Burtonshaw, Public First; David Hughes, Association of Colleges; Prof Lindsey Macmillan, CEPEO, Bridget Phillipson MP, Shadow Education Secretary, and Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England to the panel. Natalie Perera, EPI’s Chief Executive will chair the session.
** Note: This event will take place in the conference secure zone. To access the secure zone you will need to obtain a pass directly from the Labour Party.**