I attended the launch of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change last night at Glasgow University.It was an enjoyable event and the focus on disadvantage and research to challenge and change it is both admirable and immense. Interesting questions from the audience laid out the challenges which lie ahead for the centre:
- is equity of opportunity ever possible in an advanced society where some can still pay for advantage in education?
- will we still be asking the inequality question in ten years time?
- why is this a centre and not a network?
all of which provided reminders that the work of the centre is urgent, overdue, very, very important and needs to be widely and openly accessible. Simplistically speaking, policy imperatives and ongoing research which have attempted to explain or bridge the opportunity/attainment gap so far have contributed little to actually changing anything. Personally speaking, I never thought that the second decade of the 21st century would be the one where excessively exploitative credit loan companies and food-banks would be normalised into society through adverts on TV and radio. There are obviously ideas, commitment and desire for change behind this development. I’m looking forward to learning more about its work.