‘What is education for?’ MPs ask teachers

Not content with investigating teacher supply problems, ministers, Ofsted and Ofqual – the Commons education select committee has decided to take a more philosophical stance with its next inquiry.

The influential cross-party group of MPs announced this morning that it will be going back to the fundamentals and asking: “What is education for?”

They want to hear from parents, pupils, teachers and anyone else who works in education on the answers to this somewhat existential question. They have even launched a hashtag so that people can tweet their thoughts – #EduPurpose.

Launching the inquiry, committee chair Neil Carmichael MP said: “In this inquiry we want to ask the question, what is education for?

“What is the purpose of our educational system? Is it, for example, to prepare our young people for the world of work? Is it to ready our children for adulthood and provide them with the skills to lead fulfilling lives?

“Is it to provide them all with broad academic knowledge, based on a shared culture and values?”

The Conservative MP said he expected to “hear diverse answers”. “It’s important we get an agreed sense of what education is so we can then ask the right questions about how we evaluate the quality of our education and how well it is performing against those measures,” he added.

His committee wants people’s views on:

*What the purpose of education for children of all ages in England should be.

*What measures should be used to evaluate the quality of education against this purpose.

*How well the current education system performs against these measures.

The deadline for evidence is 12 noon on Monday 25 January 2016.

People are being encouraged to submit their views at a new online forum on the select committee’s website. A short video has also been produced to start the discussion.

Written submissions for the inquiry should be sent via the education select committee website here.

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