In global rankings and comparisons of education systems around the world, the UK’s education system regularly scores highly. Yet, these rankings can overlook the multitude of challenges faced by teachers, parents, schools, social workers and policy makers on a daily basis, in providing the vital education and support needed by our children and young people.
The global shortage of learning is truly shocking. Today, most children in the world are not reaching even basic levels of literacy and maths as they are either not in school or they’re in a school but not really learning. It’s an uncomfortable fact reinforced by the World Bank’s inaugural report on education. The crisis is worst in sub-Saharan Africa. It is home to more than half the world’s out-of-school children, but it receives only a quarter of global education aid. The latest insight from the most authoritative research points to low quality and quantity of teaching in low and middle income countries, indicative of ineffective systems, as a major root cause.
When we asked our Twitter followers whom we ought to interview, Jean-Louis Dutaut threw his and Lucy Rycroft-Smith’s hat into the ring. Self-deprecatingly referring to this suggestion as “shameless self-promotion”, it quickly became evident that their project - Flip The System UK - was something our readers should know about.
As more teachers have been leaving the workforce before retirement than ever, school leaders are currently facing a difficult time when it comes to filling up vacancies. In September, the National Audit Office (NAO) released a new report which highlighted that 67% of school leaders identify workload as an important barrier to teacher retention. A Department for Education survey found that middle leaders and classroom teachers work on average 54.4 hours per week, including on the weekend.
What’s the #1 annual publication in education? We may be biased, but for us it’s the Innovate My School Guide 2017/18. The third edition of this inspirational periodical sees 40 top educators tackle 10 of the most exciting areas in the sector, ranging from The Hottest Edtech Trends, to Assessing Assessment, to a Countdown to 2018/19. The IMS Guide is free to read on our website, and will throughout the year be distributed in print at selected education events across the UK and around the world.
In my work I get to hear children discuss subjects like gender identity, vegetarianism, doping in sport and free speech. On the one hand, controversial topics like these can stir up, provoke, and engage. On the other hand, they can trigger a defensiveness in students that stifles thoughtful inquiry. Is there a way to keep the benefits without the downsides? Is there a way to support honest inquiry where children can reevaluate their ideas and avoid intellectual stasis?
Those attending Bett Academies (NEC, Birmingham) on 17th March will get the chance to hear Andrew Fields, CEO of Aspire Academy Trust, discuss the shape of the new educational landscape. Presenting at 13:45 on the Friday of the event, Andrew will be reminding us of the opportunities that this new educational landscape offers academies and MATs.
An official part of Finland’s centennial celebrations, HundrED is a Finnish-born project researching global innovations in education, and helping to disseminate this best practice. The organisation has offices in both Helsinki and London, where the teams are working to find 100 innovations in Finland locally and 100 innovations from around the world.