The Wilberforce Society | Domestic Policy
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Domestic Policy

A 2013 Conference Paper

This compilation explores the idea that a new way of teaching and learning could replace the traditional on-campus, set-syllabus university model.

The focus of the first twelve reports is on e-learning. This body of research and analysis evaluates almost every aspect of e-learning, including (but not limited to):

  • An exploration of the application of online learning methods;
  • Implications of e-learning for access;
  • Implications for the national curriculum;
  • Whether current courses can be taught wholly online;
  • Potential financial models for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses); and
  • How universities in Britain and abroad can approach e-learning.

The final two reports explore different alternative education models that, given a blank state, one might want to adopt. One considers self-set syllabi, something that could take off in conjunction with the rise of e-learning as it becomes more feasible for students to construct and tailor the content of their education. The other is a report authored by two ex-Cambridge students who now run Action Tutoring, a self-started social initiative seeking to provide free tuition to underprivileged children through working with volunteers. This special report ex- plores the theory and practice of applying a private tutoring model on a voluntary basis and the implications it has for our existing educational framework.

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A 2013 Conference Paper

This paper comprises of four pieces of policy research undertaken by members of The Wilberforce Society which each aim to explore ways of reconceptualising post-16 education and training in society today. It seeks to contribute to this vast debate by designing policy in a way that seeks to improve upon current provision and offer new alternative solutions to long standing problems with the education system in Britain.

Proposed policies are:

Examination Reform

    • External assessment at the end of Key Stage 4 should be limited to mathematics and English alone
    • Abolish equivalence of qualifications
    • The shortening and simplification of the National Curriculum
    • Universities should publish recommendations on appropriate qualifications
    • The introduction of a brand based system of quality assurance
    • Awarding bodies ought to publish details of who they have worked with or consulted

on their qualification syllabuses and examinations

  • Applications to university made once pupils have received their grades

Raising Perceptions of Vocational Training and Education

  • Maintain the momentum of transnational Vocational Training and Education pro- grammes
  • Ensuring central government follow through on their proposals for VET schemes
  • Offering VET schemes to prison offenders
  • A media campaign encouraging positive coverage of vocational education
  • The creation of youth ambassadors for vocational education
  • The organisation of an annual VET conference
  • Investment in a communications campaign
  • Provide employers with incentives to take on apprentices
  • The transferal of careers advice to schools

Learning for Work and Life

  • Train people in appropriate non-directly occupational skills which are vocationally based.
  • More emphasis on fostering creative business talent

Vocational Education in England

  • De-stigmatise the perception of VET
  • Private firms or groups of firms should be allowed to create their own qualifications
  • Introduction of regional sector skills councils
  • Funding of apprenticeships through SFA funds
  • Offering greater literacy and numeracy skills to help the unemployed
  • Improving facilities to remove private sector input in training

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Prejudice and discrimination, inequalities of opportunity and social alienation are significant problems both within and without the sporting world. I suggest using sport as a tool to change the attitudes of people in the victimised groups as well as those who discriminate; and consequently to increase the opportunities for people from minority groups to participate in sport and in a more inclusive society.

Proposed policies are

  • In school, increase the quantity and diversity of school sports and promote diverse sports scholarships at universities.
  • In communities, introduce village sports days, draft minorities consultants on local projects, integrate specialised & regular sporting facilities, and subsidise outreach & regeneration projects by socially significant sports.
  • In the workplace, target coaching programs at minority groups.
  • In the media, introduce government-sponsored coverage of diverse sports.
  • Investing in big sporting championships is a way of advancing equality issues on a national and international stage.

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This paper examines the English legal profession as it stands, as well as assessing the major proposals for reform. The paper also analyses recent changes to the legal profession and their potential impact, including the LSA 2007 and the role of ABS models.

The paper’s proposals include that the legal education system in England and Wales should have a common starting point for both barristers and solicitors, similar to the Hong Kong model; that a merger of the professional regulatory bodies would be unworkable in the short term; and that while the two professions of barrister and solicitor should not be merged forcibly, a gradual movement towards solicitor-advocacy should be encouraged.

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This paper proposes a series of population interventions to improve children’s diet with the aim to both directly reduce the incidence of childhood obesity and to encourage the development of healthy eating behaviours in children. Proposals are split into three population levels at which they can be enacted – industry, schools and parents and carers.

At the industry level, the paper proposes a comprehensive system of Pigouvian taxation on foodstuffs, based on their nutritional content; the introduction of compulsory front-of-pack labelling using a joint GDA and traffic lights system; and the regulation of advertising of unhealthy foods directed at children on the internet or before 9pm on television. At the school level, this paper proposes the provision of free school lunches to all pupils, as well as strict policies on what can be included in packed lunches; Ofsted inspection of whether schools ensure their students eat one healthy meal per day; and the introduction compulsory cookery classes. Finally for parents and carers, this paper proposes providing materials and educational sessions to parents on how to provide a healthy diet and how to recognise when their child is overweight.

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TWS’s first Annual Conference, held in January 2012 on the theme of ‘Public Policy for Cyberspace’, was accompanied by our introduction to the policy debates surrounding this area.

The paper was written by our specially-formed subcommittee on cyberspace, chaired by Albert Beardow.

Please email policy@wilberforcesociety.co.uk for more information.

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This paper sets out to evaluate the state of the greyhound racing industry in the United Kingdom, looking at regulatory structures and mechanisms, and incentives for racing and animal welfare. The paper argues for the closure of unregulated tracks, and for the industry to look into accessing funds from unclaimed winnings and dormant betting accounts to increasing support for animal welfare and effective self regulation.

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Tackling Homelessness proposes a set of 13 policies to reduce the number of people becoming homeless and to make it easier for the homeless to be re-housed. Proposals cover increased provision of services to the homeless, including an expansion of the government’s duty to provide emergency housing, the provision of specialist mobile health care clinics, and the provision of a PO Box and voicemail service to the homeless. Significant reforms to the way housing benefit is administered are also called for, to make it easier for the homeless to re-enter housing and to prevent new homelessness occuring. Finally, a set of policies are presented to increase available housing by maximising use of existing homes and by increasing the housing stock.

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A proposal to improve efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of medical treatment in five ways: firstly, to publicly run all Phase III clinical trials, secondly to only approve drugs for treating a particular condition rather than for general sale, thirdly that NICE must consider a treatment cost-effective for each condition for it to be approved to treat that condition, fourthly to cap NHS drug prices at £20k/patient/QUALY, and finally to allow the NHS to produce combined medications. Updated in August 2011 in response to the impending move to value based pricing.

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