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Peter Tait Education

Why Intelligence is over-rated

Education Posted on Tue, August 14, 2018 14:31:07

Exams as a measure of Intelligence

With A Level results
coming out this week, just what will they tell us about the intelligence of
those children coming through our schools? The answer – not a lot. They will tell us how hard they’ve worked and
how much they have learnt, but their marks will not define intelligence. Part
of the fault is the exam itself. Criticised by teachers for excessive
prescription and content, by universities for not developing independent and
critical thinking and by industry for failing to nurture initiative, problem
solving and communication skills, students soon learn that to do well, they have to play the long game, and follow
the rules laid down by teachers the best of whom are the skilled at teaching
to the test. And if you are one of those curious souls who wants to go off
piste, be warned, you will be told there is no time for that. After sitting A Levels a former student with
offers to Cambridge and Harvard spoke out in frustration and anger against its focus
on memorisation, ticking boxes and ironing out childrens idiosyncracies.
Arguably her A levels results were one measure of her applied intelligence; her
perceptive comments about their limitations, quite another.

to the criticism of universities and employers, (and A levels should not
necessarily serve either master) there is the deleterious effect
of Ebacc on creative subjects when Artificial Intelligence is already telling
us it is the human related and creative jobs – nurses, carers coders and so on
that we will require in the future. As a means of measuring students, A Levels
leave large numbers of our intelligent students on the outer, including those
who don’t see university as their desired destination. And yet although we shouldn’t
ignore the impact of good schools and bad schools, the effect of tutors for
those who can afford them and money in general, we shouldn’t belittle the efforts of students
and their achievements, for A Levels, IB and, at a
stretch, the Cambridge PreU)are the best measures we’ve got. But let’s avoid talking intelligence which is one of those loaded words, a mere lump
of clay of a word , useless until worked. What is important is applied
intelligence. How do we recognise the intelligent child who is brilliant at a
single talent? coding? Music? Chess? Or the intelligent, but bored, frustrated
child who is completely unmotivated by a curriculum that they cannot engage
with. How do we recognise these other intelligences?

an examination system which predicates university as the final destination what
of the 14% of SEND students who we continue to measure by assessing them
through the very medium they struggle with. Or second language students? Or
students in areas where university is never an aspiration and A Levels an
irrelevancy? One hopes, as AI develops we will have different tools to measure
intelligence, that will grow rather than diminish horizions, but at present our
one size fits all model ignores a diminishing number for whom A Levels are a
distraction as much as a barrier.

are also those who are simply not ready for exams, for readiness applies as
much at eighteen as at five. Or those who are creative, but whose skills and
talents are not easily measurable and there are numerous examples of those who
failed at School and yet excelled afterwards, even in academia. Amanda Foreman
comes to mind as one who failed her A Level English and again at a crammer, had
to go abroad to do her undergraduate degree and ended up with a Doctorate from
Oxford and the Whitbread Prize for literature

course, outstanding examination results come from hard work, organisation, good
teaching and applied intelligence, but as a rule, in education, intelligence is
a word to be avoided, for its bias, its reliance on data, its intellectual
snobbery and what it does to expectations. We should celebrate examination
results, albeit being mindful of their cost in mental health and the influence
of the school experience, but not muddy the waters by telling us that they
define intelligence.

(An extended transcript of an ITV article / vlog, 16 August, 2018)

Intelligence is a word often misused – especially in schools.

Education Posted on Mon, August 13, 2018 19:02:01

Intelligence cannot be defined by exams

highly intelligent people are poor thinkers. Many people of average
intelligence are skilled thinkers. The power of a car is separate from the way
the car is driven.
” – Edward de Bono

Each year at
this time, the pressure cranks up in the race for school and university places,
as SATS and A-levels prepare to feed another raft of league tables. As these
help determine our standing on the world stage, through the Programme for
International Student Assessment (PISA), our obsession with measuring children
takes centre stage.

Confident in
our system of public examinations, that is broadly designed to separate those
more ‘intelligent’ from the less ‘intelligent’, we can feel content that we are
filtering out our most able for higher education and all the opportunities that
entails. Sounds simple enough, if it was really that easy.

The problem
lies with the word intelligence. The common definition, that of possessing ‘a
quickness of understanding and an ability to apply knowledge and skills to a
high level’ – should give us pause to ask how well equipped our current
examination system is to deliver?

‘intelligent’ students, so identified by the data emanating from various
intelligence tests (which incidentally too often reinforce teacher
expectations), are frustrated by papers that trot out the same questions in a
different garb. These allow for little or no original thought and even actively
discourage creative thinking and intelligent responses.

stated, measuring intelligence through examination is, inevitably, as limited
as the examination itself. Whilst it might prove a reasonable sieve – perhaps
even the best we can provide – it will not identify many of those we
instinctively know to be intelligent.

There are
simple reasons for this, apart from the failure of examinations to measure
divergent thinking and creativity (due in part to the need to keep marking as
objective and, therefore, as inflexible as possible to remove any room for
subjective judgment).

The problem
of measuring intelligence per se is that it is an inadequate guide to human
capability, and that many of the ways we use to measure working intelligence
are woefully inadequate. Surely those we should be seeking to identify and
nurture are students with the capacity of effective or applied intelligence,
those who can do something with what knowledge and skills they acquire?

Too many
‘intelligent’ children, often bored by conventional learning, slip through the
net. Others just think differently to the straitjacket dictated by ‘one size
fits all’ exams. For instance, the list of those luminaries with learning
difficulties who found it difficult to express themselves in conventional
examinations makes for sober reading.

This poses
the question as to just how many are badly served by traditional examinations,
despite all the assistance offered through extra time, reader-writers and the
use of technology. We only have to reflect on some of our leading public
figures who dropped out of school and have ended up in prominent positions in
public life to know that the traditional system of assessment was not capable
of measuring their particular abilities, their sense of purpose, work ethic and

There are
also many ‘intelligent’ people, as measured by our schools, who have the
historic indicators of intelligence, viz. a quickness of understanding and the
ability to perform cognitively at a higher level but are painfully deficient in
other aspects.

These people
can lack initiative, the ability to ask difficult questions (and solve them),
EQ, cooperative and communication skills and the organisational discipline
crucial to make intelligence an active, rather than a passive, trait.

Because our
perceived definition of intelligence is so closely linked in with an ability to
be measured by exams, many intelligent people are disfranchised.

