“Why Educate?


A series of Lectures addressing fundamental questions of education

P u blish ed by

The Learning Skills Foundation®
in a ssocia t ion wit h

Th is book is spon sor ed by Sovereign Capital

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Why educate?
A SERIES OF LECTU RES ADDRESSIN G FU N DAMEN TAL QU ESTIONS OF EDU CATION

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P u blish ed by Th e Lea r n in g Skills Fou n da t ion 2009 in a ssocia t ion wit h Th e In depen den t Newspa per spon sor ed by Sover eign Ca pit a l P a r t n er s ©Lea r n in g Skills Fou n da t ion ®, 2009 8 Swift St r eet, Lon don SW6 5AG www.lea r n in gskillsfou n da t ion .com

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Con ten t s

IN TRODU CTION

LE CTURE 1
Professor David Hargreaves

Wh o r u n s a n d wh o sh ou ld r u n ou r sch ools?

LE CTU RE 2 Professor S im on Baron-Cohen

Sh ou ld ch ildr en with Asper ger Syn dr om e be r equ ir ed t o follow t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m ?

LE CTU RE 3 Professor David Hopkins

Ar e sch ools st ill r eleva n t?

LE CTURE 4
Professor Alison Wolf

Th e n a t ion a l cu r r icu lu m is ou t da t ed a n d n o lon ger fit for pu r pose

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Why educate?
INTRODUCTION

In 2008, t h e Lea r n in g Skills F ou n da t ion pu t on a ser ies of fou r lectu r es a r ou n d t h e t h em e ‘Wh y E du ca t e?’. In t h ese lectu r es lea din g a ca dem ics wer e in vit ed t o a ddr ess a fu n da m en t a l qu est ion a bou t t h e n a tu r e of th e edu ca t ion syst em in t h is cou n t r y. Th is fir st ser ies of lectu r es, in wh a t is t o become a n a n n u a l even t , wa s pr om pted by t h e sim ple obser va t ion t h a t wh ile t h e wor ld a n d t ech n ology in pa r t icu la r h a ve developed a t a bewilder in g pa ce over t h e pa st th ir t y yea r s, ou r edu ca tion syst em , cu r r icu lu m , met h ods of a ssessm en t a n d r espon se t o pu pils’ n eeds h a ve n ot . Th e lectu r es wer e design ed t o pr ovoke t h ou gh t a n d, per h a ps even , a ction t o a ddr ess t h is. Th er e is a br ief su m m a r y of ea ch lectu r e below.

In t h e fir st of t h e ser ies P r ofessor Da vid H a r gr ea ves a sked th e qu est ion ‘Wh o r u n s a n d wh o sh ou ld r u n ou r sch ools?’ Ta kin g a s h is st a r t in g poin t t h e or igin s of Wik ipedia h e sh ows h ow t h e sit e h a d exploded t h e m yth t h a t in for ma t ion wa s in t h e h a n ds of t h e few. H e a r gu es pa ssion a t ely t h a t t h e bu sin ess of r u n n in g sch ools sh ou ld be in th e h a n ds of t h ose wh o u n der sta n d t h e possibilit ies a n d pot en t ia l of t h e Wikipedia m odel a n d t ech n ology in gen er a l: t h e Y Gen er a t ion .

P r ofessor Sim on Ba r on -Coh en a ddr esses t h e issu e of Asper ger Syn dr om e in sch ools a n d wh et h er t h ose on t h e a u t ist ic spectr u m sh ou ld be expected to follow t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m . H is det a iled a n d fa scin a t in g exposition of t h e scope a n d n a t u r e of a u t ism h igh ligh t s wh a t a mism a t ch t h e cu r r icu lu m is t o t h e n eeds of t h ose on t h e a u t ist ic spectr u m a n d h ow we a r e doin g t h em a disser vice.

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P r ofessor Da vid H opkin s looked a t t h e fu n da m en t a l qu est ion ‘Ar e sch ools still r eleva n t ?’ In h is lectu r e h e looks a t wh et h er sch ools a llow ch ildr en t o r ea ch t h eir ‘ma xim u m pot en t ia l’ a n d r eviews t h e differ en t t ea ch in g a ppr oa ch es to ta ckle t h is cor e objective over t h e pa st fou r deca des. Ma n y fa scin a t in g in sigh ts in t o t h e r ole a n d wor k in gs of gover n m en t a s well a s ma n y t h ou gh t -pr ovokin g qu est ion s a r e expla in ed a n d exa m in ed a lon g t h e wa y.

F in a lly P r ofessor Alison Wolf a ddr esses th e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m : discu ssin g it s or igin s a n d u n st oppa ble gr owt h a n d in flu en ce. Th e cen tr a l poin t of h er lectu r e is a n eva lu a t ion of wh et h er it m er it s t h e cen t r a l, h u b-like st a tu s wit h in a m oder n , flexible edu ca t ion syst em .

