The title is a thing often said but it is not acted upon sadly. Let’s start now.
The older I get the more I resent the amount of money, time, and effort wasted on changes to education processes, systems, structures etc. Particularly so when the changes are reversed, changed, or further adapted within 2 to 3 years because they are not working, or for no other reason other than a new minister wishes to ‘make their mark’.
The world is of course changing and it is very important that the education system responds accordingly. This response however should be based on research and analysis into what works, rather than political dogma. Politicians have to be concerned about the short term, but this is a very poor perspective when considering changes to education. Changes to education can have extremely serious and long-term consequences for all who participate, from the very young to the not so young. It may perhaps be better if decisions about the education system are placed in the hands of people who understand education, and who are not under pressure to make popular decisions, or decisions which satisfy a particular pressure group.
I think we should create an Institute of Education which operates like the BBC, or Bank of England i.e. at significant arms length from government. The responsibility of the Institute would be to ensure that the different parts of the education system are designed to deliver clear objectives. These objectives should be linked to the needs of:
- individuals to develop specific skills, values, and knowledge to operate effectively in the modern world
- the current and likely needs of the economy
- society to create an environment where there is tolerance, mutual understanding and harmony etc
I do not believe it is beyond the wit of people in this country to develop a series of objectives like those above that we could all, or almost all agree to.
I believe the Institute should be overseen by people who appointed through a process involving politicians from both Houses of Parliament, who have relevant experience in education. The leaders of the Institute would be responsible to Parliament, but would be given employment contracts which ensure they cannot be dismissed unless the system fails to achieve its objectives, or they commit illegal acts. I believe Institute should have a 25 year remit which means it cannot be abolished by Parliament unless it fails to achieve its objectives, and abolition should require a 75% vote in each house of Parliament.
I think the Institute should be responsible for reviewing and where appropriate redesigning the different parts of the education system, so that it is capable of delivering the agreed objectives. Any resulting changes however should be implemented very progressively so that they have minimal disruption on the learners in the system.
The Institute should conduct five-year reviews which draw on ongoing studies and international research, to determine whether there are more effective ways of achieving our objectives, and or whether our objectives need to change.
The Institute should work in partnership with Inspectorates, local education authorities, university institutes for education, and others who bring expertise and pertinent knowledge that can inform the development of the system. It should also have responsibility for:
- licensing the training of education managers, teachers / trainers, learning assistants etc
- the content of qualifications for education managers, teachers / trainers, learning assistants etc.
It is ludicrous that the system can be managed by ministers who will say things such as ‘people can be employed in teaching without qualifications’. This clearly demonstrates how very little they understand about the complexities involved in delivering learning in the modern world. That they believe such things speaks volumes about their own narrow educational experience. An experience which they are now seeking to impose, irrespective of its actual value, on the rest of society.
We need some courageous politicians!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!