Our measure
of who is intelligent depends more on giving expected and appropriate answers
rather than showing any initiative or creative spark, this is probably the
reason for the clutch of third class degrees accumulated by such luminaries as
Michael Morpurgo, W. H. Auden and Carol Vorderman.

By measuring
intelligence this way, we get some of the crop, but not all, and those that
fall by the wayside can be the most important of all. Hence while
neurosurgeons, judges and nanotechnologists emerge from the current system, one
only has to look at the vast numbers of highly successful – and intelligent –
people who failed to shine at school to see how random our measure is. As
Winston Churchill aptly demonstrated, it is possible to win the Nobel Prize for
Literature despite a mediocre school career and no tertiary qualifications.

Part of the
problem may be how we value and reward intelligence, as identified through
traditional testing. The word ’intelligent’ has a cache that other words, like
‘industrious’ do not. For instance, we richly reward those whose appointments
are based on their academic qualifications; judges, diplomats, bankers and
brokers, financiers, consultants, senior bureaucrats and the like. However,
those people who make create, who tinker and take intellectual risks, are
scantily rewarded in comparison.

We might well
ask, are our schools guilty of promoting a passive form of intelligence, asking
‘what do you know’ rather than ‘what can you do’ simply because of the
limitations of assessment? We might also pause to recognise that many
‘intelligent’ people may lack the very qualities we need from our leaders, be
it emotional intelligence, wisdom or even common sense. Ability, talent,
intelligence on their own are lumps of coal – they need setting alight to have
any value.

Of course we
need our most able to fly; we need an intelligentsia to keep challenging us and
leading us forward. And they will probably still come from the traditional
route until we widen our criteria and improve our tools for identifying talent,
although when I read that 7 per cent of Oxford’s student population are receiving
counseling along with 728 postgraduate students, I wonder how too much focus on
academia can stunt emotional and social development. As a society, we benefit most
from those with effective intelligence, who are able to channel their
intelligence and use it, rather than merely parade it in the safety of
institutions and selected professions.

We lose too
many talented and intelligent people by defining intelligence through tests
that are wholly inadequate and constricting. We need to look wider and
encourage the entrepreneur, the inquisitive, the creative and the downright
cussed in our schools to make the most of who we are and to bring out the
richness and diversity of thought and ideas in our society.

Why we need a new curriculum – a discussion with those in the know

Curriculum Posted on Sun, August 05, 2018 09:12:52


‘The test of a successful
education is not the amount of knowledge that a pupil takes away from a school,
but his appetite to know and his capacity to learn. If the school sends out
children with the desire for knowledge and some idea of how to acquire and use
it, it will have done its work. Too many leave school with the appetite killed
and the mind loaded with undigested lumps of information.’

The Future in Education, 1941 Sir Richard Livingstone

The new curriculum framework
will need to be open-ended and multi-headed to allow for either traditional
subject areas or for new subject bands – or both – as well as the increasingly
diverse ways of delivering curriculum. Testing and exams of knowledge and
skills will have their place in the future, but with new technologies
available, notably the use of AI for assessment, resourcing and teaching, the
emphasis will be on making best use of new technologies, creating ethical
approaches to the idea of community, business and politics and the environment;
and establishing new pathways at 6th form and tertiary level. There
is an argument that we need to fix school structures first (one put forward
again recently by Laura McInerney), and there is sense in that, but the two
can, and probably should, go hand in hand in a review of the whole education

is a discussion thread interspersed with commentary which covers a wide range
of topical opinions from a number of leading educationists and a variety of different
sources to try to tease out what should be considered in writing new
curriculum. The quotations and extracts are loosely aligned in a narrative that
drives the discussion.

‘The word
“curriculum” has no generally agreed meaning’
Dylan Wiliam

great place to start – looks like an open book then?

‘Curriculum is a
timetable; an aggregation of learning objectives (knowledge, skills and
understanding); programme of planned activities’

– agreed, but already worried about the
jargon creeping in. Perhaps we

should produce the draft
curriculum, then define it.

We can ask whether our
curriculum should be a ‘present’ to our children in the form of nice package of
prescribed knowledge and skills or merely the means for them to find them for

‘We can’t introduce children to the best that has been thought and said.
We can, however, introduce them to the conversation in which they can join with
others, living and dead, to decide what ‘the best’ might be. A good curriculum
serves as an invitation into this conversation.’

If we want a breakdown on how the
curriculum could be discussed, how about Steve Chalk’s four part definition:

Explicit Curriculum: Subjects that will be taught, the
identified “mission” of the school and the knowledge and skills that the school
expects successful students to acquire.

Implicit Curriculum: Lessons that arise form the culture of
the school and the behaviour, attitudes and expectations that characterise
their culture.

Null Curriculum: Topics
or perspectives that are specifically excluded from the curriculum

Extra Curriculum: School-sponsored programmes that are
intended to supplement the academic
aspect of the school experience

Mind you we are
starting with a national curriculum that is thirty years old and has been
subject to endless tinkering and is now, for all intents and purposes,
done for:

it is that, on its 30th birthday, the bloated corpse of the national curriculum
came to be found at the bottom of a river of teacher sweat, questionable
statistics, political counter-accusations, entrepreneurial snake oil and
thinktank dark money. The river burst its banks and, weighted down by
accountability, the curriculum was unable to swim to safety.’

as J L Dutaut warms to his task and is at pains to point out, what we have been
left with is

Frankenstein curriculum of parts pilfered from high-performing systems
according to Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) rankings,
stapled together with teachers’ self-purchased stationery supplies, and
electrified by political rhetoric. A zombie curriculum. A monster.’

that compelling denunciation of the National Curriculum, we can move on. The
question now is what to put in its place. What are the rules for building a new
curriculum – or is the argument that there should be no rules, no boundaries.
But start replacing it we must, even if what is produced is a loose
confederation of ideas. As ever, it is important that reform starts from the bottom up and
is not dictated from above. After all as Jill Berry points out

“The best
qualification & curriculum reforms start at the level of those most
directly affected: teachers in schools & colleges, working in tandem with
exam boards; higher education and employers, shaping a vision for a new
approach that is based on first-hand experience.”

