Education as the catalyst for social and political renewal #FEDNES

Today we heard from a plethora of Speakers  with clear sense of moral purpose and clarity of understanding that the current system is not working for a large proportion of our learners.

This morning Business leaders recognised there is a need for technical skills, attitudes, confidence and emotional agility that our current educational system is not nurturing.With changes in society and economy , and global sustainability ever present , our children need to be prepared for different ways of working and living.I was energised by the recognition that business needs to work with schools to support and develop:

Change is crucial. 

Some key themes permeating:

Ability to question, reason and be curious

Empathy and character

Teach for life

Ensure digital resources , hardware and infrastructure can be harnessed to enhance and develop

Flexibility 

Mentoring and coaching throughout

Empower a sense of agency and awareness of impact on the world, ensuring relevance and meaningful use of learning

Robert Halforn reiterated  the need for a long term plan, the importance of getting it right for our youngest children and their families. He pressed consideration of non- academic factors, particularly important for our most vulnerable children, but to ensure or children leave schools work ready.

It would seem the key issue is a need for joined up and creative thinking. The underlying messages today with regard to policy, decision- making, the voices that understand and have solutions to some of the issues have less influence. Surely if we all recognise a need for change, getting around a table and sorting this as a matter of urgency would be a great place to start!

It’s time to create the capacity for change and really work together to understand the challenges.

I love what Sarah Bouchie from Lego foundations said in her opening , Keeping children at the centre, embracing creativity and discovery. 

The power of the imagination and engagement shone through in terms of considering uncertainty, exploring and connecting concepts and transforming the world. It would seem a great message for everyone involved in this debate. I can certainly be an advocate for looking again and getting creative.

Then Priya Lakhani spoke such sense: Trust, let teachers teach and nurture young minds . Get back to using formative assessment and teach the whole child. In addition to this , consider wise investment in mental health specialists to support schools . They have enough on!

Make sure there is enough infrastructure and hardware to connect our schools to quality digital support and innovative ways of harnessing the imagination. Let’s look at really using the best of digital technology to open up a world of possibilities for our future generations. Let’s develop our learning and research to create a robust and creative digital plan to really create exciting and creative learning opportunities.

Fundamentally , as Peter Hyman acknowledged today, Leaders are reflecting on the purpose of education and realising that the micromanagement of monitoring of teachers  to the extent they had been undertaking previously may have been stifling risk taking and research to plan rich projects and feel able to explore. It’s time to really focus on working together, making mistakes together, but staying firmly focused on building a community of learning that is adaptable, creative, emotionally sound and prioritising our young people’s needs and motivations to build them a hopeful future.

In addition to this, every conversation has returned to the problematic nature of summative assessment with a narrow set of academic factual priorities. This is not equipping our learners with a broad enough curriculum to prepare them for the world they are to live in .

Creative thinking is definitely called for, innovative approaches to considering structures and process and thus bringing about meaningful cultural change.

Let’s create a world of playful curiosity for our children where they can harness new and innovative ideas and technologies, deepen their thinking, explore the world and their place in it and discover their role in shaping the future .

We need not just a short term catch up plan, we need a long term commitment to high quality education clearly focused on equity for our children. All children deserve  futures, they should be active participants in this and we owe it to them to begin to work collaboratively and cohesively across society to ensure that happens.

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