Th e cen t r a l pr em ise of t h e lectu r e ser ies wa s t h a t with so m u ch t est in g, so ma n y t a bles a n d t h e delu ge of Wh it eh a ll in it ia tives r a in in g down on t ea ch er s, som eh ow t h e essen tia l con t in u ou s r ea ssessmen t of wh a t edu ca t ion is a n d wh y it is vit a l t o societ y h a d been lost . ‘Wh y E du ca t e?’ wa s sim ply a pla ce t o t a ke tim e t o r econ sider t h ose essen t ia l qu est ion s.

On beh a lf of Th e Lea r n in g Skills F ou n da t ion I wou ld like t o t h a n k Th e In depen den t Newspa per a n d Sover eign Ca pit a l for su ppor t in g th is pu blica t ion .

P a u l Br et t

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Who runs and should run our schools?
Wednesday 23 April 2008 Professor David H Hargreaves

In t r odu ction by Pa u l Br et t Da vid H a r gr ea ves is Associa t e Dir ector for Developm en t a n d Resea r ch for t h e Specia list Sch ools a n d Aca dem ies Tr u st. H e is E m er it u s F ellow of Wolfson College, Ca m br idge, h a s been a P r ofessor of E du ca t ion a t Ca m br idge, a Rea der a t Oxfor d a n d, in t er est in gly, wa s t h e Ch ief In spector of t h e In n er Lon don E du ca tion Au t h or it y. H e h a s pu blish ed n u m er ou s books, in clu din g t h e cla ssics Devia n ce in Cla ssr oom s a n d In ter per son a l Rela t ion s a n d E du ca t ion , a n d m or e r ecen t ly pa m ph let s on per son a lisin g lea r n in g.

Not e: Da vid H a r gr ea ves or igin a lly ga ve th is lectu r e on 23 Apr il 2008. Du r in g t h e lectu r e h e in vit ed qu est ion s a n d comm en t s fr om t h e a u dien ce, a n d t h ese h a ve been m a in ta in ed in t h is edited t r a n scr ipt t oget h er wit h h is feedba ck.

Who runs our schools? How well are they doing it? Are they the best people in the right kind of partnership? Who should run our schools to make them fit for schooling in the 21 st century?

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In Ma r ch 2000, t wo m en , J imm y Wa les a n d La r r y Sa n ger la u n ch ed ‘Nu pedia ’ a n on lin e en cyclopa edia th a t u n like E n cyclopa edia Br it a n n ica , wou ld be n on -pr opr iet a r y a n d so fr eely dist r ibu t a ble on lin e. Nin e m on t h s la t er in Novem ber 2000, ‘Nu pedia ’ h a d ju st t wo com plet ed a r t icles. Th e r ea son ? To en su r e qu a lit y con t r ol a volu n t a r y a dvisor y boa r d h a d been est a blish ed to devise a policy for comm ission in g, r eviewin g a n d r evisin g dr a ft s of a r t icles befor e t h ey wer e pu blish ed. Wit h in a yea r a ft er la u n ch , Nu pedia h a d ju st a dozen complet ed a r t icles. E xper ts wr it e ver y, ver y slowly, a s a n yon e in volved in a ca dem ic pu blish in g t h r ou gh peer r eview kn ows on ly t oo well. By t h e followin g J a n u a r y, Sa n ger h a d h ea r d a bou t ‘wikis’. A ‘wiki’ isa u ser -edita ble websit e; ea ch pa ge h a s a bu t t on t h a t a llows a n y r ea der t o edit by a ddit ion , delet ion or a lt er a t ion of t h e con t en t of th e pa ge, bu t it ca n a lso pr eser ve t h e pr eviou s t ext befor e it is edit ed a n d t h u s st or e t h e h ist or y of t h e docu m en t . Sa n ger ’s idea t h en wa s t o cr ea t e a n en cyclopa edia ba sed n ot on exper t ly wr itt en a r t icles bu t on ‘wikis’ so t h a t u ser s cou ld gen er a t e a n d edit a r t icles.

Th e Nu pedia boa r d of exper t s wa s sca n da lised a n d objected ver y st r on gly. Bu t wit h in a few weeks t h e n ewly cr ea t ed ‘Wikipedia ’ h a d m a ssively in cr ea sed it s con t en t . Th e da t e of t h e fir st a r t icle wa s 16 J a n u a r y 2001. By 12 F ebr u a r y (ju st over t h r ee weeks la t er ) t h er e wer e 1,000 a r ticles, by Sept em ber over 10,000, gr owin g t o 40,000 a yea r la t er . Nu pedia by con t r a st h a d ju st 25 complet ed a r t icles wh en it wa s closed down . Wikipedia , t h r ou gh a pr ocess of self cor r ection a n d ext en sion by volu n t a r y edit or s, developed a t a ph en omen a l pa ce a n d in su ch a wa y t h a t t h e a r t icles in cr ea sed n ot on ly in n u m ber a n d len gt h bu t a lso in a ccu r a cy a n d st yle.