How to achieve this? There are plenty of suggestions out there to consider,
some drawing on history

should start with a conversation, one which begins at the level of those most affected.
Look at the really successful curriculum innovations and a pattern emerges:
change begins from below, when a group coalesces around a new idea about the
curriculum. This group will involve teachers, academics, employers; it will be
open to input from students, too. Out of such a group grows a body of
practitioners who share an educational vision. This group drives forward the
innovation. The specification comes later, and later still, the qualification
and assessment matrix.
John Taylor

sounds pretty straight forward, but perhaps our education vision needs to
address the question of a whole new paradigm, not just innovations to the same
curriculum we have been using for the past thirty years. Let’s start looking at what we identify as
needing change and some of the philosophical and practical reasons for it. Possibly, Helen Clark is getting
close to what I believe should be a starting place:

‘In designing a
curriculum, start with human values + a common moral code. Stress the importance
of ethics, empathy + dangers of self-interest. If we look at what’s wrong with
our society, it’s in our failure to replace traditional codes of family /
church with anything meaningful.’

And, of course ….

“When educating the
minds of our youths, we must not forget to educate their hearts”
Dhali Lama

-so easily dismissed, but the moral vacuum and disintegration of
communities and families lies at the heart of the unease in our society. If
only we could instill the third world hunger for education into our satiated
first world schools.

Then there is the wider question of what education should
include at a time when teachers have become primary care givers out of class
and schools have taken on more and more responsibility for feeding and
providing all-day care for children. It is a problem not so apparent in other
European countries, as Professor Geraint Johnes points out:

“Here in the UK, if
any difference is to be made to school performance, it is clear that social
policy rather than educational policy needs the most attention.”

have got to measure education by ALL its outcomes, not just by grades, as
Akala points out when he states that

‘24% of all people in the UK prisons were in care as
children. 47% were expelled from schools’

statistics reflect our education system as much as do examination grades with our
schools are the frontline where such battles have to be fought and won. The
American economist, Bryan Caplan goes one step further in his book ‘The Case
against Education’, asking

. . . why we need to stop wasting public funds on
education. Despite being immensely popular–and immensely lucrative – education
is grossly overrated. . . . The primary function of education is not to enhance
students’ skill but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and
conformity-in other words, to signal the qualities of a good employee.

Surely there’s more point to it than that – help! Perhaps an English educationalist can extol the real
value of education?

“What is education
for?’ My honest answer: ‘storage for children’ with a follow up answer ‘and
while they are there we may as well give them a bunch of experiences that we
hope will be helpful for them now and in the future”

Wow! Education is a time filler! But how do we ascertain what
are the best experiences?

curriculum defines “standards and curricula as coherent if they are articulated
as a sequence of topics and performances that are logical and reflect the sequential
or hierarchical nature of the content’
Professor Bill Schmidt in A Coherent Curriculum, 2002

I think I’m heading towards a largely incoherent model

‘Curriculum matters
for without common educational objectives, there is no measure of educational
outcomes, no educational research, no pooling of resources to address provision
at the systematic level.’

– sensible enough except I wonder
if commonality is going to be one of the casualties of change? Thirty years on,
are we going to just accept the national curriculum is immutable, too big to
tangle with except in a piecemeal fashion.
Not if JL Dutaut has anything to do with it:

‘Imagine the education system giving
birth to fraternal twins. One we will name after their departed sibling:
national curriculum. The other, we will name community curriculum. We will
raise them both in a loving, caring environment, and give them both the same
opportunity to flourish according to their own distinct personalities. And we
will raise them with faith in each other, in the spirit of all “Great
Debates” (and all great marriages) – preferring consensus over a sense of
victory, legacy over immediacy, and empowerment over accountability. It’s a beautiful dream, isn’t it? JL

trouble with it – you’ve spotted it? –
is that it’s a dream. Dreams aren’t much good where we are going. Education has
to have relevance to children, but also to parents and communities and the idea
of having a community curriculum may be the adoption of common values,
aspirations and a sense of being on an educational journey together. At the
same time we are beset with difficulties staffing our schools and are off
exporting from countries with similar shortages and much greater need. But
meanwhile we neither value our teacher properly, in status, support or in
monetary terms, nor properly recognise the influence of a teacher. We should
listen to Henry Adams who wrote

teacher affects eternity
; he can never tell
where his influence stops’

Or Terry

“They looked like tinkers, but there wasn’t
one amongst them who could mend a kettle. What they did was sell invisible
things. And after they sold what they had, they still had it. They sold what
everyone needed, but didn’t often want. They sold the key to the universe to
people who didn’t know it was locked.’
Terry Patchett’s description of teachers

but Terry, we’ve been told if we can’t measure it, it has no worth, that it has
to be tangible. And how long will they allow us to peddle things they don’t
want if they don’t understand their value? But I’m with you!

‘Someday, in the
distant future, our grandchildren’s grandchildren will develop a new equivalent
of our classrooms. They will spend many hours in front of boxes with fires
glowing within. May they have the wisdom to know the difference between light
and knowledge.’

– I recognise my apple mac as a box with a fire glowing within. Will it know
the difference?

‘Our education
system is cracked and broken. We need to let some light in
’ (anon)

who said this?

‘There is a crack
in everything / that’s how the light gets in’

the muse!

‘Education is not
the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire’
Yeats (attrib)

bet Yeats wished he’d said it because it makes sense even if it has been
hi-jacked by educationalists who do the opposite

‘Give us a light,


bridge too far? Well, it’s clear that what we have isn’t working. On this
subject, two of my former students wrote the following, describing the
secondary school experience as a world removed from what they had experienced:

‘I have vivid
memories of beginning secondary school; I was shocked at how my new peers did
not seem to have the same independence as me, both inside and outside the
classroom. Not only did I ask more questions than them, but if I were to
respond to a teacher’s request or statement asking “why?” I was perceived to be
both troublesome and a disturbance to the class. This continued until the end
of my time at secondary school.’

‘I did not get on
with the British Education system. It’s focus on memorization, ticking boxes
and ironing out children’s idiosyncracies has left me deeply frustrated and
(A* student / Cambridge)

(nb this followed her primary years which she described as ‘the
brightest example of how I believe learning should be. It was the happiest
experience I had whilst in school, allowing me to develop both creatively and
academically in a pressure-free environment.’

Pretty damning, albeit from a rather small sample. But it is
clear that too much front-loading of information without space for discussion
just doesn’t work anymore than does shutting out the light of enquiry and

Worse, there are long-term dangers in all of this that we often
see in some very well-educated people whose learning has actually stunted them.

