Wishing you all a restful and restorative half term break. See you again on 26 February.
Over recent years, there has been a significant change in the aspirations of young children. You only have to talk to a class of young pupils to see just how much the focus has shifted from wanting to ‘do’ something in life to wanting to ‘be’ someone. Such responses may be dismissed as symptomatic of the times we live in and society’s obsession with fame and money, but the implicit lack of purpose and ambition to ‘do’ rather than to ‘be’ prevalent among our children should concern us all. Read more
‘Homework in primary school has an effect of around zero’, says Professor John Hattie. But what does really work in education, schools and classrooms around the world? Every week Sarah Montague interviews the people whose ideas are challenging the future of education. In August John Hattie, Professor of Education at the University of Melbourne, was her guest at BBC Radio 4. Read more or listen to the full broadcast
When head teacher Tina Wilkinson posted on Twitter ‘Evolution is not a fact. That’s why it’s called a theory!’ the usual Twitter-hate rained down on her, because evolution is now a science topic in the primary national curriculum and because she is head of a primary school. She was only stating an opinion, but that, of course, is part of the problem. Read more
It is ‘astonishing’ that senior ministers thinks councils are not suitable to run schools yet police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are, the largest teachers’ union has said in response to Theresa May’s controversial speech last week to think tank Policy Exchange. May said she would like to see the PCC role expanded by allowing them to set up ‘alternative provision’ free schools to support troubled children. Read more
The paralysis of fear can corrupt every arena: not daring a shot at goal, to challenge the crowd or stretch towards some new skill. And yet ‘courage’ is something that we never try and teach, to ourselves or to students in schools. Partly, this is because we find a dozen clever arguments to rationalise our retreat: we were being sensible, sociable, patient. So it is easy to pretend we don’t have a problem with courage. And it is easier to avoid acknowledging that such a skill needs to be taught. Read more
‘Character education’ are the new buzz words in all the trendy education circles at the moment. Nicky Morgan is very keen on ‘perseverance’, ‘resilience’ and ‘grit’ and, to encourage these traits, has launched a character education award to enable pupils to leave school more ‘fully rounded’ and ‘better equipped to meet the challenges of employment and future life’. But is this just a smokescreen to obscure the very worrying state of our nation’s children’s mental health. Read more