Toda y t h er e a r e 2.25 m illion a r t icles in E n glish in Wikipedia , a n d wor ldwide t h er e a r e 9 m illion a r ticles in 253 la n gu a ges. Nu pedia died a lon g tim e a go. Now, Sa n ger h im self soon r a n in t o t r ou ble beca u se h e t ook t h e view th a t h e sh ou ld h a ve a r igh t t o con t r ol t h e con ten t by delet in g wh a t h e disa ppr oved of. Th is did
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n ot go down well wit h th e con t r ibu t or s a n d Sa n ger depa r t ed. Bu t cou ld Wik ipedia live u p t o th e ch a llen ge f t h e exist in g E n cyclopa edia Br it a n n ica ? In ch ecks of a ccu r a cy, Wikipedia does pr et t y mu ch a s well a s Br it a n n ica , a n d it h a s a dva n t a ges over Br it a n n ica in t h a t wh en a n er r or is discover ed it ca n be cor r ected m u ch mor e qu ickly a n d ea sily. Mor e im por ta n t ly, it ’s ea sier a n d fa st er t o a dd n ew m a ter ia l.

Ta k e t h e ca se of t h e Lon don 7/7 bom bin gs; som eon e cr ea t ed a Wikipedia pa ge of ju st five sen t en ces wit h in m in u t es of t h e bom bs goin g off, a n d wit h in t h e n ext fou r h ou r s, m or e t h a n a th ou sa n d edits wer e ma de a s t h e disa ster a n d k n owledge a bou t it u n folded. Th er e cou ld of cou r se be n ot h in g in Br it a n n ica . As we k n ow, t h er e a r e pr oblem s wit h con t r ol; you ’r e n ot a llowed t o edit you r own biogr a ph y, a n d som e pa r t icu la r a r t icles h a ve to be locked u p t o pr otect t h em fr om va n da ls, bu t Wikipedia wor ks a n d I su spect m ost of you kn ow a bou t it or u se it . Th in k a bou t t h e la st tim e you u sed Wikipedia a n d n ow th in k a bou t t h e la st t ime you even sa w a copy of t h e E n cyclopa edia Br it a n n ica .

Wik ipedia is a fa scin a t in g st or y a n d it ’s per h a ps t h e best -k n own a n d m ost vivid illu st r a t ion of wh a t is kn own a s ‘u ser -gen er a t ed con t en t ’ a n d Web 2.0 (t h e n a m e given t o t h e per ceived secon d gen er a t ion of th e Wor ld Wide Web, wh ich h a s fa cilit a t ed developm en t s su ch a s on lin e com m u n ities a n d socia l n et wor kin g). Bu t wh a t h a s t h is t o do wit h t h e gover n a n ce of sch oolin g? Well, Wikipedia exemplifies for m e a 21st cen t u r y t r a n sfor m a t ion . It dem on st r a t es h ow n ew t ech n ologies a r e ch a n gin g a n d poin t s t o th e wa y t h in gs get pr odu ced a n d dissem in a t ed: it ’s ch a n gin g th e wa y we r ela t e t o t h e m edia , it ’s ch a n gin g t h e n a t u r e of socia l or ga n isa tion s a n d lea der sh ip, it ’s ch a n gin g t h e wa ys in wh ich we r ela te to on e a n ot h er , a n d it ’s h a ppen in g ver y, ver y fa st .

In 2004 Ton y Bla ir ch a llen ged pu blic ser vices, especia lly edu ca t ion a n d m edicin e, t o per son a lise or cu st om ise ser vices t o m a tch t h e im pr ovem en t s t h a t
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h a d been m a de in t h e pr iva t e sector . H e st opped ta lkin g a bou t sch ool impr ovem en t , wh ich h a d been th e gover n men t ’s la n gu a ge fr om t h e m id-1980s, a n d swit ch ed to t h e m or e dr a m a t ic t er m , ‘t r a n sfor m a t ion ’. Now, I wa n t to do t h r ee t h in gs h er e. I wa n t t o sh ow t h a t sch ool lea der s r espon ded to t h is pr im e m in ist er ia l ch a llen ge, a n d t h a t t h ey a r e in deed pr odu cin g a t r a n sfor m a tion , bu t it’s pr oba bly a t r a n sfor m a t ion t h a t ’s m u ch bigger t h a n t h e on e Ton y Bla ir expected or wa n t ed. Secon dly, I wa n t t o sh ow th a t t h e t r a n sfor ma t ion of t h e n ew t ech n ologies, exem plified by Wikipedia , is con t r ibu t in g t o t h e t r a n sfor m a t ion in edu ca tion . Th ir dly, I wa n t t o sh ow t h a t th is pr esen t s a fu r t h er ch a llen ge t o t h e bold sch ool lea der s wh o h a ve cr ea t ed t h e t r a n sfor m a t ion in per son a lisa t ion ; t h is is a t r a n sfor m a t ion t h a t ’s pr oba bly a bigger ch a llen ge t h a n even th ose bold h ea d t ea ch er s expected or wa n t ed. An d so m y a r gu m en t is t h a t to get t h e fu ll t r a n sfor m a t ion t h er e n eeds t o be a ch a n ge in th e gover n a n ce of edu ca t ion . Th e pr esen t gover n a n ce a r r a n gem en t s in edu ca t ion a r e im pedin g t h e t r a n sfor m a t ion a n d t h ey n eed t o be ch a n ged t o su ppor t th e tr a n sfor m a t ion t h a t will m a k e sch oolin g fit for t h e 21st cen t u r y.