‘Your mind, my dear
Mansfield,’ he told her once, ‘is uncluttered. There’s not the usual lumber –
religious, political, social.’ They were having lunch together in a restaurant
not far from the British Museum.
‘This is the nicest possible way of telling me I’m empty-headed.’
‘I would say unspoiled.’
‘An empty vessel into which you can pour . . . .’
‘No. A rational creature, to whom I can offer . . .’
‘Well . . .’ She smiled her gratitude for a compliment gracefully delivered.
‘I’m not sure it’s true, but if it is, it’s because I’m a citizen of nowhere. I
learned very little in New Zealand; but because that’s where I began, what I’m
taught here I don’t always accept or believe. Nothing ever seems gospel, you
‘The social imprint is thin.’ His eyes were bright, eager. ‘People of my
sort – Ottoline, Brett, Huxley – we have a lot to unlearn. Too much was laid on
us too early. We grow up fettered.’
(Katherine Mansfield and
Bertrand Russell in conversation from C K Stead’s novel, ‘Mansfield.)

– My underlining. I firmly believe this, that you can learn too
much and grow up fettered and lose the ability to think for yourself. It takes
a writer of fiction to deliver the truth.

‘What content we
teach (& how we teach it) in forward-thinking schools is radically
changing, but human kindness & empathy are subjects that will stand the
test of time as we look to the curriculum of the future.’

with this, but hard to teach and harder to measure – this is why we need to
teach morals and ethics (NB Get rid of measurement as the measure of
everything) –

‘How can we condone
a system that focuses on only two types of intelligence and then tells 40% of
our kids (mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds) that after eleven years of
study that they are the ones that failed?

un-condonable! A neologism delivered with force!

“model” of individual teachers doing a million different things all
sub-optimally & with systemic inefficiency is a 19th century “cottage
industry” approach to a mass product (school education). How many hours
are wasted on unnecessary duplication of lessons, worksheets, etc.’

– the role of teachers has changed, but in the wrong way, taking
them away from children, instead of in the other direction. They need to get
back to having more time with children and less time doing bookwork and

“The top three
skills needed in 2020 are complex problem solving, critical thinking and
Carl Robert TES IBCP in
an article from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) ‘Educating the Economic
Future’ The World Economic Forum

all should be an implicit (nb not explicit) part of any curriculum

“New technologies
seem to be moving towards a smaller proportion of very well paid jobs, and a
long tail of less well-paid and precarious jobs.”

This is a societal problem, but one that has to be considered in any new

“Technology will
provide the essential tools of the trade that will support teachers, allow them
to manage logistical challenges of (inter alia) personalisation at scale &
enhance their professional status.”

– This I need to know more about. Clearly with quantum computers
mechanical learning and AI will increase the pace of change.

“There will be as
many changes between 2016 and 2022 due to exponential technology growth as
between 1900 and 2000.”
Peter Diamandis

-how education reacts to this (or chooses not to) is an issue in

We don’t live in
the age of standardization, we live in the age of customization.”
Guatam Khetrapai

we have to counter this

must we throw out the baby with the bath water – so much of what we do, in our
schools and curriculum, is there because it works. Hard work and high
(realistic) expectations should be encouraged.

328 studies over 50 years show that direct
instruction (structured guidance for teachers, teaching discrete skills before
application, daily checks on learning, regular testing for mastery) has
consistent, large positive effects on student achievement’

– Dylan Wiliam quoting Jean Stockard, Timothy W. Wood,
Cristy Coughlin et al The Effectiveness
of Direct Instruction Curricula: A Meta-Analysis of a Half Century of Research


“…in 2018, there is still a
fundamental duty to teach students content: concepts, facts and principles.
Taught by teachers trained as experts in that content, with all the status and
resources and professional development that we would demand in any other expert
Alan Finkel Australia’s Chief

we mustn’t flog students whose lives are already overfilled. In this I would
disagree with Barnaby lenon, Chairman of ISC who advised students studying for
GCSE and A Levels to

“Plan to work seven
hours a day most of the Easter break”.

why we call it a break, right? Whatever we do, don’t give students time to
think or relax! And let’s keep focus on the subjects that are going to provide
employment because that’s what education is about – so they say.

“We don’t read
and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are
members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And
medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to
sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive
John Keating (Robin Williams)
“Dead Poets Society”, 1989

but a reminder of the importance of the humanities, of music and art that
should sit at the heart of education. Yet beware the liberal progressive who
has wrought such damage and still holds sway over large tracts of the UK
education industry:

“The saddest thing about the progressive movement is that it
hurts the very people it wants to help,”
Katharine Birbalsingh

we should not be afraid of change – it just needs to be measured and pertinent.
For we must always look forward:

We’re worried that many
young learners are being educated for the past instead of the future. We must
not risk them being failed by obsolete education systems, leaving them
dependent and poor
Dr Mmantsetsa Marope, director of
UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education

One of the prompts from above – so we need to take it seriously!

‘Timely and
continuous learning will determine who wins and who loses from the 21century’s
industrial revolution.’
Dr Mmantsetsa Marope

-Don’t say we weren’t warned!

‘We must develop
people who know how to learn. That’s the most important competency, underpinning
a person’s ability and agility to adapt to fast changing contexts of the 21st century.’
Mmantsetsa Marope, director of UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education

-Learning is no longer the preserve of schools and universities.
It has to become a life-long habit and we have to teach that habit

‘Change will be
mainly fuelled by human innovation and ingenuity.’
Dr Mmantsetsa
Marope, director of UNESCO’s International Bureau of Education

– is our system allowing for the identification and nurturing of
innovation and ingenuity? Or does this happen outside of / despite the

‘Start designing
your own education you can courses from the best universities in the world for
free. Start educating yourself. Find your tribe. Deep immersion. Connect with
people like us.’
Guatam Khetrapai

This is now; blended education is already making inroads into traditional
schooling and changing the role and function of teachers.

‘It is only when you
have determined your objectives (curriculum) that one can start to establish
what is the most effective means of achieving them (pedagogy).’
Crispin Weston

– Sensible – we do need to know were we want to end up and
prepare for a journey not some destination (to counter that A Levels, degree,
now we’ve arrived! But where are we and why can’t we even light a fire?)

