New “Policy Pitch” opportunity hits conference

imageA new format hit conference yesterday. At the end of Saturday’s session, we had a “Policy Pitch” section. This is a new idea whereby members submit ideas to the conference commitee and three of those ideas are accepted for discussion at the conference.

The chosen members gave a short speech outlining their policy proposal. Then they sat down in a comfy chair on stage with three “assessors”, who were: Julie Smith, Jeremy Hargreaves and Willie Rennie. There was then a little interviewing of each proposer from the three assessors.

The three policy pitches yesterday were:

  • Elaine Bagshaw – An education system that teaches to ability, not age.
  • Glanville Williams – All Public Bodies should, as part of their annual reporting on workforce monitoring, conduct and report on ‘selection rate’ and ‘availability rate’ comparison tests in terms of the visible ‘protected characteristics’, (gender, disability and race).
  • Catherine Smart – Divide the Border Agency and make the section dealing with Asylum Seekers an Agency of the Foreign Office, leaving the rest with the Home Office.
  • At the end of the session there was a show of hands as to which representatives thought each proposal was worth working on to move forward. Catherine’s asylum seekers proposal received slightly more hands of approval than the other pitches. However, all three proposals were excellent, very well presented and well-received.

    Well done Elaine, Glanville and Catherine for making your superb pitches.

    And a special mention goes to Glanville Williams who is attending his first conference and is a new member. Welcome, Glanville!

    * Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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One Comment

  • Robert Wootton 21st Sep '15 - 7:01pm

    The education system should indeed teach according to ability and not age . The teaching profession should examine the methodology of”The Flipped Classroom, leading onto the Flipped Mastery technique. This would, I believe, be a more efective way of teaching subjects and stretch the pupils and the teachers abilities.

    When such a methodology of teaching is established, it would make the fining of parents who take their children during term time unnecessary. That particular law could be repealed since lessons would be available 24/7/365 online..

    Now for some creative thinking! Since technology can now do anything that can be precisely specified, I specify this scenario.

    Pupils carry a smart card. On the card is listed electronically the GCSE subjects the pupil wants to take. Once a month or once per term, the pupil enters the examination hall at the school. The pupil inserts their card into a machine and enters his student/pupil number. On a screen is displayed the GCSE subjects the pupil wants to take. The pupil selects the examination subject he/she wants to take and whether it is a “mock” or actual.

    The machine then prints out an examination paper with questions taken from a database of the examination board. Copy is sent also to the subject teacher and the examination marker

    This means that a hall full of pupils taking an examination could be taking different subjects and those taking the same subject would have different questions from each other.

    When the examination is over, the pupil or the invigilator puts their examination paper into the scanning part of the machine and is sent electronically to the examiner and the pupils subject teacher.

    Perhaps model answers could also be sent to the examiner and subject teacher.

    These machines do not exist but they could be built. The Self Organising Learning Environment; S.O.L.E. has been in existence for ten years at least so this machine is possible.

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