I will con t in u e wit h a secon d st or y, wh ich cen t r es on th e wor k I bega n doin g wit h t h e Specia list Sch ools a n d Aca dem ies Tr u st a n d m y collea gu e Su e Willia m son wh en we decided to r espon d t o t h e Ton y Bla ir ch a llen ge t o ‘per son a lise edu ca tion ’. Th e Tr u st wor ked wit h t h e th en Secon da r y H ea ds’ Associa t ion a n d we per su a ded a you n g Da vid Miliba n d, th en a ju n ior m in ist er , t h a t t h e pr ofession h a d t o t a ke on t h e r ea l ta sk of wh a t wa s goin g t o be in volved in per son a lisin g or cu st omisin g lea r n in g in ou r sch ools. At t h e t im e t h er e wa s a lot of con cer n a m on g t ea ch er s, wh o wer e a skin g, ‘Wh a t on ea r th does t h is wor d “per son a lisa t ion ” m ea n ?’ We decided t h a t th er e h a d been a m a jor tr a n sfor ma t ion in t h e bu sin ess wor ld cr ea t ed by per son a lisa t ion a n d cu st om isa t ion , on e t h a t a ctu a lly ca u sed a lot of tr ou ble a n d con flict, bu t we ch ose t o ba se ou r defin it ion ver y closely on a pa r a llel t o wh a t h a d h a ppen ed in t h e bu sin ess wor ld.

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Now t h e bu sin ess wor ld sa ys t h a t per son a lisin g a ser vice or a pr odu ct m ea n s m eetin g m or e of t h e cu st om er s’ n eeds, a n d th e n eeds of m or e cu st om er s, m or e fu lly t h a n t h e bu sin ess ever did in th e pa st. So we ju st ma de a st r a igh t lift , t a k in g t h e sa m e idea a n d sa id, ‘It ’s qu it e sim ple, it m ea n s m eet in g m or e of t h e edu ca tion a l n eeds of m or e kids t h a n we’ve ever don e befor e.’ In ot h er wor ds, it ’s goin g wit h t h e gr a in of wh a t people join ed t h e t ea ch in g pr ofession t o do: t o m eet lea r n er s’ n eeds. An d we pla yed wit h t h is a n d we sa id t o ou r selves, ‘If it ca u sed a t r a n sfor m a t ion in bu sin ess, wh a t wou ld th e t r a n sfor m a t ion be like in edu ca t ion ?’

We took som e lesson s fr om t h e bu sin ess wor ld a n d th e fir st im por ta n t lesson wa s t o sa y t h a t t h e 20t h cen t u r y h a d m a de a h u ge ch a n ge fr om t h e begin n in g of t h e cen t u r y wit h H en r y F or d in ven t in g m a ss pr odu ction t h r ou gh to th e en d of th e 20t h cen t u r y wh en people like Mich a el Dell in compu t er s, or Toyot a in th e ca r in du st r y in J a pa n , t r a n sfor med t h e wa y t h ey did th in gs in or der t o cu st om ise t h eir ser vices. Th e 20t h cen tu r y wa s t h e cen t u r y of m a ss pr odu ction , yet by t h e la t e 20t h cen t u r y ma ss pr odu ction wa s in declin e in t h e West a s we m oved to m a ss cu st om isa t ion . An d it wa s a bla st of wh a t J osef Sch u m pet er ca lled ‘cr ea t ive destr u ction ’: t o do t h e n ew t h in g, you h a ve cr ea t ively t o dest r oy pr eviou s pr a ctice.

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Th e ch a llen ge wa s h ow to get sch ools t o ma ke th a t pa r a llel ju m p. We a sked sch ool lea der s ‘Do sch ools look m or e like a fa ctor y, a m a ss-pr odu ction syst em, or lik e a m a ss cu st om isa t ion syst em ?’ a n d ever ybody r eplied, ‘No, we’ve st ill got t h e 19t h -cen t u r y m odel of sch oolin g ju st u n der t h e su r fa ce.’ So we sa id, ‘Oka y, wh a t ’s goin g to pa r a llel get t in g fr om H en r y F or d to Mich a el Dell?’ We pla yed wit h t h is for a wh ile by lookin g a t t h e differ en ces bet ween ma ss pr odu ction a n d m a ss cu st om isa t ion . As you ca n see m a ss pr odu ction is sim ply decidin g on a pr odu ct or a ser vice t h a t you wa n t t o sell a n d t h en per su a din g people t h ey wa n t it. So, wh a t ’s t h e pa r a llel in edu ca t ion ? It ’s t h a t you decide wh a t you wa n t to t ea ch in sch ools, like a Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m , a n d t h en you per su a de st u den t s t h a t th ey wa n t it . So I spen t qu it e a lon g t ime in m y ea r ly tea ch in g ca r eer sa yin g t o k ids, ‘You m a y n ot t h in k t h is is ver y in t er est in g or r eleva n t bu t you ’ll t h a n k m e la t er beca u se it ’ll be r ea lly r eleva n t t o you wh en you ’r e a bit older .’ E ver y t ea ch er I kn ow h a s a lwa ys pla yed t h a t ga m e of t r yin g to sell t h e con ten t t o st u den t s.