Maybe part of our formal education should be training
in empathy. Imagine how different the world would be if, in fact, that were
reading writing, arithmetic, empathy.’
Neil deGrasse Tyson

– I think empathy, attitude, purpose, values should underpin any
new curriculum, but should be implicit in good teaching, not bespoke

‘We need a
different kind of education, one that combines deep thinking (head); growth,
character and dialogue (heart); and an ability to solve problems, generate
ideas and engage in the world (hand). School should be, above all else, a place
of learning in all its expansive complexity: learning how to think, learning
how to live, learning how to create.’
Peter Hyman School21 RSA

and this was some years ago and still resonates. As a rule we should not
jettison anything until we are sure we can improve on it and must hold on to
aspects of ‘traditional’ teaching, especially process and procedure that are
still relevant and work. For all the talk of new schools there are some who

all my meetings with people actually hiring graduates, no-one has ever said to
me: “gosh, we don’t have enough people who know how to collaborate”.

what they say to me is: we don’t have enough specialists in software
engineering. We can’t find graduates who are fluent in maths. We have meetings
where three quarters of the people in the room can’t critique a set of numbers
without pulling out a calculator and slowing us down.”

– Alan Finkel Australia’s
Chief Scientist

all the significant issues facing us all, the subject of sustainability of
resources, species, habitats, is at the front of the queue for inclusion in a
new curriculum. From the start of
informal learning, we need to underpin our curriculum in line with Rockstrom’s Planetary
boundaries (and Kate Raworth’s doughnut of social and planetary boundaries) the
world having having moved on from Rostow’s Stages
of Economic Growth model used to
describe and measure the stages of economic growth. No longer should we teach subjects
like Economics and Geography in isolation without consideration of their global
impact. So far, we are not doing very well:

education has failed because it is not keeping pace with environmental
Charles Saylan, Marine Conservationist

– an awareness of environmental and conservation is crucial from
a very young age and must be central to any curriculum.

The question of ethics pervades every part of our life from when
venture capitalists get going finding new projects to maximise profits for
shareholders to politicians abusing expenses. After all,

‘Selling our waste to Thailand and arms to the Middle east,
investing as a country in dodgy political and environmental areas and promoting
a programme of importing doctors, teachers and nurses, often from 3rd
world countries that can ill-afford to lose them, is just not right.’

The most important messages we need to embed in the young is an
understanding of what is ethical behaviour, of the concept of cause and
consequence, of being part of a global community, of looking outwards

kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world
contracts as our problems & preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on
others, our world expands.’

Dr Michelle Borba

-completely agree. Children need encouragement, to be taught, to
think out of themselves, less narcissistic and self-absorbed and develop the idea
of community, charity etc. On that, I
agree with Theodore Dalrymple’s distinction between self-esteem which can lead
to narcissism and self-respect.

The question of who owns your education is key. It certainly
works better when the child is the primary stakeholder:

‘Something really
great about my upbringing was that my parents were very much of the attitude
that you can learn anything better than anyone can teach it to you. In other
words, any curriculum that you design is going to be ten times better than what
someone will design for you. You don’t have to do that rote, prescriptive

Westover, who never attended school until 17 years old now with a PhD from

– I love the quote that you can learn anything better on your
own than anyone can teach it to you (whether that is always true . . . .) It is
at the heart of learning, the love of learning, the desire to learn.

Of course in changing the paradigm of education we need to look
at how the workings of the adolescent brain and the changes that are happening
and the way techology is changing social interaction

“Today’s students are more social and like to
learn in a more unstructured way’

Simon Noakes

At the same time we need to
look at assessment critically and see how it impedes, as well as drives,

‘Schools could have
more opportunity to focus on useful assessment if there were fewer formal
assessment points.
’ Daisy Christodoulou

Hear, hear to that, although there will still be too many for most. Of
course, Artificial Intelligence might just deal to us all. Jess Staufenberg
tells us that

‘AI will soon beat pupils
taught knowledge-based curriculum’

and Ruth Luckin, Professor of Learner-Centred
Design at UCL warns proponents of a
knowledge rich curriculum, (and there are plenty) that

‘Pupils will be unable to
compete with advanced artificial intelligence systems if they are taught a
knowledge-based curriculum.’

While summing up the fuss about examinations
with the categorical statement that

‘AI will be the death of

After all, despite being told that
AI will never capture the child as well as our obsession with test data, we are
already past that point:

A wide range of AI-driven
teaching technologies are already in schools. These include various ‘autonomous interactive robots’ developed
across East Asia. Elsewhere, millions of students now interact with
‘pedagogical agents’ – software designed to provide bespoke advice, support and
guidance about an individual’s learning. Also popular are ‘recommender’
platforms, intelligent tutoring systems and other AI-driven adaptive tutoring –
all designed to provide students with personalised planning, tracking, feedback
and ‘nudges’. Capturing over one million data-points per user, vendors of the
Knewton ‘adaptive learning system’ can claim to
know more about any student’s learning than their ‘real-life’ teacher ever

And a warning from Professor Neil Selwyn of Monash
University that

the obvious sense in preparing for an increasingly automated future, education
continues to be one of the least future-focussed
sectors there is

we need to take apart everything we do and ask ‘why’ and accept that with new
and more intrusive algorithms, assessment and measurement will change. In turn,
education – schools – will need to become more flexible and work out ways to
engage students rather than turning education into an endurance test with no worthwhile

“The problem with a one size fits all school model from a
very early age it effectively tells people they are worthless if they cannot
conform or do things in a very specific way.”


“Nobody doesn’t want
to learn. They just don’t necessarily want to learn what you want to teach.”
Will Shone

I can hear some teachers muttering, but an admirable sentiment. So where have
we got to so far. What little nutmeg of inspiration, what polished crystal of
enlightenment can sum up just what a new paradigm might represent and what its
primary goal might be

‘Helping other
people or a sense of purpose – those are the only things I have personally
found that can give me any kind of sustenance’
Russell Brand to John Bishop

yes, it takes Russell Brand to get to the very point of existence

Unconditional Offers

Education Posted on Thu, July 26, 2018 11:31:05

Of Course it’s the Money, Stupid!

