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David Laws, Executive Chairman of the Education Policy Institute and former UK Schools Minister

David Laws, Executive Chairman of the Education Policy Institute and former UK Schools Minister, on narrowing the education gap between rich and poor.


Between 2010 and 2015, David served in the UK’s Coalition Government as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Schools Minister, and Cabinet Office Minister. Whilst Schools Minister he was responsible for policy areas including all capital and revenue funding, the Pupil Premium, accountability and policy on teachers and leadership. Since 2015, David has been Chairman of the Education Policy Institute.


In this episode we focus on narrowing the education gap between rich and poor and delve into various areas, including creating and communicating a strong evidence base, engaging with policymakers and the media, the possible introduction of Value Added Tax to independent schools, and quite a bit more.


As someone who served as Schools Minister, David has key insight on how to engage with policymakers effectively and ensuring research reaches decision-makers at the right time.


Translating and summarising complex research, and boiling it down to the policy impact, is actually not the challenging part. The bigger challenge is in ensuring policymakers take note of the research even when it doesn’t align with their own views and, also, in ensuring research cuts right through policymakers’ busy diaries and grabs their attention.


Narrowing the education gap between rich and poor is one of David’s key focus areas. He explains how in the UK we have some of the best universities in the world, but there is a tail of underachievement which is very long and highly associated with income and social class, which is the weakness of the UK education system. If we can close the gap between rich and poor we’d have an education system that would genuinely be one of the very best in the world.


About David Laws


David joined the Education Policy Institute as Executive Chairman in September 2015.


Between 2010 and 2015, David served in the Coalition Government as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Schools Minister, and Cabinet Office Minister. Whilst Schools Minister he was responsible for policy areas including all capital and revenue funding, the Pupil Premium, accountability and policy on teachers and leadership.


David was Member of Parliament for Yeovil from 2001 until 2015.


David graduated from King’s College, Cambridge, with a double first class honours degree in economics and worked at J.P. Morgan and Barclays de Zoete Wedd.





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