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The Unknown

The holidays this year have felt different. They are always disrupted by readying classrooms, exam results and anticipation of new starts in September but this year they have become merged with educational politics and national scrutiny.
This has led to much discussion and debate at a time when there is usually relaxation and replenishment.

Many teachers are STILL working; trying desperately to find solutions to the problems that face a system unprepared for a reformation in order to function fully during a pandemic.
The versatility, adaptability and innovation of the educational professionals in this country has meant that the impact of lockdown has been considerably softened and buffered but many are finally accepting that this means a fundamental change in the way education looks.
I see potential. Huge potential.
I see potential for

  • Personalised learning journeys
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Rejuvenated curriculum
  • Integrated & modernised technology (with appropriate funding!!)
  • A release from the stranglehold of exam boards
  • A differentiated approach to assessment that allows for personal strengths to be utilised rather than penalising learners in the form of endless summative exams.

I see a potential decluttering of an archaic curriculum that allows for the growth of important learning that has been proved necessary by this crisis:

  • Life skills
  • Empathy
  • Social responsibility

This is the perfect opportunity to step back from the Govian Victorianism of Socio-economically prejudiced schooling and instead empower EVERY young person to become what they are passionate about and driven to embody.
No more the push to create worker drones and endless fads that saturate job markets with meaningless qualifications that unsettle and unbalance our culture.
Instead a diverse and vibrant generation who have CHOICE.
I see the potential for a system where teachers are trusted, respected, well informed and well looked after.
Where the pressure comes not from external league tables or data crunches but instead from a sense of pride in doing well. A sense of accomplishment that strips away the suspicions and mistrust felt by so many disenfranchised ex-learners. An enabling, equality driven education that dissolves the distanced ivory towers of academic elitism and allows everyone to benefit from the panacea that is a nourishing, rich education.
Maybe I imagine an educational Utopia. Perhaps my predictions of people learning with joy and through choice are merely pipe dreams.
There is still potential though. Tantalising, ready for the grasping, potential.
It is time to embrace the unknown, step forward as well tell our learners to do and allow our beliefs of right, wrong, strategy and systems to cease for a while whilst we explore possibilities, expand our horizons and consider that there may be new ways to do this that weren’t open to us before but now potentially are.
How prepared are you to grow and allow yourself to learn?”

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The author

Cate has been a teacher for 20 years. She has worked internationally and across all key stages in the UK. Her secondary specialism is Performing Arts with a keen interest in PSHE/RSE. Cate is recently married with two cats who keep her busy and an allotment that requires more time than she can give it!

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