The increase
in the number of unconditional places being awarded at universities from 2985
in 2013 to 67,195, an increase of more than 2100% threatens, in the words of Sam
Gyimah, the universities minister to ‘undermine
the credibility of higher education’
. While he is right to feel concerned, perhaps
he might also take time to reflect on the causes of such an implosion: the
fault, after all, doesn’t lie just at the
doors of the universities, but is symptomatic of a system that has long
predicated university as the culmination of an school system based on a
competitive business model governed by supply and demand.

was always thus, no doubt, but in recent years, with the decentralisation of
schools and funding cuts, all education institutions have been compelled to exercise
much tighter control over the supply of money and seeing their business as,
first and foremost, results driven.

schools, historic charities but more often these days hard–nosed, business
operations with boards packed with
influential alumni and successful businessmen who have been running their
schools with this mind-set for ages, riding out the storms, working on
efficiencies and replacing a slightly flagging Old Boy network with facilities
superior to any competitor. Their very existence depends on getting students
through the door in an increasingly hostile climate. But state education was never a business, depending on academic
results alone. Trying to replicate the independent sector, with the
growth of free schools and academies, but without the wherewithal and freedom
to do so effectively does not work, especially when real-term funding is under
constant pressure. Yet the measures applied are much the same: academic success,
schools are told, depends upon results and consequent roll growth. Between 2000
and 2010, the education budget doubled without producing a commensurate
improvement in results. Since that time, we have entered a time, epitomised by
league tables that has embraced results as the be-all and end-all without
sufficient focus on what the system provided for those not suited, by aptitude,
ability or inclination, by such an economic
model. Instead, the drive for results has led to a burgeoning education
industry that has responded to the pressure placed on staff and schools to get
the best results for students, whether the subjects chosen, or the pressure
applied, is in the best interests of the children or not. The results have
been growing incidences of cheating and
malpractice and examination boards, all of which are profit driven (not just
Edexel which is owned by the publishers, Pearsons), persuading schools to shop
with them; or by any of a growing number of panacea that schools are tempted to
buy into. As a result, the number of
students being tutored has skyrocketed, as have exclusions, while the incidence
of stress and depression in the young has also continued to increase under the
threat of league tables which continue to persuade schools to make decisions
that are at best expedient, yet more often than not working against the best
interests of children. Academic performance and the accumulation of data from
Key Stage One onwards is directed unwaveringly at A Levels and university
entrance. It may have made schools lean and more business like, but at a huge

part of education is now full of bindweed, of contrary advice, of
administrative overload. Teachers and parents are assailed by an educational
publishing industry (‘here’s ten must-read books for your summer holidays’) or
examination boards, driven by profit and loss; whether it is heads, ignoring
experienced and well-qualified teachers because they add too much to their
staffing costs or worse, driving out older teachers on trumped up capability
charges, the purpose is the same, to drive down costs, even if the salaries of
some ‘super heads’ makes a mockery of
such intentions. Or else it is the effects of a burgeoning advisory and
conference industry, set up to improve staff by offering courses in
professional development, but run by independent providers and consultancies,
each squeezing their piece out of the education grant.

is fine, but not when it is driven by the need to produce grades required for university
admission rather than a wider, more balanced curriculum; nor when it is to do
with universities simply trying to stay afloat and maximise their income; nor,
even more pointedly, when it compels schools to act against the best interests
of children. It is sad when it is the creative subjects that are squeezed out
by the demands of an avaricious exam system that needs data to graze on.

universities are responding in their own way to an education system that has
been made excessively competitive, excessively market-driven, with all the good
and bad that that involves by looking after their own interests rather than
those of the sector – or the students; perhaps that is the real issue that needs

Key article on Curriculum

Curriculum Posted on Wed, July 04, 2018 18:06:15

Creating a New
Curriculum – Answers on a Postcard

‘All major systems in
the world are experiencing disequilibrium. The challenge of the times we live
in is being felt everywhere; but education seems to be faring worse than most,
and is responding very slowly to the challenges.’
Dr Lesley Murrihy

‘The emergence of the
digital age, the growth of artificial intelligence, and the huge social
disruption that these entail have had fundamental effects both on our
relationship with knowledge and on the world of work. Yet school-based
education has hardly acknowledged this disruptive change.’

Last October, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, wrote a
paper which discussed findings from recent research on the curriculum. In it,
she provided her own definition viz ‘at the very heart of education sits the
vast accumulated wealth of human knowledge and what we choose to impart to the
next generation: the curriculum.’ Later, she alluded to a number of related
issues – vocational education; teaching to the test; the narrowing of the
curriculum, especially in Key Stage 3; and the importance of the Ebacc before
ending with the observation that ‘expertise in and focus on the curriculum had

The response was not slow in coming and debate has waxed ever
since. Initially, her attack on the culture of teaching to the test and
encouraging schools to show initiative by interpreting the curriculum was
welcomed, but there were soon rumbles. It was noted, for instance, that her
definition of the curriculum was not consistent with that given by her deputy,
Sean Harford last year with its three stages of intent, implementation and
impact / achievement. Crispin

Weston joined the debate with a paper entitled ‘Why Curriculum
Matters’ (sub-titled a response to Tim Oates, Dylan William and Daisy
Christodoulou) in which he criticised their views of the curriculum while
offering his own, a process being undertaken in three articles under the
heading of ‘Untangling the Curriculum.’ Apart from wrestling with the
definition, Weston was sceptical of the call for teachers to be more involved
in helping shape the curriculum stating ‘If the experts cannot sort out what
curriculum means, there is not a cat-in-hell’s chance that thousands of
isolated schools will be able to succeed.’

All of which is a long-winded way of suggesting that it may be
time to introduce some fresh thinking on the curriculum without the risk of
being drawn into debates over data and definition in some naval-gazing twitter
feed. Perhaps it is time to approach the curriculum anew, even if it involves
dismantling and rebuilding the education paradigm we are comfortable with. We
have waited long enough for experts to sort out a workable model moving
forward, but too much research and data has been focused on improving the
current paradigm, rather than looking at ways of reinventing it in a form that
may better meet the needs of children here and now. Dr Lesley Murrihy, in
advocating such a change, recently wrote ‘It is time for those of us in
education to stop simply commenting and to start creating proposals, to test
models and to look to hybrid solutions that take account of the complex nature
of the 21st century and of education and create positive sum outcomes’ asking
the question ‘If we, ourselves, cannot demonstrate this very same creativity by
creating solutions, how can we model this for our students?

