The headline for John Harris’s wonderful article (‘Open all schools!’ ‘Close all schools!’ What England really needs is creative thinking, 3 January) is barely deceptive. There have been loads of recent concepts – for the previous 60 years no less than. The issue is that they virtually inevitably conflict with the stale concepts of presidency. Michael Gove, Dominic Cummings and Gavin Williamson are simply three of the numerous neoliberals who’ve chosen to make schooling their battleground in a category warfare.
To be able to cement the place of personal faculties and Oxbridge, that are important components of the service trade for the ruling elite, it has been essential to trash progressive serious about classroom observe and starve state faculties and additional schooling of sources, and to deprave the aim of universities. By sustaining a system of exams that favours mere memorisation and the flexibility to regurgitate extra suavely than others alongside any present bell curve, they’ve squeezed the creativity, spontaneity and pleasure from educating and studying.
Three examples illustrate the state to which schooling has been decreased. First, any try to maneuver to on-line studying to maintain workers and college students protected is rather more troublesome for the reason that coalition closed down the organisations (for instance, the British Instructional Communications and Know-how Company and the Studying and Abilities Improvement Company) that gave workers and fogeys recommendation and sources for the progressive use of expertise.
Second, the sensible invention by the previous Additional Training Unit of a credit score framework (to measure what college students know, perceive and may do) to switch the dreary system exemplified by A-levels has by no means been adopted comprehensively because it wanted to be for each scholar in any setting on no matter course.
And at last, the hopes of 16-plus working-class college students have been dashed by the coalition’s abolition of the schooling upkeep allowance, a lifeline for thus many. This authorities won’t ever give us the “one thing new” that Harris craves. Let’s hope that folks, academics and their unions can hold the wealth of progressive concepts alive.
• Final yr, I labored with headteachers throughout England and was shocked by how the federal government contributed to the challenges they confronted through the pandemic. I used to be additionally moved by their compassion and dedication – and that of their workers – to kids and younger individuals. Two issues are wanted urgently. First, the federal government should let go of its grip on state faculties. Let these headteachers, as their friends within the personal sector, make the choices wanted on the bottom, in dialogue with their native communities. Second, let’s concentrate on “faculty belonging”. Analysis reveals that pupils who’ve a way of belonging are happier, extra assured and carry out higher academically. What a welcome reward for our younger individuals.
Professor of city schooling, UCL Institute of Training
• Given the stop-go education that has develop into the norm through the ongoing Covid disaster, we urge the federal government to instantly introduce a “house studying upkeep allowance” for every baby who has a proper to free faculty meals. The HLMA ought to cowl the price of home-learning sources resembling books, broadband, laptops and a well-resourced advisory service for folks. The HLMA would handle home-schooling inequality by supporting the educational of many deprived households and kids.