No return to ‘year zero’ !

I am struggling now as I am really not ‘politically motivated’ and that is why I really do need education to be divorced from politics so that the best can manage it and move it forward. ( I think I would be saying the same thing about the NHS). Young people get one chance to work their way through the ‘education system’ and each minute of each day of each year is fundamentally important to them and they should not be messed about with policy changes that appear to me to be politically motivated.

I was heartened to read the “Progressive Education Network’s‘ stance on such things. Their message is ‘trust the professionals’. Here is their open letter to the Guardian.

On a similar theme, I think, ‘Whole Education’. This is what their intro says:

Over the last several decades a gulf has opened up between what education systems provide and what children and young people need. Our education system rightly attempts to provide children with literacy and numeracy and academic qualifications. But this emphasis on a set of core academic skills and a culture of intensive testing of the individual too often squeezes out other essential attitudes and capabilities also now required from a modern education.

The comment that draws me to their ideas is : For the first time, leading non-political, non-profit organisations are coming together to promote a set of common beliefs and educational practices that help to make sure young develop the qualities, skills and knowledge they will need for the future.

Although I can see the view that education/schooling is to fit people for work I do hope that we can all see that, in a changing world, it needs to be so much more than that. The narrowness of the immediate has and is creating a pseudo-skills economy based on the moment. This is not what our young people want and it is certainly not what they need. The Whole Education group want just what their title says – a whole education – At a time of great social change that impacts on both family stability and employment prospects, these capabilities prepare a child for life in a competitive, globalised economy and a much more fragile, risky and uncertain society. These non-academic skills require different ways of learning. Methods that teach young people how to think creatively and collaboratively, how to exercise discipline and empathy; how to show determination, enterprise and grit in the face of failure and adversity and how to develop the assets of confidence and leadership: all of which have a value regardless of the child’s intellectual ability.

Please let us not lose site of these most important facets.


‘Stumped’ D Dickinson April 2010

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