How indeed? When we follow the education debate on social media,
it is hard to escape the view that a great deal of energy is being wasted along
the binary spectrum of skills vs. knowledge, growth mindset vs. fixed mindset,
STEM subjects vs. the arts or numerous similar debates, or by mining down into
cognitive bias, the place of technology in assessment, parenting and so on,
each thesis invariably accompanied by a new book for the exhausted teacher to read
at their leisure. Perhaps, just perhaps, it is time to stop dealing in the
finer points of interpretation, with nuances of meaning, shifting stances and
arguments about what is research and what is opinion sidestep the jargon and
hyperbole with such clichés as ‘smashing glass ceilings’ or ‘levelled playing
fields’ inhabited by helicopter parents and the snowflake generation. Perhaps
it is time for a more imaginative vision.

Does much of the current education debate we find in social media
help? In filling in the detail, yes, but in the larger sense, not so much. I am
not alone in hearing the fingernails on the chalkboards as teachers scream for
something more than endless analysis and proselytising? Something that
recognises why our curriculum is not working for too many of our children, why
its obsession with data and grades is distorting our teaching and why the
numbers of teachers leaving the profession keep increasing for reasons that
seem obvious, but for elucidation include ever-expanding workloads; more
bureaucracy; more pressure for results and assessment targets; greater social
and pastoral roles; the failure of successive governments to offer sufficient
separation between education and the
state; and the lack of support and status accorded to the profession.

So what am I suggesting? Not another curriculum review, or more
think tanks and debate over definition and degree, but a return to the
essential question, ‘what is the best education we can give our children’. It
should not be an exercise in semantics where we get hung up on debating what is
‘best’ (or ideal), in the first instance, but it should challenge us to risk
suspending, even abandoning our views on whether our curriculum works or not.
It may be that we need to establish some fresh foundations, thereby embedding a
different attitude towards education, towards the environment, towards
community, perhaps a whole new ethical framework or paradigm, that identifies
the impediments to change (which includes funding, inevitably, as well as vested
interests of the sector, inertia and uncertainty brought about by the advances
in nanotechology, brain research and technology; social stratification (as
pernicious as ever); and political will). We need to address the inequality of
opportunity, the shortcomings in teacher training and the adversarial nature
and irrelevance of education to too many children. What is needed is not merely
a bank of ideas to dip in and out of, but the answer to the question, ‘what
values, knowledge, understanding, and skills do we want for our children? ‘
Putting our prejudices about selection and what constitues a good education to
one side and uncoupling the carriages of curriculum and assessment may help us
see just what works and what doesn’t.

At the risk of sounding philodoxical, in looking for answers to
some very elemental questions, it is always better to put something down for
others to flay. There are too many raised voices for us to do otherwise. We
should rightly be concerned about the decline in the influence of the family
and church and commensurate lack of values and ethics exhibited by many of our
‘well-educated’ leaders (it is shameful they can still talk about ‘good schools
and bad schools’ without blushing). We should recognise the needs of the
increasing number of children for whom school is a holding bay because it isn’t
giving them the courses, the skills and knowledge or the future they need.
Citizenship, values, attitudes, environmental awareness – what we would broadly
see as constituting ethical behaviour should be an implicit part of learning
from the first day of school, so that they come to the more formal part of
learning better prepared. Instead of the push for longer schools days, we could
look at shorter and more targeted teaching time (I often wonder at those who
advocate longer school days when so little classroom time we have is used
effectively). We need discipline in our classrooms and schools, preferably
greater self-discipline and higher expectations, but conversely less pressure
and fewer parents and adults over-complicating their world by too much
information. Children don’t eschew hard work, but they tend to avoid it when
they see it has little relevance to their lives or is done at the behest of the
teacher and school rather than in their evident best-interests.

We all accept technology will play an ever greater part in
teaching and assessment, and that all courses will soon be available to
students on-line and that with more blended education, teaching may be shared
between teachers and facilitators or specialist tutors. We

should examine what we mean by a knowledge rich curriculum in
subjects such as History where the selection of what history we choose to teach
is hugely significant. We should even question the value in dividing learning
into subjects at all levels of schooling. We should push for the end of
academic selection (nothing is more irritating than those who equate selection
with academic rigour) and provide for more opportunities for SEND children by
recognising and meeting their specific needs. We should recognise such
attributes as a sense of purpose, manners, good communication skills and a good
work ethic as trumping the data that sometimes sits on children like a
straightjacket. And we should focus on the cause of issues such as the current
mental health epidemic and address them at their roots rather than just
offering aftercare.

Six years ago, Laura McInerney suggested a rolling curriculum
review, an idea which might be worth revisiting, but before we even get that far
we need to ensure we have in place a new philosophy of education that can sweep
children up and inspire them, that will help them see education as useful and
relevant and help make better citizens. We have dumped so much on our children
– stress, ambition, guilt, pressure. Now, we need to change the goals which
centre around money, jobs and individual achievement to recognise the diversity
of human types, qualities and abilities and extol the value of living well in a
new world in which ‘every person matters.’

Why Fundamental Change is Needed

General Posted on Sun, June 24, 2018 09:43:01

“Indeed, when did we just roll over and accept that there is nothing to be done about the way things are? Why do we fret over a Progress 8 score that will always put certain demographics to the back of the table? Why is it now commonplace for some schools to refuse to admit children with SEND (especially the more difficult types) because of the cost implications and the impact on outcomes? Why have some schools steadfastly refused to consider that flexible working may be one solution for the recruitment and retention crisis, or that going part-time is something you can do as an effective leader?

There is a hegemonic dialogue that too many have bought into. It suggests that school leadership is more about winning battles rather than considering what the battle is about.”

Important questions asked by Keziah Featherstone and more reason for a new paradigm of education, to looking anew rather than playing toy soldiers.

What of the Children?

General Posted on Sat, June 23, 2018 22:28:51

Pawns in a Game

“If I live in an area where there is gang warfare among my peers,
why would I care about Pythagoras’s theorem?”

It is difficult
not to feel angry at what is happening in education. Whether it is in the paucity of Government
funding, falling morale and teacher shortages, especially felt in comprehensive
schools, the pledge to increase places in grammar schools and the inequity of
provision in all sectors; or whether it is in the excessive amount of testing,
the lack of appropriate pathways for school leavers, the lack of resources; the overload of bureaucracy
and data or all the endless proselytising by experts, treading an endless cycle
of conferences promoting their books and research, I often wonder where are
the children in all of this?

