Education has to change – to move forward – so that our schools and students can face the unprecedented challenges of the future, with confidence, capability and compassion.
- That schools should be judged on a much broader set of outcomes (e.g. students’ resourcefulness; their ability to engage with political, economic and ecological issues; their confidence with digital technologies; their enjoyment of reading) than they currently face;
- That the voices of parents, families, and students should be central to process of education policy formulation;
- That students who neither want, nor need, to go to university should not be made to feel inadequate or failures by an overly narrow and overly academic curriculum;
- That high-stakes testing has gone too far, has caused too much stress and anxiety to teachers and students, and is a wholly inadequate means of assessing a student’s full range of talents;
- That the way teachers teach should foster more than the ability to recall snippets of knowledge – the future will ask students not simply what they know, but what they can do with what they know, how they critically evaluate data, and what to do when they don’t know what to do ;
- That the knowledge that will matter to students in the mid-21st century will be very different to the knowledge that is currently considered core – re-thinking a curriculum fit for the future is an urgent, widespread concern;
- That providing evidence of learning has attempted to become ‘teacher-proof’, whilst teaching to the test has become endemic. We have to trust teacher judgements more and invest in their professional development;
- That too many people cast the debate around education in binary terms, despite the growing numbers of schools whose students get good grades and develop confidence, capability and self-direction in their learning.We need to learn from these schools so that their practices can spread like wildfire;
- That politicians should focus their energies less on cherry-picking evidence to support their entrenched views, and more on the fundamental purpose of education. We need to improve, and deepen, the quality of public debate around schooling;
- That we live in times of turbulence and anxiety, where truth is a casualty of intolerance. Education has to help people strengthen their dispositions to tolerate uncertainty, to think carefully about complex issues, to understand the position of others and, where necessary, to disagree gracefully. This matters – not just for our communities and our children’s well-being, but for the future of our world.
I support the aims of Education Forward: