James Tooley

Professor James Tooley is Vice-Chancellor at the University of Buckingham

When ‘white privilege’ doesn’t count

First off the blocks criticising Dr Tony Sewell’s report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities was Professor Kalwant Bhopal from the University of Birmingham. Writing in the Guardian and focusing on her specialism of education (she is director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education), she took exception to the statistics that

They tuck you up

I first came across Philip Larkin’s poem ‘This Be the Verse’ when I was 18 in the late 1970s. You know the one: ‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad/ They may not mean to, but they do…’ I was working as a volunteer in a care home for physically handicapped adults in Camden,

We’re not talking Eton

Private schools in the United Kingdom are affordable only to those on the highest incomes. But surprisingly to many, this is not true across developing countries, where low-cost private schools are ubiquitous and affordable to all. For nearly two decades I’ve been researching this phenomenon. I’ve visited low-cost private schools in more than 20 countries,

Our browbeaten universities

Are university vice-chancellors paid too much? The government clearly thinks so, and is planning to fine universities that can’t justify paying their leaders more than the Prime Minister’s salary of £150,000 per annum. Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of Oxford University (salary £350,000), strongly disagrees, and has contrasted her salary negatively with those of bankers and footballers.

First class

On the Today programme a month ago, Education Secretary Justine Greening was asked whether she could name any ‘respected figure or institution’ in favour of more grammar schools. She declined to answer, which was taken to mean that she couldn’t, and that there wasn’t. I’ve been travelling a lot this year, so wasn’t around to

A lesson in bias on private schools

What’s wrong with low-cost education in poor countries? Quite a lot, you might think, if you read a new report from the Department for International Development. Low-cost private schools serve around 70 per cent of children in poor urban areas and nearly a third of rural children too. But the issue raises controversy among academics

E.G. West showed a way for ‘free schools’ to be truly free

Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, has announced the closure of the Durham Free School, following scandalously one-sided Ofsted reporting about the school.  Closure would lead to less choice for parents in disadvantaged ex-mining villages here in the north-east. Local Labour MP, Mrs Blackman-Woods, says that there are surplus places available, so no free schools

Malala for free schools

That Malala Yousafzai, the girl the Taleban tried to murder, is a brave and resolute young woman is not in doubt. The youngest person ever nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, she has won many awards, including the Sakharov Prize and an honorary degree from Edinburgh University, in her campaign for ‘the right to -education’.

A lesson from the Third World

Schoolboy Worlanyo leaves his crowded home in the townships of Accra, Ghana, early in the morning, smartly dressed in brown shorts and a bright but frayed yellow shirt. He makes his way down filthy streets, but walks past the run-down exterior of the government school, where a few children forlornly wait for the doors to