Recorded on 7th February as part of the Education for Social Change lecture series at the Cardiff University School of Social Sciences.

Education today is driven increasingly by instrumentality and technical practice, insistent on standardisation and regulation, and focused on fitting young people for a neoliberal world of more of the same – relentless consumption, continual flexibility and intensifying competition. There is a growing obsession, too, with marketisation and privatisation of education, reducing it to a relationship of choice and contract between autonomous parent-consumers and autonomous (pre)school-businesses.

In this lecture, Peter explored a real utopian alternative, envisaged as contributing to the kind of transformative political, social, economic and environmental change required to respond to the profound crises confronting us today. This alternative is a renewed public education spanning the life-course, built on democracy as a fundamental value and the image of the school as a public space: a collective workshop of many projects and infinite potential and a place of encounter between citizens.

An important part of the process of transformation is the creation of a new relationship between early childhood and compulsory education, moving beyond ‘readying for school’ to the vision of a meeting place in which a democratic politics of education can be practiced to produce shared answers to the political questions that underlie education.

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