Recently, critics of low-cost private schooling in developing countries – and there are many – had a field day. A study published in Harvard’s prestigious Quarterly Journal of Economics appeared to put the nail in the coffin of those who of us thought that poor parents, by choosing private education, might be doing something sensible. ... Continue reading
Watch Prof David Friedman deliver the THINK 2016 keynote address on the "Future Imperfect". What kinds of transformative technologies are likely or possible in the near future? How will they affect us and our relations with government? Will they enhance and extend individual freedom or threaten it – or may they do both? What are ... Continue reading
The “Australian-style” points system that the Leave campaign was advocating during the EU referendum debate might provide more control over immigration than the EU’s open borders. But it will do nothing to satisfy the aspirations of those Brexit voters who feel they have lost out in today’s economy. It does not address the underlying problem ... Continue reading
Last week’s decision by the House of Commons Education Committee not to endorse the appointment of Amanda Spielman as Ofsted Head raises important questions. Teaching unions have pointed to Ms Spielman’s lack of teaching experience. In partial defence, she does know her way around education, having amongst other things been involved with the Ark academy ... Continue reading
This article is based on a presentation by Prof Booth at the Benedictus Forum, June 2016. I have been asked to talk about whether government policy should affect the curriculum. The short answer is that it should not. Let’s start with Catholic social teaching in relation to education and then move on to some economic ... Continue reading
Three main policy drives – on research, teaching quality and the promotion of social mobility – mean that in recent years, state influence over English universities has grown sharply despite direct government funding having been substantially reduced. Many may ask whether it is necessary for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, in its recent ... Continue reading

IEA reaction to the Queen's Speech 2016

Commenting on the Queen's Speech, Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs said:  "The Queen's Speech provided some promise of decreasing government intervention in certain areas, but unnecessary regulation still reared its ugly head in others. "Allowing governors to run their own jails is a welcome step in the right direction, but ... Continue reading

The Department of Business Innovation and Skills, which in a sensible world probably wouldn’t be responsible for our universities, has firmed up its earlier proposals and is now pushing ahead with some major changes to higher education. One which I welcome is making it rather easier for institutions to become higher education providers. New forms ... Continue reading

In the past decades, an increasing number of governments have pursued reforms to increase choice, competition and autonomy in education. Research indicates that these reforms have generally had mildly positive effects, despite often being poorly designed. In other words, reformers could do better. A common problematic feature is the lack of a profit motive, which ... Continue reading