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Academics invite public to assess coalition record a week before election

Downing Street Wednesday 22 April 2015

Academics are to gather at Liverpool Hope University a week before the general election to assess the impact of the first peacetime coalition in Britain since the Second World War.

With speakers addressing the coalition's legacy in politics, culture and education, they will also look forward to what we might expect after May 7th. Academics, teachers, parents, administrators and members of the public are invited to The UK Coalition: Politics, culture and education at 1pm on Friday 1st May, in the EDEN lecture Theatre at Liverpool Hope University’s Hope Park Campus.  The event is free.

Speakers will include Dr Mike Finn, Head of the Centre for Education Policy and former Head of Research and chief political speechwriter to Charles Kennedy and Ming Campbell, Rory Coonan, Chairman of Design for Care and founder of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and Louis Coiffait, Chief Executive Officer, NAHT Edge.

The event also marks the launch of two new books - The Coalition Effect, 2010-2015 (Cambridge University Press, 2015) edited by Anthony Seldon and Mike Finn and The Gove Legacy: Education in Britain after the Coalition (Palgrave, 2015) edited by Mike Finn. After the keynote speakers, the floor will be opened for the audience to share their views on the coalition’s record, including how the education system will look after the 2015 election. 

Liverpool Hope University is home to the Centre for Education Policy Analysis which draws together policy-focused research in the Faculty of Education, in turn providing a bridge between academic research in education and government, think-tanks and the third sector.

Dr Mike Finn, who as a former Lib Dem speechwriter worked closely with Nick Clegg before the coalition said: “On May 1st, all of the parties will be undertaking their final efforts to get the keys to number 10. This makes it an ideal time for an honest discussion of where the current coalition has taken us, and what the implications could be if just a week later we are faced with a coalition of a different kind. Everyone is welcome to reflect on the past five years, and think seriously about the new political dynamic that the country will face on May 8th.”  

The UK Coalition: Politics, culture and education 1pm, Friday 1st May, EDEN Lecture Theatre, Liverpool Hope University, Hope Park Campus.  For more information or to RSVP please contact Michelle Pryor pryorm@hope.ac.uk  

Speaker Biographies:

Mike Finn is Director of the Centre for Education Policy Analysis and Lecturer in the History of Education at Liverpool Hope University. Born in Liverpool, he was educated there and at Exeter College, Oxford, Magdalene College, Cambridge and Harvard University, where he was a Kennedy Scholar. An economic historian and political scientist, he taught at both Oxford and Cambridge and was Bye-Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge and Research Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.  In 2001 he was recipient of the Palgrave/Times Higher Education Humanities and Social Sciences Writing Prize. In 2006 he served as Head of Research and chief political speechwriter to the Leader of the Liberal Democrats during the transition from Charles Kennedy to Ming Campbell, and subsequently spent four years as a policy adviser and speechwriter in Parliament. He is the co-editor of The Coalition Effect, 2010-2015 (with Sir Anthony Seldon, Cambridge University Press) and editor of The Gove Legacy: Education in Britain after the Coalition (Palgrave).

Rory Coonan is Chairman, Design for Care. From 2005–11 he was Director of Planning, Design and Architecture for Circle Health, pioneering the ‘compact’ hospital concept to designs by the architectural practices headed by Lord Foster and Lord Rogers. A former director of architecture at the Arts Council of Great Britain, he devised the design policies of the National Lottery and served as chair of the National Lottery Design panel. In 1994–7 he conceived and developed NESTA (national endowment for science, technology and the arts). He was educated at Oxford University and the Royal College of Art. He has served as architecture correspondent of the Financial Times and Observer, and as a member of the Franco-British Council. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The National Portrait Gallery Collection has acquired works by him as a photographer.

 Louis Coiffait is CEO of NAHT Edge – a new affiliate teacher’s union for aspiring middle leaders, launching in September. He is particularly interested in education policy, innovation and enterprise. He has over a decade of experience in education, most recently as Head of Research in the Pearson Think Tank and in the Office of the Chief Education Advisor, Sir Michael Barber. You can follow him on Twitter at @LouisMMCoiffait or read his blog for education policy comment, research and analysis. He is also a Fellow of the RSA and a regular volunteer; as Chair of Governors at an outstanding school in Hackney, as Governor of a federation of five schools, as Secretary of Hackney governors’ association, as a Prince’s Trust enterprise mentor, as Chair of Trustees for a charity (University of Westminster Student Union), and running the social enterprise Work&Teach. He is also the Editor of Blue Skies, a growing collection of new thinking about the future of higher education. He lives in East London and hails from Yorkshire.

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