3rd Annual Lecture 2013

Reeta Chakrabarti, BBC Education Correspondent

Reeta Chakrabarti photo

The third annual Annual Oxford Education Society lecture was delivered by Reeta Chakrabarti on 20th September 2013 in the Simpkins Lee Lecture Theatre at Lady Margaret Hall.

Ms Chakrabarti looked at changes in education policy under the Coalition government and the challenges of reporting them. Key moments included the introduction of tuition fees, the student protests, the changes to university admissions, and the effect of devolution. She also talked about academies and free schools, the schools exam system, and the debate about academic standards. She touched on the style of the current government, relations with the teaching profession and unions, and news management.

Ms Chakrabarti illustrated her talk with relevant video clips of the BBC TV reports on some of the above issues.

lecture pic

Photo: Nina Tokhadze

Ms Chakrabarti allowed plenty of time for discussion as part of her presentation and fielded many questions from audience members stimulated by what she had to say. Most of the questions centred around how news about educational issues is gathered, how items of news are prioritised over other items and what role the journalist/reporter plays in setting the agenda for the reporting of educational issues. Several audience members were concerned that specific issues such as religious schools and independent schools didn’t get as much coverage as they thought they should. Ms Chakrabarti answered all the questions patiently and diplomatically, emphasising how news coverage is most often determined by the perceived interest of the audience and the perceived impact of the ‘story’ at any given time.

At the Drinks Reception at the Department afterwards, Ms Chakrabarti was virtually besieged by audience members queuing up to talk to her and ask follow up questions.

A very popular speaker!

The speaker was introduced by Professor Richard Pring, incoming President of the Oxford Education Society. Richard was previously Director of the Department of Education and is currently Senior Research Fellow in the Department.

Audio recording

Video recording

Please note that, unfortunately, permission was not granted by the BBC for us to include the video clips that Reeta used to illustrate her lecture

Reeta Chakrabarti has spent many years in broadcast news. Before her present role as Education and Social Affairs Correspondent at the BBC, she was a Political Correspondent based at Westminster. Prior to that she reported on Community Affairs, Home Affairs, and Health. She¬†has also been a presenter on the BBC News Channel, BBC World, and Radio 4’s The World Tonight. She has a degree in English and French from Exeter College, Oxford.

This seminar was generously sponsored by Routledge Education