RSS feed
Chris Cook

Chris Cook Policy editor, BBC Newsnight

Welcome to my blog – where I reflect on what’s going on in public policy and how it might affect you

How can education's rich-poor gap be closed?

Geography class

How do we open up opportunity for England's poorer children, in particular? Alan Milburn, the social mobility commissioner, has released a report on the topic.

One policy comes up quite often: just last week, the Conservatives announced a new set of measures related to school turnaround.

That is to say, the aggressive processes used to take schools that have got bad results and turn them into good schools.

The usual route for this is the so-called "sponsor academy programme".

That programme puts private groups - via charities forbidden from profiting from the schools - in charge of them.

Benefit claims

Read full article How can education's rich-poor gap be closed?

Where does UKIP stand on health?

  • 17 October 2014
  • From the section Health
Campaigner with "Protect Our NHS" banner
Campaigners ensured health was on UKIP minds at its party conference

Thinking about national policies from parties that do not expect to win national elections is a slightly odd exercise, but I think it is worth looking at UKIP's policy on healthcare.

That is because Labour, in particular, has continued to claim that UKIP is in favour of user-charging in the NHS.

Read full article Where does UKIP stand on health?

Can Tory plan save failing schools?

Teacher writing on a board

This weekend, after a fairly quiet conference season, schools drifted back onto the political agenda.

On Monday morning, the Conservative Party announced an interesting batch of proposals to try to help turn around struggling schools - what it has dubbed a "rescue package" for them.

Read full article Can Tory plan save failing schools?

What effect does culture have on learning?

Pupils taking GCSE

How important are schools? That's the question posed by John Jerrim, a researcher at the Institute of Education.

To answer it, he looks at Australian families of Chinese heritage.

Read full article What effect does culture have on learning?

NHS admissions: Why people are so worried

  • 6 October 2014
  • From the section Health
Patient (posed by model)

A group of the great and the good in the medical field has written a rather scathing open letter about the state of the NHS.

According to the authors of the letter, published in the Independent, there is widespread evidence of NHS and social care services "buckling under the twin crises of rising demand and flat-lining budgets".

Read full article NHS admissions: Why people are so worried

Party conferences: A look at domestic policy

Conservative party conference

How have the first few party conferences shaped our knowledge of what domestic politics might look like after 2015?

Two important announcements on health and education from Labour and the Conservatives caught my eye.

Read full article Party conferences: A look at domestic policy

Scottish independence: Has Scotland's moment passed?

  • 19 September 2014
  • From the section Scotland
Flags

Before Scotland voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom, SNP leader Alex Salmond described "No" voters as simply deferred "Yes" voters. But has the nationalist fervour passed? Should there be future attempts at secession, would they be less likely to succeed?

A lot of commentary has focused on the idea that the union - our 307-year-old joint enterprise - may be on the rocks because of the surprising success of the "Yes" campaign.

Read full article Scottish independence: Has Scotland's moment passed?

London's GCSE lessons for rest of England

  • 10 September 2014
  • From the section UK
children in a classroom

The government is to start shipping head teachers to Grimsby.

That's the result of an announcement that the Department for Education is to try to get good heads to go to areas that lack good schools.

Read full article London's GCSE lessons for rest of England

Should England make setting and streaming compulsory?

A child doing maths

The Guardian has reported that Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is pondering a new policy for Ofsted, the school inspectorate.

Patrick Wintour says schools in England could now face a presumption in favour of setting and streaming.

Read full article Should England make setting and streaming compulsory?

How important is education secretary's core subjects plan?

A school desk with text books

So how big is the first policy pronouncement made by new Education Secretary Nicky Morgan?

It's hard to tell.

Read full article How important is education secretary's core subjects plan?

More Correspondents

  • Allegra Stratton, Political editor, Newsnight Allegra Stratton Political editor, BBC Newsnight

    The politics and policies that shape your life


  • Nick Robinson, Political editor Nick Robinson Political editor

    The latest on what’s going on in and around politics


  • Martin Rosenbaum, Freedom of information specialist Martin Rosenbaum Freedom of information specialist

    Thoughts on FoI and the issues it raises


About Chris

Chris is BBC Newsnight's policy editor, covering the real-world consequences of decisions made by the politicians. He covers everything from schooling, health and hunger through to budgets and banks.

Based at New Broadcasting House in central London, he is an enthusiastic user of the Freedom of Information Act and a keen data journalist.

Prior to joining the BBC in 2014, he was an award-winning leader writer, education correspondent and comment editor at the Financial Times.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.