Perhaps this has now become a cliché, but it’s worth reiterating that the jobs that today’s children will be doing when they’re adults haven’t even been invented yet. Meanwhile, successive governments making decisions about the direction and priorities in education seem to obstinately bury their heads in the sand and pretend that we can keep educating children like we did in the 19th century. As we can’t predict the future in a rapidly-changing world, wouldn’t it be more helpful if we ensured children are resilient, mentally-agile and able to navigate life and all its complexities, no matter what the future holds?
There is an abundance of initiatives helping to ensure that young citizens-in-the-making go on to a future beneficial for all living things. To help identify some of the exciting avenues that are opening up, here is a table with nine facets of education, and some critical thinking prompts, that could typify what forward-thinkers have been endeavouring to bring to fruition:
I love the idea that Innovate My School is devoting a whole month to celebrating the mavericks and mayhem makers, the change agents and secret agents, the innovators and instigators and anyone not so classified who is trying to make change in education. I think I might qualify for inclusion. I was once profiled in a series entitled The Innovators. If you are ever desperate for distraction, you can use this link.
When training to be a teacher 10 years ago, I was told emphatically that I should not tell students that I’m gay because it would give them “more ammunition”. Comments like this grossly underestimate our young people who, in my experience, are more open-minded and accepting than their parents and many of my former colleagues. Comments like this force teachers and school leaders to let down some of our most vulnerable students by not being a visible role model they can identify with. I believe teachers should lead by example and that’s why, as part of LGBT History Month in February 2017, I finally came out to over 1,000 students in assembly.
We are all different; whatever you are thinking will not be the same as others. In an academic environment where teachers work as a team, not as individuals, there needs to be consistent mindfulness and consideration to others. We will all have those bad days. Your day or mood does not belong to anybody else. We are here to serve young people. Professionalism is imperative in setting high and positive standards. In this article, I will share three examples of how this can be developed.
As a headteacher, I am always looking for ways to do things differently. Innovation is vital to ensuring that we are always delivering the very highest standards of education, and giving students the tools they need to thrive and fulfil their potential. The digital world presents a whole host of new challenges for schools – challenges which require exactly this kind of different thinking and new ideas, if we are to address them successfully.
In August 2017, BBC Two aired a two-part series looking at the role of gender equality in Primary education, with much of the action taking place at Lanesend Primary School on the Isle of Wight. Here, IMS editor James Cain and programme star (and Lanesend leader of learning for Years 3 and 4) Graham Andre discuss how attitudes towards gender have changed at the school.
When we asked the Department of Health which schools were leading the way in mental health, they pointed straight to Tapton School in Sheffield. Assistant head Steve Rippin has been a local pioneer for mental health: from staff training and awareness sessions to school assemblies to engaging parents, mental health is well and truly on the curriculum at Tapton.