We are pleased to announce that our programme at the party conferences this Autumn has now been finalised.
This report argues that recent efforts to raise school standards, important though they are, have arguably focused too narrowly on reforming the academic curriculum and qualifications, at the expense of the education of the whole child.
Following a comprehensive review of existing efforts in the field of 'extended provision', this reports lays out an exciting new framework for a 'Schools Plus' programme with the potential to work for all schools and communities, and ensure that education truly is at the heart of our communities. Based on extensive research evidence, school and college visits, and interviews with educators, academics and other experts, the report poses important questions about what twenty-first schooling should look like - and provides innovative and practical answers.
'Schools Plus is a well researched and thought provoking report. It makes pragmatic recommendations for extending our concept of 'whole child' education and for making more extensive use of schools and their resources as beacons of individual and institutional transformation at the heart of the local communities they serve. This excellent report deserves serious consideration and widespread debate.' - Dr Ann Limb OBE DL, Chair of the Helena Kennedy Foundation and former college principal
'This is a really welcome report. The issue of extended schools has slipped off the radar in recent years and needs reviving. This report is valuable in pulling together history and evidence , and making bold new proposals appropriate to the current climate. I look forward to this report having a real impact.' - Professor Alan Dyson, Centre for Equity in Education, University of Manchester
'I hope very much that those across the political and educational worlds take this report's central proposal very seriously, so that we can continue working towards a world-class British education for every child.' - Pat Glass MP
Download the report
This paper updates CentreForum's July 2014 interim report, and our further work found greater evidence of the importance of effective and transparent competition in defence procurement. Our case study is the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) capability deleted in the 2010 Defence Review, as MPA is likely to be reinstated under the current government. As it involves recreating a capability largely from scratch, operational and value-for-money (VfM) considerations make it critical that an effective competition is conducted.
The report finds that the MoD should conduct a conventional competition, starting with the early publication of a detailed operational requirement and assessment criteria. The report argues that to maximise VfM, the Government should consider maritime surveillance holistically, including a high-low capability mix. Finally, the operational requirement and the assessment criteria need to be backed up by a rigorous, real-world threat assessment, rather than a gold-plated requirement which could favour a particular platform.
These balanced recommendations provide a blueprint for a new UK MPA force, as well as a formula for other MoD procurements.
Download the report
This report argues that the Council Tax band system in Britain should be abolished and replaced with a flat rate levy set by individual local authorities. Revenue from homes valued at £2 million or below would be retained by councils to pay for local services, while revenue from properties worth more than £2 million would be pooled and distributed nationally.
The flat rate levy would end the regressiveness of the current Council Tax regime which, among other things, sees the lowest value properties charged the same amount of tax as the highest value homes in each band. The change would also strengthen the link between taxpayers and local services and be a fairer way of rebalancing UK property taxation than an annual Mansion Tax on £2 million homes.
The latter featured prominently in the Labour and Liberal Democrat election manifestos but was rejected by the Conservatives in coalition government and is criticised by CentreForum for being "bad policy disguised as good politics". A comprehensive analysis of the Mansion Tax proposal is contained in the report.
The report further recommends the establishment of a Royal Commission to consider the appropriate balance of taxes on property and the issue of "unearned economic rents on land". It concludes that a reformed system of UK property taxation that is both effective and fair should have wide electoral appeal.
Download the report
Access the media release