Our webinar ‘What Would a Socially Just Education System Look Like?’ was a lively event, panellists Ash Sarkar, Dr Alan Bainbridge and Sammy Wright shared thoughts on many different types of social injustice within our education system, along with smart ideas for solutions. You can watch a replay of the event on our YouTube channel HERE.

There was not time for the panel to answer all the questions from the audience, so we have posted a selection here with an opportunity to comment.

A question from Patrick Ainley asked whether universities such as Oxford and turned into adult residential institutions for mature students who have missed out on Tertiary Education, as adult educator Caroline Benn once suggested. Caroline Benn added that Oxford Brookes and the former Anglia Ruskin universities would become universities for their respective towns, while Oxford and Cambridge universities continue as research institutes. “This would bring England into line with mainland Europe where most HE students go to their local unis with the exception of specialist institutions, and also with Scotland, where many more students attend local FE and HE institutions.”

Robert Walker asked, ‘Why has there been so little informed public debate about plans to destroy the post 16 BTEC qualifications that have promoted educational success for many young people? They are far from perfect but getting rid of BTECs will set back social justice.’

Fiona Collins asked, ‘How do we convince parents in selective areas that the 11+ system is a negative when so many view it as a positive, in many cases, having moved to that area just for the schools?’

Tony Pasternak said, ‘Britain has a higher percentage of unhappy, over-stressed children than most other European nations. How much does socially-unjust education contribute to that?’

Melissa Benn asked, ‘Why does advocating a broader conception of education – which most people do –  always end up being interpreted as advocating a drop in standards?

‘Keef’ felt that our country’s obsession with exam achievement was ‘the key factor in preventing socially just education and society.’ He asks, ‘What is the justification for continuing to use exams as the key assessment criteria when extensive evidence shows it does not correlate well with ability to perform key roles in modern society?’

If you have thoughts on any of these questions please comment below, and thanks to everyone in our webinar audience who posed such insightful comments and questions.