Now, wh a t h a ppen ed in m a ss cu st om isa tion in bu sin ess wa s a dr a ma t ic ‘cr ea t ive destr u ction ’ sh ift . In st ea d of h a vin g a pr odu ct th a t you ju st t r y t o per su a de people th ey wa n t , you st a r t by a skin g wh a t t h eir n eeds a r e a n d t h en pr odu ce
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som et h in g t h a t meet s th eir n eeds. So for t h e pa r a llel in edu ca t ion , for m a ss-cu st om ised sch oolin g, wh a t exa ctly wou ld it m ea n ? We pu zzled a bou t t h a t a n d t h e fu ll im plica t ion s of r e-design in g pr odu ction a n d deliver a n ce syst em s t o m eet t h e n eeds of cu stom er s. It t ook u s th r ee yea r s. P er h a ps we wer e bein g a bit t h ick a bou t it , bu t it t ook t h r ee yea r s for t h e pen n y fu lly t o dr op. Su e a n d I r a n som e con fer en ces wit h h ea d t ea ch er s a r ou n d t h e cou n t r y – 250 h ea ds – a n d we a sk ed th em , ‘H ow wou ld you m ove t owa r ds per son a lisa t ion ? Wh a t wou ld you bu ild on ?’ An d we pr odu ced a fr a m ewor k ca lled ‘Nin e Ga t ewa ys’, wh ich is r ea son a bly kn own in m ost secon da r y sch ools n ow. Th e fr a m ewor k con t a in ed 9 a ctivit ies t h a t sch ools wer e a lr ea dy doin g th a t t h ey cou ld pu sh fu r t h er t o dr ive t h em t owa r ds mor e per son a lisa t ion . Some wer e ver y old t h in gs, like t h e Cu r r icu lu m ; som e wer e qu it e n ew like t h e New Tech n ologies, wh ich we’r e st ill st r u gglin g wit h a s t o wh a t th e im pa ct is goin g t o be. Som e wer e on ly t en yea r s old lik e ‘Men t or in g & Coa ch in g’: t er m s th a t t en yea r s a go you wou ld n ot h a ve m et in sch ools, bu t n ow you fin d in m ost sch ools. Th e m ost im por t a n t wa s St u den t Voice, t h e on e a t th e t op of t h e dia gr a m , th e on e we bega n wit h , wh ich wa s st u den t s a r t icu la t in g t h eir n eeds. We fou n d sch ools doin g qu it e a lot of r a dica l st u ff on St u den t Voice. Sch ools wer e a ctu a lly st a r t in g to pu t st u den t s on gover n in g bodies; t h ey wer e pu tt in g st u den t s on st a ff-a ppoin tmen t comm it t ees; st u den t s wer e n ot on ly bein g a sked wh a t m a de a good lesson bu t a lso t h ey wer e sit t in g a t t h e ba ck of cla ssr oom s a s obser ver s lookin g a t tea ch er s, a n d t h en givin g t h em feedba ck a t th e en d a n d t a lkin g a bou t wh a t wou ld m a ke t h em bet t er . Ver y da n ger ou s, t r icky st u ff.

We h eld con fer en ces a n d wr ot e pa m ph lets a bou t t h e n in e ga t ewa ys, begin n in g in a u t u m n 2004. We pu t Design & Or ga n isa t ion la st beca u se a t t h e begin n in g we didn ’t h a ve a clu e wh a t t h e im plica t ion s wou ld be for it . We t h ou gh t t h a t wit h a bit of lu ck we’d fin d ou t a s we wer e goin g a lon g. Wh en we got t o t h e en d of t h e pr ocess a n d a sked h ea d t ea ch er s wh ich of t h e n in e ga t ewa ys wa s t h e m ost power fu l pot en t ia lly for per son a lisin g lea r n in g, t wice a s m a n y people vot ed for
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St u den t Voice a s for a n y ot h er ga t ewa y. Th a t ’s someth in g we wou ld n ot h a ve pr edicted wh en we st a r t ed.

Lea pin g for wa r d in t ime by t h r ee yea r s, we’d essen t ia lly decided t h a t t h e t r a n sfor m a t ion t h a t we t h ou gh t Ton y Bla ir m igh t h a ve been a ft er , a n d t h a t m a n y of ou r h ea d t ea ch er s wh o wer e doin g t h e m ost pion eer in g wor k h a d in m in d, wa s n ot goin g t o be a ch ieved solely by m a ss cu st om isa t ion . We h a d t o go beyon d t h a t . We decided t o wor k on t h e r e-design of pr odu ction a n d deliver y syst em s, wh ich we’d discu ssed t h r ee yea r s ea r lier wh en lookin g a t t h e r e-design of pr odu ction a n d deliver y system s in t h e bu sin ess wor ld t o im plem en t m a ss-cu st om isa tion . It wa s becomin g clea r t h a t we m igh t h a ve t o do som e of t h a t in edu ca t ion . So we switch ed fr om th e t er m per son a lisin g lea r n in g, beca u se it’s n ow evolved in sch ools in to wh a t we ca ll ‘syst em r e-design ’. Th is is th e ter m we’ve u sed t o ca pt u r e wh a t a lot of h ea d tea ch er s, sch ool lea der s a n d t h e st a ff of sch ools, su ppor t ed by t h e Specia list Sch ools a n d Aca dem ies Tr u st , a r e a ctu a lly doin g u n der t h e dr ive to per son a lisa t ion .

