“The problem is fundamental. Put twenty or more children of roughly thesame age in a little room, confine them to desks, make them wait in lines,make them behave. It is as if a secret commission, now lost in history, hadmade a study of children and, having figured out what the greatest numberwere least disposed to do, declared that all of them should do it.”~ Tracy Kidder

So what needs to change?

The first thing we should try to do here is identify the parameters that could vary in surprising or unpredictable ways. Demographics, for example, are pretty well understood and predictable, so are unlikely to be very important in identifying future scenarios. These factors might include:
  • ubiquitous mobile internet access becomes a reality (means less and less need for learning in one place, at one time)
  • lack of change (leading to school becoming perceived as irrelevant)
  • financial constraints and cutbacks (leading to a focus on basics, and no capacity for change)
  • ...

Lets tell a story of an imagined education.

Tim is 6 he has been nurtured in a high quality curriculum with practitioners who understand the different ways in which children learn. Within his pre-school years he has been taught in a class of 16 by Miss Watson a teacher and Mrs Smith a nursery nurse both experienced in early years education. He has been part of a ‘child centred’ teaching approach and has had a balance of adult directed and child initiated activities. The curriculum places a strong emphasis on active play. Tim sees his work as play and learns at his own pace in his own way. He has been given the freedom to explore and encouraged to be independent in a well planned educational environment, opportunities to experience a wide range of activities linked to real life situations and to think and talk about his learning in small and large groups.

He is confident now in being able to write his name with upper and lower case letters. It took along time for Tim to be able to do this, something to do with boys being naturally late starters and girls dramatically outperforming boys in every area of early development - including basic literacy, communication and imaginative play. His twin sister Kate could write her name when she was five. He has had lots of opportunities to practice this and was encouraged to write his name whenever he drew a picture. He now can write as well as Kate. Tim has had time to practise and rehearse what he has learnt in different contexts. He enjoys sitting, listening and joining in with stories and rhymes. His favourite part of the day is when he is able to explore outside. Tim goes outside when he wants to which is on most days. He puts on his waterproof overalls, jackets and boots which allow him to learn in a range of weather conditions. He also likes it when he gets to move around in the school gym hall. It’s a big space to run in and trying to juggle scarves is tricky but fun. Mum tells him that when he starts school he will to do Daily Physical Activity for 20 minutes either in the gym hall or outside, great he thinks as this will give him more time to learn how to juggle those scarves.

Tim is starting school in his sixth year. He will be taught in a class of 18 by Mrs West and a full time classroom assistant Mrs Bell. Tim is now emotionally ready, socially able, physically content and mature enough to deal with the school curriculum, bringing good solid life experiences and a thirst for learning.He is ready for formal education.

Janet is 8 and has been.................

John is 11 and has started to attend Secondary school.

Jack is 14. His average day is ...................

Jenny is 18.................................................

Some interesting notions suggested by the Gov't today in relation to Primary Schools in England
Report at BBC News