Delivering Better Education

The fundamental problem lies with the way education is delivered. The aim of this short paper is to show that there are tried and tested alternatives around the world. They bring in delivery mechanisms that are responsive to what parents and students require, meet the needs of all, including the most disadvantaged, and succeed in raising educational standards. These are market approaches to education. But moving towards these alternatives need not be a party-political issue: the values that underlie them fit in with the emphases of the current Labour government as much as with the Conservatives' concern with freedom and choice.

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Better Science At Less Cost

Tim Ambler of the London Business School says that up to £1bn a year is being wasted on unnecessary bureaucracy in the research councils - and that we would get better science at less cost by allocating the research budget directly to universities.

 

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Competition in Corporate Control

Do we need regulation, rule-books and new codes of practice to keep boardroom executives in check? Corporate-governance specialist Elaine Sternberg says not. The keys to getting on-the-ball, responsible management are competition and shareholder empowerment. Her punchy report takes on the regulationists and shows how to achieve good governance without politics.

 

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Costing Jobs

The only booming sector in the UK seems to be the public sector. We've skimmed the Guardian's jobs pages and added up the cost of all those community awareness co-ordinators (30,000 of them each year, at nearly a billion quid in salaries). Our report, by Jonathan Woolham, shows exactly where your hard-earned tax money is going.

 

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Power to the People

Britain's electricity supply has been left dangerously vulnerable by the government's plans to phase out nuclear power and rely more on gas and renewable energy. Wind and solar power are costly and intermittent sources of energy that cannot fill the gap left by nuclear, while planned gas imports rely on a complex cross-national network that is easily disrupted by political upheaval in any one of a number of countries.

 

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Running the buses

Local authority officers, backed by proposals from Brussels, want to end the 20 year old deregulation of buses and bring bus operations back under their control, says transport executive Prof. John Hibbs OBE in this ASI report. He sees this as likely to bring higher competition and higher taxes.

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Delivering Better Education

Showing the practical benefits that education choice has brought in other countries, the authors of this report outline a no-nonsense plan to open UK education up to the same choice and competition that is already improving school standards in the most disadvantaged communities in Europe and the US. The plan aims to improve equality, access and diversity by allowing parents to escape from failing schools, empowering parental choice, and boosting the provision of new non-state community schools.

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Consumers not Bureaucrats

This paper makes a series of recommendations as to how consumer choice can be introduced into the [education] system. It is predicated on two assertions: first, that empowering the parent (and, thus, the pupil too) is a good thing in itself, leading to higher standards, responsiveness and satisfaction (I dealt with these issues in an earlier ASI report, A Class Act); and secondly, that the independent sector is demonstrably more efficient in its delivery of education.

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