So wh a t is syst em r e-design ? Th er e a r e fou r dr iver s a n d fou r m ech a n ism s. Th e fir st dr iver is r a pid ext er n a l ch a n ge; you ca n ’t be a sch ool lea der wit h ou t bein g ver y con sciou s of t h e power of r a pid ext er n a l ch a n ge. Reg Reva n s, a n or ga n isa t ion a l sociologist , pr odu ced ‘Reva n s’ La w’, wh ich I love, m a n y yea r s a go. It sa ys ‘F or a n or ga n isa tion t o su r vive, its r a t e of lea r n in g h a s t o be a t lea st equ a l t o t h e r a te of lea r n in g in t h e exter n a l en vir on m en t.’ Not ice t h e ‘a t lea st ’ equ a l. Th is r a ises t h e qu est ion : do sch ools a ppea r t o be ch a n gin g a s fa st a s t h e ext er n a l en vir on m en t ? Th e a n swer is ‘n o’. Most people I ta lk t o sa y t h e ext er n a l en vir on m en t is ch a n gin g m u ch fa st er t h a n sch ools, bu t th e h ea ds th e Tr u st wa s wor k in g wit h u n der st ood Reva n s’ La w. Th e secon d dr iver is t h e ‘St a n da r ds Agen da ’, wh ich I’ve pu t in in ver t ed comma s beca u se fr om t h e gover n m en t ’s poin t of view t h e ‘St a n da r ds Agen da ’ m ea n s bet t er Key St a ge 3 t est s a n d bet t er GCSE r esu lt s in t h e lea gu e ta bles. Th e h ea d t ea ch er s wor kin g wit h t h e Tr u st felt a
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m or a l obliga tion t o deliver th ese ga in s for t h e sa ke of t h e kids in t h eir sch ools. So ma n y of t h e sch ools t h a t we’ve wor ked closely wit h h a ve a bove a ver a ge r esu lt s, wh ich is fin e. H owever , t h ey ten ded t o h a ve a m u ch wider view of t h e ou t comes of sch oolin g, of wh a t t h e pu r poses wer e: t o u se P a u l Br ett ’s t er m , t h ey h a d a m u ch br oa der ph ilosoph y t h a n t h e ‘St a n da r ds Agen da ’ a n d t h ey believed pa ssion a t ely th a t we’d on ly get t h er e if t h er e wa s m u ch mor e sch ool-led in n ova t ion . So, r a t h er like th e bu sin ess wor ld, you cou ldn ’t look t o gover n m en t s t o do it , you wou ld h a ve t o gen er a t e som e of t h e in n ova t ion fr om wit h in .

Th e t h ir d dr iver wa s t h e feelin g t h a t t h e sta t u s qu o wa sn ’t wor kin g pr oper ly, So people bega n sa yin g to t h em selves, ‘Ma n y of t h e a ssu m pt ion s beh in d t h e 20t h -cen t u r y m odels of sch oolin g n ow h a ve t o be qu est ion ed.’, Th ey wer e scr u t in isin g a ll t h e th in gs we’ve t a ken for gr a n t ed a bou t sch ools, wh ich a r e in m a n y wa ys st ill ver y m u ch like t h e sch ools t h a t t h e t ea ch er s a n d pa r en ts wen t t o. Th er e’s a t r em en dou s con t in u ity in t h e n a t u r e of sch ools a s in st it u t ion s. P eople bega n qu est ion in g t h a t a n d t h e h ea d t ea ch er s bega n sa yin g, ‘We’r e goin g t o h a ve to r e-con figu r e pa r t s of t h e syst em a n d we’r e goin g t o h a ve t o devise som e n ew on es. We’r e goin g t o h a ve t o t est t h em r e-con figu r a tion s a n d r evise t h em t o t r y a n d m a ke sch ools bet t er pla ces.’

