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Thank you to the delegates who joined us at The Future of Education: priorities for the next election conference. 

Please continue to add your views to Slido.


The disrupted education landscape over the course of the pandemic has highlighted the need to prioritise the sector in the next election. The conference will bring together a group of high-level stakeholders to discuss which key recommendations should be put forward to parties ahead of the next general election.

England currently has one of the narrowest education systems in the world, with pupils only studying 2.7 qualifications on average post-16. The Royal Society has long been a champion of reform in this area, recognising that young people need to be educated in a broad range of subjects not only to enter the workforce, but also to ensure emotional and mental wellbeing, and to equip them to be active participants in democracy and society.

On this page, you will find the agenda for the event in addition to details on how to join Slido which we will be using throughout the day.

This is an invite-only event held at the Royal Society. Find out more about about the venue.

Social media and Slido

Please join in the discussion on Twitter by using the hashtag #FutureOfEducation.

To join Slido, please visit

For any questions relating to the education team's work at the Royal Society, please contact




The way we live has changed a great deal in the last 50 years - our education system has not. The way we work, the way we understand the world around us and the way we interact with each other and our wider society all require a greater range of skills and understanding. In England we have one of the narrowest education systems in the world.

We force 16-year-olds to give up a wide range of subjects and the skills that come with them. We also have too great a focus on academic skills, neglecting the technical skills that are increasingly important. If we don’t make changes, today’s young people are not going to be prepared for the future, and existing regional, gender and socio-economic inequalities will continue.


Sir Adrian Smith

President, the Royal Society


In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and in the face of declining social mobility, low productivity, globalisation, Brexit, the climate crisis and a worsening mental health crisis, the Times Education Commission urges that now is the crucial time to reform the education system.

Despite these serious challenges, the pandemic has given Britain and the wider world pause for thought, and has presented a vital opportunity alongside the AI/4.0 revolution for the education system to accelerate the levelling up agenda, turbocharge the economy and make the country fairer and more equitable.

The Times Education Commission is Britain's first commission that has looked from the early years, through school, to adult learning, with a goal to improve the education system for all learners today and in the future.


Rachel Sylvester

Chair, Times Education Commission


  • How can we broaden the education system to ensure breadth and depth?
  • Why is breadth so important for future jobs and life?
  • How could post-16 reform improve the offer of alternative vocational pathways?
  • Will the introduction of T Levels improve the system?


Rt Hon. David Laws

Executive Chair, Education Policy Institute


Professor Kathryn Mitchell

Vice-Chancellor, University of Derby

James Turner

Chief Executive, Sutton Trust

Professor Helen James OBE

Chair of Education and Skills Board, Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Yvonne Kelly

Principal and CEO, Barking & Dagenham College


  • What should assessment measure and when should assessment take place?
  • What alternatives are there to high stakes assessment that can also demonstrate success?
  • Can we learn any lessons from international systems?


  • How has the role of the teacher changed and how can we ensure that teachers are supported with their workload and wellbeing?
  • How can the recruitment and retention of teachers be improved, particularly in shortage subjects?
  • How can the provision of and quality of CPD for teachers be improved?