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Past events


The second annual CMRE Friedman Lecture: 'School competititon is key to school reform'

Presented by Professor Paul E. Peterson

When: Tuesday 26th January 2016, 6.30-7.45pm

Where: Hoare Memorial Hall, Church House (Great Smith Street entrance), Westminster 


Challenging the OECD PISA Analysis: Implications for Education Reform

Gabriel Heller Sahlgren, CMRE Director of Research, James Croft, CMRE Executive Director, and Lindsey Burke, Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy, The Heritage Foundation.

When: Tuesday 17th October, 2015, 10am to 11.30am

Where: Lehrman Auditorium, The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington DC

Over the past 15 years, the education debate has become increasingly internationalized following the birth of the OECD’s PISA survey. PISA scores measure the skills and knowledge of students internationally and have become widely interpreted as a measure of countries’ education policy success. Policymakers in countries with lower PISA scores often look to countries that fare well on PISA for ideas to improve student performance. But is this a good way to conduct education policy? This forum will discuss the value of PISA and alternative measures for school reform. Often, a country’s success is more complex than a PISA survey can capture and ignores the potential of free market solutions. Using a range of education policy examples, with Finland, Sweden, England and the United States as case studies, the forum highlights the pitfalls associated with “best practice” and the OECD’s analyses for finding out what works. It will also consider implications for U.S. policy within the context of growing school choice options.

View video of the event here.


Why schools can’t do without politicians

James Croft interviews Sir Michael Barber about his latest book How to run a government and discusses its implications for education policy and the business of schooling 

with opening remarks from CMRE's President, Neil McIntosh CBE

Sponsored by Dukes Education

When: Tuesday 6th October 2015, 6.30 for 7.00 to 8.30pm

Where: 2 Lord North Street (Great Peter Street entrance), Westminster

The effectiveness or otherwise of governments is fundamental to the prosperity and well-being of society, and of markets. In a time when politicians struggle to make and fulfil meaningful promises in face of the weight of expectations on them and the sheer complexity of delivery, fresh thinking is required to overcome the barriers to implementation presented by the public bureaucracies that have developed as a result. Interviewed by CMRE's Executive Director, James Croft, Sir Michael Barber explores the issues as they relate to education services.

Sir Michael Barber is Chief Education Advisor at Pearson, leading the development of its worldwide programme of efficacy and research into the learning impact of its education services offering.

Read more about the event here.


Transferable expertise and contextual realities: does the independent schools sector really have all the answers for state school improvement?

Presented by Jon Coles, Group Chief Executive of United Learning

Chaired by Lord Lucas, Member, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education,

with panel contributions from Sam Freedman, Director of Research, Evaluation and Impact at Teach First, and Richard Harman, Chair of the Headmasters' & Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) and Headmaster of Uppingham School

When: Wednesday 19th August 2015, 6.15 for 6.30 to 8.30pm

Where: 2 Lord North Street (Great Peter Street entrance), Westminster

Faith in the capacity of the independent schools sector to effect improvement in state school provision has been an enduring feature of the policy debate about how to raise pupil attainment for many years. Since the introduction of the Academies programme, securing independent school leadership and resources for the most challenged schools in particular has been a key part of the government’s strategy. But is this faith well placed? At this event, Jon and panellists explored the implications of contextual realities for the prospects of system-wide school improvement, for policy-making in general, and for the relationship between central government and autonomous state schools.

Read more about the event and subsequent media coverage here.


Real Finnish Lessons: the true story of an education superpower

Tim Oates in conversation with Gabriel Heller Sahlgren

When: Wednesday 22nd April 2015, 6.30-8.30pm

Where: 55 Tufton Street, Westminster

At this joint event, co-hosted by The Centre for the Study of Market Reform of Education (CMRE) and The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), and sponsored by Cambridge Assessment, Tim Oates and Gabriel Heller Sahlgren considered Finland's rise, and demise, in the international PISA rankings, drawing lessons for policymakers, educational practice, and research.

Read more about the lecture and access a video of the event here.


The Inaugural CMRE Friedman Lecture: 'School choice matures: lessons for policymakers'

Presented by Professor Julian Le Grand

When: Tuesday 27th January 2015, 6.30-7.45pm

Where: Hoare Memorial Hall, Church House (Great Smith Street entrance), Westminster

Read a summary of the lecture or listen to an audio recording.


Good teachers are crucial – so how can we make them better?

Presented by Professor Olmo Silva with a panel discussion chaired by Gabriel Heller Sahlgren and panel contributions from David Weston and Laura McInerney When: Thursday 27th November, 6:30-9.30pm Where: , Westminster, the offices of the Adam Smith Institute. Read more about the event here.