Layla Moran talks education and inequality

Layla Moran has given an interview to the Oxford Student about her life and political priorities.

She talked about her early life and the influence it had on her:

Layla, having been born to a British father and a Palestinian mother, spoke of some of complications connected to coming from a multicultural background. “We had to move around a lot when I was younger so when all my peers would say ‘I grew up in this village’, I could never really say that I had”. But it is exactly this, combined with Layla’s career as a maths and physics teacher, that has added extra layers of nuance to her perspective on both global, and domestic politics and policy.

“Getting into teaching was helpful because you start to see that how we act and what we do with young people within a country really matters. I think that because of my global perspective, it has gotten me incredibly angry about England, and the United Kingdom in general as a G7 country. I have lived in places such as Jamaica, Ethiopia, and Jordan, where they have a real excuse as to why a relatively high number of young people don’t get through education”. This leads us on to discussing social inequality, and its implications in defining how well a person will do at school. “The best predictor of how a young person is going to do at school has always been how much money their parents make, and this is still very much the case”.

On Brexit, she talks about the need to stay in the single market  and the customs union:

“There are real jobs, and real people’s lives at stake when you talk about coming out of the single market. Theresa May, at least publicly, has her head in the sand. My personal opinion is that we will never get a deal as good as the deal we currently have. Anyone, and Labour are the same, who say we’re going to are deluding themselves. At the very least, staying in the single market and the Customs Union is a compromised position between leave and remain. If not, everyone will be unhappy, and so that’s probably a sign that it is the right thing”.

She then touches on a common criticism of the party – that people don’t know what we stand for:

We’ve always made policy from the bottom up. My response to questions such as ‘Why is Liberal Democrat policy so hard to understand’ is that the world is hard to understand. Things are complex, and so although our policy might reflect this, it means that when we introduce them they will work. It’s a fair criticism, but not one I particularly mind because I think it’s a reflection of good policy making”.

Only thing is if we want people to vote for us, they need to get what makes us tick.

And then she touches on her passion, on the issue she talked about at the LDV fringe meeting on adult education in Bournemouth:

“We should be moving to a system which is much less focused on university, where you specialise straight away, but one which is more focused on the rest of your life. One of the things that I am very critical of is the focus on university being the main form of tertiary education. What about the other 60% of students? What I would like to see is a move towards a way of financing further education in a way that is generally accessible for the rest of your life, for example individual learning accounts.”

You can read her whole interview here.

* Newshound in training. I'm sweet and full of mischief, just like my stories.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Nigel Jones 30th Oct '17 - 2:46pm

    Education policy in government is currently loosing sight of its main purpose. So it is good to see this article about Layla, our Education spokesperson in the House of Commons. She is a new MP who is passionate about Liberal Democrat values and is actively seeking to put them into practice; we need more new people like this leading the party’s committees.
    I particularly like her concern for Further Education and life-long learning, where a new culture is needed to take us away from thinking that university is the best aim for everyone; for some people there are more appropriate ways of developing both skills and knowledge. Similarly her view that education is not just about special knowledge but about the development of whole people for life; broadening of people’s experience is one of the most valuable aspects of a good education system and we are loosing sight of that in national policy. Indeed a couple of experts from the USA recently criticised our Education system as not focussed enough on people, creativity and critical thinking and therefore not preparing people for the new technological age.
    I also like her opposition to the marketization of Education. The recent concerns about Multi-Academy Trusts, some of which have collapsed is just one symptom of the current structural trend; another is the tendency to distort the purpose of education as institutions compete simply on exam results in a rather narrow set of criteria.
    I hope party members will join in putting this approach into our new and developing policy on Education which is being worked on at the moment.
    Nigel Jones, Chair of the Liberal Democrat Education Association.

  • Nigel Jones 30th Oct '17 - 2:54pm

    I want to add another comment. I like her phrase ‘Social inequality’; we have been hearing far too much from so many about the rather dubious phrase ‘social mobility’, dubious because it implies that moving up a social class is inherently good (therefore upper class people are more valuable citizens). It is also wide open to various interpretations; Conservatives take it to mean giving just enough for a small number of ‘lucky’ disadvantaged children to greatly improve themselves, often to the disadvantage of others.

  • “One of the things that I am very critical of is the focus on university being the main form of tertiary education.”

    But this isn’t a ‘new’ culture, to me this has it’s origins back when the government decided to ‘simplify’ higher education and permit everyone to be a ‘university’, rather than preserve and enhance the diversity of provision we had – perhaps instead of trying to get rid of Grammar schools the government should simply allow all schools to call themselves ‘grammars’.

  • Simon Banks 20th Dec '17 - 2:44pm

    Social mobility means people going down in the world fast (while others go up fast). The term also glosses over the growing gap between rich and poor. That gap will be a problem even if a few of the people at the top started near the bottom; and a society of high mobility and high inequality will surely be one of contempt for “losers” and worship of material success however achieved.

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