Now, wh a t wer e t h e m ech a n ism s? Th e fir st m ech a n ism wa s t h is n ot ion of cocon st r u ction or co-pr odu ction ; t h e t wo t er m s m ea n t h e sa m e t h in g. On e of t h e figu r es beh in d co-con st r u ction wa s E r ic von H ippel, a socia l scien t ist a t MIT (Ma ssa ch u set t s In stitu t e of Tech n ology). Ten yea r s a go E r ic wa s lookin g a t t h e wa y bu sin esses wer e ch a n gin g in t h e ligh t of ma ss cu stomisa t ion a n d wh a t h e sh owed wa s t h a t on ce you ’ve m oved t owa r ds cu st om isa tion , you don ’t dr ea m u p m a n y in n ova t ion s in R&D-la b, bu t you go a n d t a lk t o you r cu st om er s. So h e t a lk ed a bou t cu st omer -dr iven in n ova t ion , sa yin g t h a t m a n y pr odu cts a n d ser vices n ow in th e bu sin ess wor ld a r e co-pr odu ced, co-con st r u cted, wh a t ever t er m you like, bet ween t h e fir m a n d it s u ser s. Com pa n ies h a ve specia l
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ca t egor ies of lea d u ser s wit h wh om t h ey co-pr odu ce th e n ext pr odu ct a n d it s impr ovem en t . An d we fou n d t h a t , a lt h ou gh m a n y h ea d tea ch er s m a y n ever h a d h ea r d of E r ic, t h ey wer e doin g pr ecisely th e sa m e t h in g wit h t h eir st a ff a n d t h eir st u den t s, Th ey wer e essen t ia lly sa yin g t h a t a lm ost ever yt h in g wa s u p for r e-con sider a t ion ; ever yt h in g cou ld be qu est ion ed a n d pot en t ia lly co-con str u cted. You cou ld co-con str u ct t h e cu r r icu lu m ; you cou ld co-con st r u ct a ssessm en t . Th e wor k of Pa u l Bla ck a n d Dyla n Wilia m dem on st r a tes t h a t Assessm en t for Lea r n in g is a bou t kids co-con st r u ctin g th e a ssessm en t syst em wit h st a ff. Th e wh ole n a t u r e of sch ool cou ld be co-con str u cted wit h th e st u den t s.

So co-con st r u ction wa s a n a bsolu t ely essen t ia l th eme t o wh a t we wer e doin g a n d r equ ir ed n ew kin ds of dia logu e bet ween t ea ch er s a n d t a u gh t a n d ot h er st a k eh older s, ju st a s E r ic von H ippel h a d fou n d in t h e in du st r ia l wor ld. We bega n t o t a lk a bou t t h ese a s lea r n in g con ver sa t ion s, a s dia logica l r ela t ion sh ips: t ea ch er a n d st u den t , for exa m ple, a cen t r e of lea r n in g con ver sa t ion s a n d pa r t icu la r ly in St u den t Voice; gover n or s, t ea ch er s a n d st u den t s t a lkin g t oget h er , especia lly wh er e stu den t s a r e on gover n in g bodies; st u den t a n d st u den t , pa r t icu la r ly in a r ea s like a ssessm en t for lea r n in g a n d m en t or in g; lea r n in g con ver sa t ion s bet ween st u den ts, pa r t icu la r ly in a r ea s like Lea r n in g t o Lea r n , t ea ch er , pa r en t a n d st u den t in t h e t r ia ds t h a t a r e r epla cin g t h e pa r en t ’s even in g by br in gin g t ea ch er , pa r en t a n d ch ild t oget h er t o t a lk t h r ou gh a n d r eview wh er e t h ey a r e a n d t o pla n t h e n ext st a ges; a n d t ea ch er , fa mily a n d socia l wor ker s t r yin g t o develop on e of t h e m ost im por t a n t policies in cu r r en t E n glish societ y, t h e ‘E ver y Ch ild Ma t t er s’ a gen da .

Th e secon d m ech a n ism wa s in n ova t ion n et wor ks. Th e Tr u st pla yed a n impor t a n t r ole h er e, t r yin g t o br in g people toget h er t o h a ve con ver sa tion s a cr oss a n d bet ween sch ools so t h ey’d n ot be a u t on om ou s in st it u t ion s bu t wou ld t a lk a cr oss ea ch ot h er . In ot h er wor ds t h ey wer e dea lin g with kn owledge cr ea t ion a n d k n owledge t r a n sfer ; t h a t ’s wh a t in n ova t ion n et wor ks a r e a bou t . Th ey a r e
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a live a n d well in t h e bu sin ess a n d in du str ia l wor ld; if we didn ’t h a ve in n ova t ion n et wor k s in th a t wor ld we wou ld n ot be a dva n cin g a s a societ y; so, m ir r or in g t h a t , t h e Tr u st a n d som e ot h er people h a ve been en cou r a gin g t h ese in n ova t ion n et wor k s in edu ca t ion .

An d t h e t h ir d m ech a n ism wa s t o iden tify t h e bu ildin g blocks of syst em r e-design , wh ich wa s t h e t a sk t h a t Su e Willia m son a n d I t ook on . We looked a t wh a t sch ools wer e doin g a n d cr ea ted a list of 20 bu ildin g blocks or r e-con figu r a t ion s: 10 a r e a bou t th e n a t u r e of sch ool a s a n in stit u t ion , 5 a r e a bou t r oles a n d r ela tion sh ips a n d 5 a r e a bou t lea der sh ip. A br ief expla n a t ion of t h e elem en t s of t h e r e-con figu r a tion s will sh ow h ow t h e in st it u t ion is bein g r e-design ed.

