Definition of 'education'

This is an invitation-only event.

The next event in our Cumberland Seminar series will look at 'Education and Social Cohesion', with an introductory briefing from guest speaker, Lord (Andrew) Adonis, followed by group discussions over dinner and a final plenary session.

It will bring together leading social commentators, parliamentarians, business leaders and researchers at Cumberland Lodge, on Tuesday 10 October 2017, to explore the fundamental role of education in promoting social cohesion in 21st century Britain.

Lord Adonis is a former Labour politician, academic and journalist who served in the Labour Government for five years. He is currently chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission.

Focus of discussion

The seminar will focus on two key areas:

  1. Whether the education system is reproducing social segregation, rather than stimulating social mobility, As the Prime Minister Theresa May said, "...the brutal and unacceptable truth is that for far too many children in ordinary working class families, the chance they have in life is determined by where they live or how much money their parents have. This means decisively shifting Britain's education system and building a great meritocracy so that children from ordinary working families are given the chances their richer contemporaries take for granted" (‘Theresa May unveils plans for a new generation of Grammar Schools’, The Daily Telegraph, 7 March 2017)
  2. Whether the curriculum prepares young people "for life in modern Britain, and the complex world we live in" (Chris Waller, Association for Citizenship Teaching, February 2017).

These issues will be addressed in the context of a growing funding crisis that is forcing state schools to make £3 billion of savings by 2020 (cited by Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, March 2017).

Participants will be asked to consider what a socially progressive educational system would look like, and how far we are from achieving one, in the UK.


The outcomes of the seminar will be disseminated to those with an interest in this area, and used to inform Cumberland Lodge’s ongoing work in addressing the question of what makes for a peaceful, inclusive and tolerant society.

"Education in England is still far too weak an engine of social mobility, skills and citizenship.  In order to build a genuine one-nation society without the entrenched class divisions and poverty of the past, the chasm between private and state education – the elite and the mass – must be bridged." - Lord  Adonis Education, Education, Education (2012, p.xiv)


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