Forget about canaries, the signs of impending doom are more like the sound of cracking rock thundering through the coal mine and debris collapsing around us. Here are just two recent signs. Sign 1 New research recently revealed that now more than half of supposedly full-time undergraduates are doing paid work for more than 15 hours a week and nearly a quarter have full-time jobs alongside their studies to make ends meet. The idea that students whinge about not having enough money is nothing new. (There are even a jokes about it in Chaucer’s Reeve’s Tale from the fourteenth century.) But we have reach a differentRead More →

Last week, the DfE announced that it was setting up a £12 million fund to encourage employers to offer work experience for T levels. Good news, right? Well, partly. If T Levels are ever going to be a mainstream success as a vocational qualification, they are going to need a lot more employer engagement. I mean a lot. When you have a bold and ambitious policy, you don’t get it to fly by giving it half a feather instead of a full set of wings

I don’t think I agree with the idea of university as a ‘failsafe’, although I’m still not sure I understand what you intend by the word. So I’m going to use Matt Pinkett’s line: ‘Aim for whatever you want to do, and if you don’t get it, well, at least you can go to university.’ That assumes that whatever you want to do won’t be best achieved by going to uni. Obviously, university is not the best route for everything or for everyone, but for the vast majority of the best paid and most secure jobs, it is – if not a prerequisite – at least aRead More →

There is plenty of research showing a significant earnings premium on average for graduates regardless of background. Probably the most comprehensive work is the paper by the IFS ‘How English domiciled graduate earnings vary with gender, institution attended, subject and socio-economic background’. The Sutton Trust has also done many excellent studies on different aspects of this question which is actually a lot more complex than it sounds.

On Wednesday evening, the Prime Minister rather lost it. She railed against MPs for not bowing down before the maw-like vortex that is her Brexit strategy. Theresa May’s statement betrayed a catalogue of cognitive biases. It’s like every entry in the text book was replaced with the same case study. Here’s a list: Illicit transference/Fallacy of division: May attributed the (dishonourable) problems of the whole of Parliament to individual MPs, when in fact the problems are an emergent effect of individuals acting, as they each believe, honourably (for the most part). By blaming them individually for the collective problems, she can only possibly alienate themRead More →