Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham

The death of exams, the end of the lecture hall, will Oxford University become redundant and will universities still exist in the future?

The massive impact of AI in education is the subject of a compelling new book by University of Buckingham Vice-Chancellor Anthony Seldon, and co-authored by University of Buckingham student Oladimeji Abidoye:

The Fourth Rev BookThe Fourth Education Revolution takes a tantalising look into the school of the future, what AI will mean for HE as well as how it will impact on our lives in general.

The book envisages “smart schools” where students have a plan each day and set their own work after discussing with teachers what they’ll do that day. They work with a virtual teacher and have an appraisal of progress to date which is continuously updated.

The teacher is more of a personal tutor helping with problems, pastoral care and wider personal, social, cultural, sporting and character development and can offer more help with issues than the traditional model. 

The student will learn at their own pace so children as young as 11 could be studying maths at University level. Lessons, with classes as small as 10, will be delivered by the best teachers and the most knowledgeable subject specialists in the world.

One advantage of a virtual teacher is that they will be available in the evenings, weekends and over the school/University holidays.

The personalised face on the screen or hologram will even age along with the student themselves. Should boredom with the digital AI teacher become a problem, a new teacher can come into the student’s life.

The school of the future will not have class-rooms – it will be open plan with flexible seating so students can work alone or together debating or working on projects.

There will be green areas inside and out and they will be powered and watered by locally sustainable supplies and some of their food will be grown by students. They will have animals which students will help look after. According to the book, published by the University of Buckingham Press, continuous assessment would sound the death-knell for exams.

The all-conquering cumulative exam is going to die and we should celebrate its death…The monolithic exam is drawing to a spluttering end.

The administrative burden which has handicapped teachers for hundreds of years will be taken off their shoulders, making their task far more rewarding.

Teaching will also benefit from science making progress in understanding how people learn in order to produce conditions that optimise learning. Software would allow, for example, the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf to be translated into a 3D reality, allowing students to wander around the setting of the poem and interact with the characters.

It’s not just the positives that are explored. One expert warns of one possible danger – children could become “fat, screen addicts” and another expert asks whether the advent of simultaneous translation will lead to language teaching becoming obsolete.

Another theme is the need for comprehensive retraining of teachers.

What many teachers most enjoy is helping their students learn a subject and develop as human beings. But if machines are performing both roles, then what is there left for the teacher?

Professional changes to teacher training and a completely new mind-set and approach to the job of teaching, and to the task of school leadership, are urgently required.

Big changes are predicted for universities too – the end of the lecture hall as students watch online and Oxford University could become redundant as the quality of virtual teaching improves.

A greater number of local universities are a possibility and some institutions could charge fees as high as £40,000. A student’s grades may no longer matter as employers will be able to draw on considerably more comprehensive information. Universities could even cease to exist if efforts aren’t made to ensure students meet and share learning.

A number of urgent steps are needed:

  1. Every school child must be taught about AI in lessons with immediate effect
  2. Schools need to make students into active learners and to develop their free will – the education system teaches the young to be passive If we don’t, AI will outwit them
  3. We need AI machines to teach students to become more fully human– the education system currently deploys humans to teach our young to become more like machines.
  4. The government doesn’t understand the role of AI in education. It is obsessed by AI and ethics and AI in the economy, but it has ignored education
  5. Schools and universities are hell-bent on preparing students for the work place – of yesterday. Our schools and universities need to develop much broader intelligences and competencies.

Our politicians, educators and administrators the world over are asleep to the fourth education revolution hurtling towards us.

We are failing our young people, our country and the world by not adapting quickly enough to how AI will change the way that education takes place, the jobs it is preparing them for, and the society in which they will live.

AI is the biggest change to education since the printing press. It can be compared to the arrival of the internal combustion engine in the 1880s, except it will change the world far more subtly and profoundly.

If we can take the right decisions, we will see the biggest enhancement of human fulfilment and happiness the world has seen. Get it wrong and the quality of our life will suffer a catastrophic loss.

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham

You may also be interested in these articles:

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher on the future of education, skills and employability

Sponsored Video


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 2 hours 13 minutes ago

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher and Gavin |...

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher and Gavin | 3rd Aug

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page