Open to Ideas: Essays on Education and Skills

Open to Ideas is an ongoing project which brings together experts from across the education sector to reflect on the big questions facing education and skills policy through a series of short essays. They question common assumptions, identify lessons learned from recent policy experiments and innovations, and suggest new approaches to policy and practice.

The Parliamentary Skills Group commissions essays for Open to Ideas on a rolling basis. If you would like to contribute please get in touch. 

New in Open to Ideas

Vocational pedagogy

Charlynne Pullen outlines new research by the City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development, which sets out a new theory of vocational pedagogy based on six clear 'outcomes' of vocational education valued by employers and customers. 

Why we need a universal upper secondary education in England

Institute of Education Professors Ann Hodgson and Ken Spours argue that only a universal upper secondary system can provide answers to the longstanding challenges facing English education.

Learning and working

Louis Coiffait reflects on how the closer integration of learning and work, spurred on by technological development, could revolutionise the way our education system reaches out to disengaged people.

Older essays

The first instalment of the essay collection was launched in December 2011 in parliament. Contributions to the collection were grouped around five major themes:


Watch your language: was Orwell right after all? | Richard Pring

Anti-manualism | Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas

What's the story? Further education in the media | Ian Nash


The knowledge economy and the global auction for brainpower | Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder and David Ashton

Education, employment and the economy: Time to bid the past goodbye? | Ewart Keep

Skills and industrial policy | Tess Lanning


A more expansive approach to work and learning | Lorna Unwin and Alison Fuller

Vocational pedagogy: bringing it all together? | Prue Huddlestone

Digital learning in further education | John Yates


More than just knowledge - a Whole Education | John Dunford

What about the majority? Rethinking post-16 opportunities | Alison Fuller

Supply and demand for further education: A Principal's view | Dave Linnell

The accidental loss of vocational higher education | John Randall

When will we ever learn? | Alan Tuckett


Vocational education and skills policy in Australia | Tom Karmel 

Supported by City and Guilds & TTF