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Forthcoming events

Real Finnish Lessons: the true story of an education superpower
Tim Oates in conversation with Gabriel Heller Sahlgren
When: Wednesday 22nd April 2015, 6.30-8.30pm
Where: 55 Tufton Street, Westminster, SW1P 3QL

RSVP here.

Since Finland made it big in the PISA rankings of 2001, and in spite of its subsequent decline, policymakers around the world have tried to learn from its extraordinary and unexpected success. Standard policy explanations for the country’s rise include its focus on equity, with the comprehensive school reform of the 1970s as the bedrock; the absence of standardised tests and test-based accountability; and its ‘collaborative culture’ and avoidance of market reforms. Other explanations highlight comparatively little school- and homework, and the country’s current teacher education system. Yet there is little evidence to support these explanations.

In a ground-breaking new paper – Real Finnish Lessons: the true story of an education superpower – published this month by The Centre for Policy Studies, Gabriel Heller Sahlgren refutes many of the standard explanations, and shows how the outcomes, both positive and negative, are better explained by a detailed examination of Finland’s history and educational culture.

At this joint event, co-hosted by The Centre for the Study of Market Reform of Education (CMRE) and The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), Tim Oates discusses with Gabiel the lessons for policymakers, educational practice, and research.

Gabriel Heller Sahlgren is Director of Research at the Centre for the Study of Market Reform of Education (CMRE), an affiliated research fellow at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Stockholm, Sweden, and a PhD student at the London School of Economics. He is the author of numerous publications on issues relating to applied microeconomics, including Incentivising Excellence: School Choice and Education Quality (CMRE and IEA 2013).

Tim Oates is Group Director of Assessment Research and Development at Cambridge Assessment and a member of CMRE's Academic Advisory Council. In 2010, he published Could do better, which laid down the principles for the review of the National Curriculum in England, and subsequently took the chair of the Expert Panel charged with that task. He has published widely on assessment and is a member of Ofqual’s Standards Advisory Group. Tim routinely provides briefings and advice to UK and other governments. He is a visiting professor at the University of Leeds and a Fellow of Churchill College Cambridge. Tim was appointed CBE for his services to education in 2015.

Past events

The Inaugural CMRE Friedman Lecture:
'School choice matures: lessons for policymakers'

Presented by Professor Julian Le Grand
When: Tuesday 27th January 2015, 6.30-7.45pm
Where: Hoare Memorial Hall, Church House (Great Smith Street entrance), Westminster

Read a summary of the lecture or listen to an audio recording.

Julian Le Grand has been the Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics since 1993. From 2003 to 2005 he was seconded to No 10 Downing Street as Senior Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister. He is a Founding Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, and a Trustee of the Kings Fund. He is currently Chairman of Health England: the National Reference Group for Health and Well Being for the UK Department of Health.

Julian is the author, co-author or editor of eighteen books, and has written more than one hundred refereed journal articles and book chapters on economics, philosophy and public policy. He has also been named one of Prospect magazine’s 100 top British public intellectuals, and one of the ESRC’s ten Heroes of Dissemination. Julian has advised numerous government bodies and agencies, and was one of the principal architects of the UK Government’s current public service reforms, introducing choice and competition into healthcare and education. Some of his other policy innovations include the Pupil Premium, and Patient Budgets, now being piloted by the Department of Health.

He writes regularly for the national and international press and appears frequently on television and radio, including the Today Programme, The World at One, The World Tonight and The Politics Show. He has been several times a member of Radio 4’s Any Questions panel and has presented editions of Radio 4’s Analysis and BBC 2’s The Big Idea.

Good teachers are crucial – so how can we make them better?
Presented by Professor Olmo Silva
with a panel discussion chaired by Gabriel Heller Sahlgren and panel contributions from David Weston and Laura McInerney
When: Thursday 27th November, 6:30-9.30pm
Where: 23 Great Smith Street, Westminster, the offices of the Adam Smith Institute.

Full details of the event and speaker profiles are available here.