I wonder how stark
the mental health figures have to be to make government sit up and take notice.
How many more suicides does it take for someone other than those offering
palliative care to acknowledge that its obsession with testing may be a contributing factor and that while
sitting 20 – 30 examinations that have been upgraded in difficulty over a month
may be fine for one section of the population, it is not so for others.
Moreover, to argue, as one Minister did recently that exams were as stressful
‘back then’ is to completely miss the point, which is that we have made exams
toxic by the language we now use the importance we have given them for schools
and teachers whose drip-down stress burns our children. The fact that 35
children are being excluded from school each day and others are being turned
away because they will damage schools’ results at the end of GCSE or before is
abhorrent or that schools spend time seeking out the easiest examination boards
or are caught inappropriately helping their charges should tell us something
about the pressure they are under. The
business model that extols the value of Social Darwinism, that puts a price on
success, that makes every educational institution scramble for children, for
money using whatever inducement in their power (including the awarding of 1st
class degrees) is not one serving children.

This is not the
fault of teachers – far from it. They are the ones having to
carry the load for family breakdowns, a dysfunctional care system, failed
government initiatives, an examination system run by private providers and held
to account by league tables and examination boards and universities vying with
each other for custom. Rather, the fault
lies elsewhere, with politicians and educationalists who have forgotten to
continually ask themselves ‘what is the best education we can give our

The fall-out of
our focus on examination results is everywhere. Even the fact that 40% of our
doctors only last in practice for more than five years tells us many things,
one of which is that our measure of entry may be wrong. In our obsession to
cream the top we are missing so much other students that would (a) be able to
handle the academic requirements and (b) have a better range of skills,
(listening, empathy, observational, recording) that would make them better
doctors without compromising their professional standard skills. Our first past
the post system has a lot to answer for.

When we look at
the fierce competition in London for school places, we instinctively know that
this has little to do with what is the best education for our children and more
to do with how do we filter these children so only the most able get through to
the top performing schools.. It is no wonder that the tutor industry is
thriving on the back of selective schools trying to get the students through
the door of the most selective schools and hypocritical indeed for the same
schools to criticise parents for seeking extra help. Tutors are responding to a
demand when they would rather be helping students in different ways. When one looks at the impact of selection, there
is a lot to be said for having a lottery for school places.

And where are the
children in all this? Where indeed! Mere
pawns in a game, I fear.

Testing and Examinations

Curriculum Posted on Tue, June 19, 2018 12:22:50

When did Exams Become so Toxic?

Exam season was never meant to be easy, but reading
social media and talking to teachers and students, it feels like the pressures
have recently got a whole lot worse. The new GCSEs have increased the pressure on
teachers and students alike as has summative assessment for A Levels. In
primary schools, likewise, SATS have been criticised for placing undue pressure
on younger children, especially in the requirement to learn grammatical terms (do
they really need to know about relative pronouns relative clauses cohesion,
ambiguity, the active and passive voice, ellipsis etc when an unacceptable
number are still struggling to read and write?)

While the various threshold tests and assessments provide for
those students who have both the ability
and specific instruction on how to pass exams, they offer little to those
children who struggle to get their information / thoughts onto the page, those
whose abilities are not measured in exams or who are simply not ready for this
step. For them, SATS, GCSEs and A Levels
must feel like mountains and hardly relevant to their worlds.

Making education
relevant to all is crucial to the success of our education system: after all, the
outcomes of schools are recorded in knife crime, in mental health statistics as
much as in grades. Schools are not just for able, motivated and well-supported
children, but also for the deprived, the angry and the abandoned, those
children struggling for acceptance because of poverty, race, language or
learning and behavioural difficulties.

Yet when we look
at what is happening to our youth, most graphically in mental health figures,
it is not the just the raised bar that is causing so much angst, but the ways
in which tests are presented. For a long time now, our language when talking education
and examinations has been little short of scare-mongering One response has been
to survey schools to find the best ways of allaying stress (knitting being a
popular suggestion) which seems to rather miss the point.

What is not
considered often enough from the vantage of middle-age is how the parameters
have changed, how tuition fees and a shortage of jobs, extra competition for
university places and the fear of debt
have ratcheted up the pressure – and
once can understand why they have affected students and contributed to such
tragedies as youth suicide. In talking
of a snowflake generation, (and I believe they are more focused and
hard-working than most of the generations who have gone before), too many
adults conveniently forget that the pressures are quite unlike those of thirty
years ago

Inevitably, while
we can tell children that doing their best is all you can ask for, that these
tests will mean little in the run of things, each is given disproportionate
importance because of the pressure placed on schools and teachers, inevitably drip-fed
to students. League tables have been used by governments to measure
progress and to hold schools accountable, but what they have done to students
is often ignored, as the best interests of children are subsumed by those of
the State. The increase in cheating, higher incidence of depression and mental
illness in young children are indirect consequences of league tables and their
toxic influence continues to have a profound effect on the mental health of
students and teachers.

It is not hard
work that students fear, but the great beyond, the shame and despair of failing
and seeing doors closing, the pigeon-holing, often before childhood is over.
That sort of rhetoric has no place in today’s world

New Pathways must reflect new Opportunities and

There is a
compelling argument that exams are not about so much about education, but about
selection and economic convenience. After all, exams only test part of student’s abilities and cannot be fully cognizant
of attitudes, intuition, intelligence,
work ethic and purpose, traits that determine success. University is not for everyone, and the expectations
of parents and schools regarding university as their end goal needs to be

The government’s
response has been to promote technical education to sit alongside A Levels as
happens in many European countries. Sadly,
it is just another instance of government arriving too late to the party.
While that would have been welcomed some
years ago, what is needed are not academic and vocational strands, but
university and non-university strands, both ‘academic’, both signalling
different pathways, both with similar status and both having their own strands,
based on specific career options . BTecs
have been gaining favour, even at academic schools, but times are changing and
these need to be promoted and enhanced for what they are: pathways for
different aptitudes, interests, careers, every bit as academic and demanding, and not the default position. The idea of
technical qualifications being essentially mechanical is long past as is the
idea of education being fixed in time. Instead of more students being steered
into university courses because that is what their school’s DNA provides, often
ending up with huge debts, useless degrees and mental health issues, we need a
new mind-set that recognises the new world of work and an acknowledgement that
we do not yet have the tools to properly measure children and assuming exams on
their own are enough, is woefully inadequate.

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