The National Education Service – from Vision to Reality

The newly published conference issue of Education Politics explores the concept of the National Education Service from many angles. It sets how SEA thinks the principles of the NES need to be developed across all sectors of education. It includes articles by Kevin Courtney and Melissa Benn and ranges from the structure of education to the issues around the mental health of young people that are currently so concerning. It also visits New Zealand to see what the new Labour government there is doing to transform education.

You can access this issue of Education Politics here: Education Politics Sept 2018.

We’d also like to invite all members and friends who will be at the Labour party Conference in Liverpool to our fringe meeting – “The National Education Service – from Vision to Reality – at 6.00 pm on Sunday 23rd September.  It’s in Concourse Room 4 of the main conference centre. Speakers are Melissa Benn, Emma Hardy MP and Louise Regan from NEU.

Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture 2018 | Professor Stephen Gorard

Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture 2018

We are delighted to announce that the SEA is hosting the annual Caroline Benn Memorial Lecture at the House of Commons  on the evening of Tuesday 13th November.  The lecture begins at 6pm and will take place in Committee Room 14.

Date and Time:
Tue, November 13, 2018, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM GMT

House of Commons, Committee Room 14

This year’s Caroline Benn Lecture will be delivered by Professor Stephen Gorard from Durham University. Stephen is probably the leading academic specialist on all the issues around school choice, selection and its impact on both schools and on young people themselves. His research is absolutely key to understanding how inequality bedevils our school system. Anyone concerned with these issues will need to hear Stephen’s latest views on school intakes and their impact on social cohesion.

Register via Eventbrite to book your tickets for this free event.

We anticipate there will be a high level of demand, so we would advise you to book your place as soon as possible.

Labour Party Conference 2018

SEA Labour Party Conference fringeThis year’s Labour Party Conference runs from Sunday 23rd to Wednesday 26th September and is being held at the ACC in Liverpool. For the first time in several years, SEA is holding a fringe meeting at conference. It will be at 6.00 pm on Sunday 23rd in Concourse Room 4 of the main conference centre.

The theme of the meeting will be “The National Education Service – from Vision to Reality”. Our speakers will be Melissa Benn (SEA Vice President), Emma Hardy MP and Louise Regan (former NUT President). For those in need, refreshments will be served!

As far as education goes, the main focus at conference will be the report of the National Policy Forum’s Education Commission – you can read that here – NPF Education report 2018.

I think that many members will find this document to be very thin in terms of concrete policy proposals. The aim of our fringe meeting will be to address this gap and to explore what specific actions will be needed to make the NES a reality. We would encourage all SEA members and supporters to raise the need for a more detailed and robust plan for the NES in CLPs and union branches.

At our Executive meeting in Leeds on 15th September, we will be discussing how we can work at Conference to this end. This meeting will be at the St George’s Centre, Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3DL from 11.00 to 4.00. All SEA members are welcome.SEA Labour Party Conference fringe

Amanda Spielman talks to Ann Mroz at the Hay Festival.

Mike Newman (SEA Cymru) writes:

Ann Mroz is the editor of the Times Educational Supplement.

Amanda Spielman is the Ofsted Chief Inspector. She was with KMG Thomson McLintock from 1982 to 1986 then Kleinwort Benson from 1986 to 1992. She was a director of Newstead Capital from 1992 to 1994 and of Bridgewater Business Analysis from 1994 to 1995. She was a principal at Mercer Management ConsultingBoston from 1995 to 1997 and then at Nomura Principal Finance from 1997 to 2004.

With this astounding background in educational theory, she became part of the founding management team at Ark Schools. From 2011 to 2016 she was chair of Ofqual, the exam regulator.

In June 2016, Spielman was selected by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to take over as Chief Inspector of schools and children’s services in England. Following a pre-appointment hearing, Spielman’s nomination was rejected by the Education Select Committee which expressed concerns about her suitability, her lack of teaching experience and her failure to show “passion” or understanding of the “complex role”. However, their objections were overridden by the minister, who dismissed their arguments and confirmed her intention to appoint Spielman. Continue reading

‘What would a radical National Education Service look like?

SEA members and supporters may be interested in another event designed to explore the issues around the idea of a National Education Service. It’s at Hamilton House on Wednesday 20th June at 6.00 pm.

Some of the questions that will be discussed at the event include:

– What should a National Education Service be for?
– How can we reduce the fragmentation of the education system and promote lifelong learning?
– How do we improve the parity of esteem between academic and vocational/technical education?
– How can we ensure teachers are trained to teach the whole curriculum, including sex education and PSHE?
– How do we solve the retention and recruitment crisis in teaching?

The speakers are:

Melissa Benn (Campaigner and author)
Kevin Courtney (National Education Union General Secretary)
Gus John (UK’s first black Director of Education and IOE Professor)
Warwick Mansell (Education journalist)
Ciaran Thapar (Youth worker and writer)
Tasnima Ahmed (Poet and educator)
Ali Stephens (Radical Education Forum)
Chair: Holly Rigby (Teacher and Momentum activist)

You can book for the event at

The Meaning of Corbynism – George Eaton at the SEA Conference

We are delighted to announce a further high quality addition to the line up of speakers at the SEA Confeerence. George Eaton, Political Editor of the New Statesman, will be sharing his thoughts on the current political scene around the theme of “The Meaning of Corbynism”. It’s certain to be a fascinating and thought provoking session from one of the best informed observers of Labour and the left.

The AGM and conference is on Saturday 23rd June at the Wesley Hotel, Euston Street, London. Thanks to those members who’ve booked already. If you still need to – and there are some places still available at just £10 including lunch – please email

SEA Annual Conference – full programme

I’m delighted to say we now have the full programme for the SEA Annual Conference on 23rd June. The line up will be:

– Diane Reay addressing the themes from her hugely important book “Miseducation: Inequality, education and the working classes”.

Madeleine Holt co-founder, Rescue Our Schools and founding member of More than a Score, which campaigns against SATs and promotes alternative forms of assessment for the future.

– Pam Tatlow, until recently Chief Executive of Millionplus, the Association for Modern Universities. Higher Education has been a bit of a neglected area for SEA policy and we’ll be aiming to put that right.

– SEND issues introduced by a panel from a range of backgrounds in SEND and alternative provision including SEA members Simeon Elliott and John Keever.

There is also the opportunity to put forward policy resolutions. If any SEA members wants to propose one, please let me have the resolution by 15th June.

The conference is at the Wesley Hotel in Euston Street right next to Euston Station. The AGM will be at 10.00 followed by the conference proper which will run till 4.00. The cost is just £10 to cover lunch – pay on the day.

To book, just email

Diane Reay at the SEA Annual Conference

This year’s SEA AGM and Annual Conference will be on Saturday June 23. I’m delighted to say that the keynote speaker will be Professor Diane Reay who will be addressing issues arising from her new book “Miseducation – Inequality, Education and the Working Class”. These are issues that need to be central to SEA’s work and to Labour policy so this should be a great opportunity to explore them in detail.

The conference will be at the Wesley Hotel, 81-103 Euston Street, London NW1 2EZ. The AGM will begin at 10.00 am and the conference will start at 11.00. More details of the programme and other speakers will follow soon.

Another piece of good news is that because SEA’s membership has grown rapidly recently, we’re in a financial position to substantially reduce the cost of the conference. This year’s charge will be £10. That includes lunch and refreshments through the day. Payment can be made on the day.

We hope to see as many SEA members as possible there. Please book your place by replying to