Launch of Foundation for Education Development (FED)


Note : After a further successful consultation in February 2020, the Covid 19 emergency has meant our continuing conversations are now being held as a series for virtual round table discussions. To catch up on the ones you may have missed, head to our News and Resources.

A long-term plan for English education is the goal of a group of education, business and political leaders whose first meeting will be in Windsor today.

“Education policy over the past 50 years has had lots of change, mostly connected to the political cycle and often changes with a new Secretary of State for Education, who on average stays in post for two years”,  says Carl Ward, chair of the newly formed Foundation for Education Development (FED) “We need the kind of long term thinking already highlighted by a number of people and recently noted by the Education Select Committee’s idea for a ten year funding plan.  A long-term plan would allow us to adopt long-term policies that empower young people in the 21st century, and a post Brexit economy”. 

Carl, a teacher of 26 years and leader of the City Learning Trust in Stoke-on-Trent, is bringing influencers and experts from education, business and politics together to contribute jointly to a debate about the way education planning currently happens and to suggest ways in which it can change in the future so that children and young people have the greatest education system possible within which to learn.

He said: “We are dedicated to promoting a long-term plan for education in England.  We all agree that our children and young people deserve the greatest education system and we all have a vital part to play in bringing this to fruition.  In doing so, we can empower future generations and unlock the country’s potential.”

 “A unified approach is needed to connect education, business and politics together so that our education system meets the needs of a changing employment market and nurtures growth. The FED will discuss and debate the long-term challenges we face so that we can find a long-term strategy for solution.”

We have set up the FED as a neutral space, beyond party politics, to bring together all organisations to build ideas for a long-term strategy for English education. We invite everyone who is interested in helping shape this, to get in touch and join our conversations.

At its launch event today (DEC 2), more than thirty public figures, academics and professionals will consider a way forward with round table discussions held at St George’s House, Windsor Castle. 

‘We believe this is a crucial time for education in England, says Carl Ward.  We face local, national and global challenges.  We believe that the only way to rise to these challenges and provide an education system that our children and young people deserve is to develop a long-term plan for education.  A properly devised plan underpinned by a sensible and connected policy making mechanism can help everyone deliver better outcomes from our political leaders to our teachers in the classroom. We need a connected long-term plan, one that provides stability and yet enables us to grow so that we can respond to a fast-paced changing world.

St George’s House was founded to enable people of influence to discuss issues of national and international importance in depth over the course of 24 hours. Further FED debates, bringing together at least 30 key figures, will be held at the house on February 26 and 27 and May 21 and 22.

Mr Ward is joined at the FED by fellow directors Wendy Dean, owner of Staffordshire-based business services provider Strategi Solutions, education lawyer Nick Mackenzie partner at Browne Jacobson, Priya Lakhani OBE, founder of AI education technology company CENTURY, and Professor Fiona Forbes, director at the National Excellence in School Leadership Institute (NESLI) in Australia.

Ms Forbes said: “We now operate in the face of exponential rates of change globally – politically, socially, culturally and economically.  A long-term strategic plan of education informed by what we know, what we anticipate, and what we aspire to can lead to real system transformation.

In addition to a formidable board of directors, FED is joined by nine Council Members, with more to be announced in due course, who will all play an instrumental role in supporting the need for a long-term plan for education. The Council Members are Dr Steve Munby, Mike Buchanan, Paul Drechsler CBE, Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO, CBE, Lord David Young, Sir Mick Davis, Sam Freeman, Baroness Estelle Morris and Dr Karen Edge. 

FED Council Member Dame Julia Cleverdon said “I think it is time to open the discussion about creating a long-term strategy for education which is not dependent on the swings of the political cycles and changes. My hope is that the FED will provide exactly that constructive opportunity to determine together how we can moveforward as a country with a co-constructed and agreed system to embrace the massive challenges of delivering the education, the skills and development of young people for the next thirty years.”

FED Council member, Paul Drechsler said “In many respects there have never been more and better job and career opportunities, each requiring new roles, knowledge and skills. The sixth largest economy in the world can offer a great education for all; access to opportunity irrespective of family wealth or postcode. The only way to do this is via education ensuring every child is prepared for the opportunities ahead and every adult can adapt and deal with change and challenges in a rapidly changing world. Success requires a long-term framework and strategy that is not constantly adjusted to the personal preferences of short-term custodians.”


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