The Foundation for Education Development (@FedEducation) convenes a national celebration of the 150th Anniversary of State Education, with the second of two online webinar events. 

 2020 marks 150 years since the 1870 Education Act, the first major step in introducing free state education. In celebration of this, the Foundation for Education Development are hosting the second of two online webinars on the evening of Thursday 17th September.

Following on from the success of the opening launch event, the second event features a unique gathering of 12 former Secretaries of State for Education, coming together to reflect on this significant anniversary. The participants will focus on three major topics: reflecting on the changes that have occurred in their time in education, social mobility in education and employability, wellbeing, character, and values in education.

With significant and recognisable names in modern politics such as, Lord Kenneth Baker, Nicky Morgan, and Ed Balls conversing alongside past influences such as David Blunkett, Gillian Shepard and Estelle Morris, the former secretaries of state will also be reflecting on the big changes that are possibly needed in the education sector moving forwards. The group sessions are chaired by Branwen Jeffreys of the BBC.

The first virtual event saw a host of senior guests from education, political and business sectors coming together paying tribute to this anniversary. Hosted by the Chair of the FED, Carl Ward. Carl welcomed Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education to share his thoughts on the 150th Anniversary and the importance of State Education.

They were joined by Sir Michael Barber, Lord Bilimoria, President of the CBI, the Chief Executive of the Chartered College of teaching, the Chair of the National Literacy Trust and other voices – young and old - from our education eco system. Each individual shared a different message from their respective sectors, sharing their personal experiences, and raising key points to be considered.

The FED’s aim is to use this milestone in conjunction with their ultimate goal of growing partnerships in a neutral space for policy influencers from education, politics, business and beyond to shape a long-term vision and plan for the education of future generations.

Carl said:

“It is great to come together with so many inspirational characters to discuss such an important event. The past 150 years have shaped the education system that we have today and as we reflect; we can learn how to further shape a system to be proud of for future generations to come.”

The FED will build on this event, using the discussion to celebrate achievements both past and present, reflect on the history of state education and use this to envision a what is needed in a long-term plan for the education system.

In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic the challenge of hosting both events have been nothing short of problematic. Ably assisted by key supporters, Browne Jacobson, Private & Public sector law firm, national awarding organisation and educational services charity NCFE, and Staffordshire based business consultants Strategi Solutions, the events will take the form of online webinars mixing live debates and interviews with pre-recorded content.

Both events will be available for download after the initial broadcast and will provide the foundations for ongoing celebrations for the next 12 months. The FED aim to use their platform FedSpace to convene individuals across all sectors to recognise this positive 150th Anniversary and to contribute to the activities that will be revealed in the coming months.


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