Education Reform

In January 2021, a joint statement on Education Reform was issued to the UK government, authored by David Davis MP, Robert Halfon MP, and members of the Institute for Ethical AI in Education, including EDUCATE's Director, Rose Luckin.  EDUCATE is continuing the discussion around reform on a monthly basis with events chaired by Lord Jim Knight.

Webinars on Education Reform

The first in the series, recorded in February 2021, looks at the reality of starting education reform in the UK.  To view the other episodes in the series, click here.

Joint Statement on Education Reform

Originally published in the Sunday Times, 10th January 2021

One of the biggest challenges facing our nation is the creation of an education system that nurtures talent and creates opportunity for everyone.


However, debate about reform often focuses on two opposites — knowledge and skills. This is a false divide. Knowledge is only relevant alongside the skills to interpret it; skills are only useful when there is knowledge to draw on.

Our current system is not fit for the 21st century. Social mobility continues to decline, and even before the pandemic we faced significant skills gaps: by 2024, there will be an estimated shortfall of four million skilled workers. Now Covid-19 has wreaked further damage, with millions of children missing lessons.

"Urgent change is essential.

This starts with the scrapping of GCSEs."

Too much technology in schools has been out of date for 10 years. Worse still, teachers are not sufficiently incentivised to integrate it into their practice. The UK is 31% behind the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average in this respect.

1. Urgent change is essential. This starts with the scrapping of GCSEs. In their place we need a broad baccalaureate, incorporating academic and vocational education at age 18.

2. Second, the factory model — where each pupil advances at the same pace in every subject, regardless of ability and interest — must be swept away forever. Instead, we should enable personalised education through the use of new technology. 


3. Third, we need a radical re-engineering of the classroom. The effective use of technology, including AI, can provide seamless learning between school and home. 

4. Clearly, the growth of AI and robotics will have a profound impact. So, fourth, we need a special royal commission on education, AI and exam reform that would include experts and report within nine months. It is essential we understand and prepare the nation for the impending changes in our economy and society.


1. Damian Green MP

2. Flick Drummond MP

3. Mark Pawsey MP

4. Christian Wakeford MP

5. Lord Kenneth Baker

6. Lord David Puttnam

7. Lord Jim Knight

8. Lord Tim Clement-Jones

9. Lord Nat Wei

10. Professor Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor and President Brunel University London

11. Professor Steven West CBE,  Vice-Chancellor and President, UWE,Bristol

12. Geoff Barton | General Secretary. Association of School and College Leaders

13. Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli Economist and Principal, University of Glasgow’

14. Joy Carter, Vice Chancellor, University of Winchester

15. Prof Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam

16. Mary Stuart VC University of Lincoln 

17. Al McConville, Director of Learning and Innovation, Bedales School

18. Bob Harrison, Chair of Governors, The Northern College

19. Sir Michael Barber, educationalist

20. Luke Johnson, entrepreneur

21. Sherry Coutu, entrepreneur & investor

22. Tom Hooper, entrepreneur

23. Deirdre Medler, Director of Initial Teacher Education, University of East Anglia

24. Professor Chris Wilkins, Head of School of Education, University of Leicester

25. Dr Eric Addae-Kyeremeh, Head of School of Innovation, Open University

26. Professor Simon Thompson, Head of Education, University of Sussex

27. Karine George- Award winning head teacher and advisor

28. Timo Hannay, Managing Director, School Dash Limited

29. Nick Kind, Senior Director, Tyton Partners

30. Margaret McCabe, CEO, DebateMate

31. Anne Bamford – Strategic Director of Education, Skills & Culture, The City of London Corporation

32. Michael Barber – Founder & Chairman of Delivery Associates

33. Professor Chris Brown – Director of Research in The School of Education, University of Durham

34. David Gallagher – CEO of NCFE

35. Sir Andrew Carter – CEO Educational Trust

36. Richard Gerver – International Speaker and Author

37. David Crossley – Educational Consultant specialising in leadership development, school and system transformation

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