While the threat of foreign competition has long been used to justify education reforms, the use of international comparisons has reached something of a crescendo in recent years. In an attempt to improve their school systems, policymakers are increasingly turning to other countries for inspiration and ideas.
The interest in using international benchmarks to drive improvement has the potential to move debates beyond 'shock reactions' to our rank position in league tables. But it also raises fundamental questions about the purpose and design of international assessments, and how they can be used in a progressive way that reflects their limitations.
Snakes and ladders: Tackling precarity in social security and employment supportAcross the country, people are trying to make ends meet, build financial security and pursue their aspirations. But, in a vicious cycle of snakes and ladders, many are being pulled down into poverty.
Making markets: The City's role in industrial strategyTo tackle climate change, we need a significant increase in public and private capital investment.
Broken hearted: A spotlight paper on cardiovascular diseaseProgress on cardiovascular disease was a significant driver of better health and prosperity in the latter half of the 20th century, however progress has recently stalled – with indications it may be in reverse.