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Th e fir st of t h e In st it u t ion a l r e-con figu r a t ion s is t h a t t h e sin gle, isola t ed, a u t on om ou s sch ool is in it s dea th th r oes. Sch ools a r e n ow gr ou pin g t oget h er in clu st er s, colla bor a t ives a n d feder a t ion s in a ll kin ds of complex wa ys. Th ey’r e n ot a lon e; t h ey’r e a lwa ys wor kin g wit h ot h er sch ools a n d ot h er edu ca t ion a l in st it u t ion s a n d ‘E ver y Ch ild Ma t t er s’ will pu sh t h a t even fu r t h er . Th e secon d is t h e m er gin g of t h e ph a ses t h a t we’ve gr own u p wit h : pr im a r y, secon da r y a n d
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specia l. On ce sch ools st a r t t o wor k t oget h er in va r iou s kin ds of clu st er s or colla bor a tives, t h e bou n da r ies bet ween th e ph a ses get m u ch t h in n er . Ma n y m or e pr im a r y pu pils n ow a r e spen din g some t im e in secon da r y sch ools or you ’ll fin d specia l sch ools bein g co-loca t ed wit h a pr ima r y a n d a secon da r y sch ool. In ot h er wor ds, t h e ph a ses a r e wea ken in g.

Th e t h ir d, per h a ps t h e m ost dr a m a t ic, is t h a t th e bou n da r ies bet ween yea r gr ou ps a n d a ge coh or t s a r e disa ppea r in g. I’m ver y sen sit ive a bou t a ge coh or t s, beca u se I wa s bor n a t 10pm on 31 Au gu st . If my m ot h er h a d ju st h u n g on t o m e for t wo m or e h ou r s a n d on e secon d, in stea d of bein g th e you n gest boy in m y a ge coh or t , I wou ld h a ve been t h e oldest boy in t h e yea r a ft er a n d m y wh ole life wou ld h a ve been differ en t . So wh y do we h a ve t h ose a ge coh or t s t h a t we wer e a ll pa r t of? Well, t h e a n swer is, of cou r se, a dm in ist r a t ive con ven ien ce. Now, wh a t ’s h a ppen in g is t h a t sch ools a r e br ea kin g t h ese down , t h e n u m ber s doin g it a r e r ela t ively sm a ll yet, bu t it’s goin g to spr ea d. Th e a lt er n a t ive is ca lled ‘st a ge n ot a ge’ so you pu t people t oget h er by th e st a ge of t h eir a ch ievem en t , n ot by t h eir a bilit y, by t h e st a ge of t h eir a ch ievem en t , n ot by t h eir a ge. Th is will va r y fr om su bject t o su bject, so if you ’r e ver y good a t m a t h s you ma y h a ve you r m a t h s lesson s wit h people wh o a r e u p t o t wo yea r s older th a n you a r e.

Th er e a r e a lso th e Key St a ges, est a blish ed by Ken n et h Ba ker in 1988 wit h t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m ; Key St a ge 3 h a d t o be t h r ee yea r s beca u se Key St a ge 4 wa s t wo yea r s for GCSE . P eople h a ve fou n d t h a t t h e Key St a ge 3 didn ’t wor k, so a lot of sch ools h a ve st a r t ed pu t t in g som e or a ll of t h eir st u den t s t h r ou gh Key St a ge 3 in two yea r s r a t h er th a n t h r ee a n d t h ey oft en do a s well in t h e Key St a ge 3 t est s in t wo yea r s a s th ey wou ld in t h r ee. Tea ch er s bega n pu zzlin g, ‘Wh y a r e we m a kin g th em do it in t h r ee yea r s if th ey ca n get t h e sa m e r esu lt s in t wo?’ In st ea d you ca n pu t t h em in for t h e test s ea r ly a n d so ga in a n ext r a yea r a t t h e en d, or per h a ps st a r t t h e st u den t s on Key St a ge 3 a yea r la t e a n d do som et h in g else in t h e fir st yea r of secon da r y sch ool. So you ca n see th a t t h e
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wh ole a ge gr a din g a n d Key St a ge st r u ctu r es a r e colla psin g. In m y view, in m ost secon da r y sch ools, t h ey will h a ve disa ppea r ed with in t h e n ext deca de.

Now, t h e fou r t h elemen t is t h a t t h e a ca dem ic a n d pa st or a l split is disa ppea r in g. Th is is beca u se th e yea r gr ou p wa s m a de t h e pa st or a l ba se in m ost compr eh en sives, bu t n ow ma n y sch ools a r e r epla cin g it wit h ver t ica l t u tor in g, so k ids of differ en t a ges m ix t oget h er for pa st or a l session s t o su ppor t t h eir lea r n in g. Th e n ext on e is th a t t h e sch ool da y a n d yea r a r e ch a n gin g. We’ve ext en ded pr ovision in sch ools; we’ve a sm a ll n u m ber of sch ools exper im en t in g wit h t h e idea l of bein g open 364 da ys in t h e yea r . I sh ou ld poin t ou t t h a t t h is does n ot m ea n t h e t ea ch er s wou ld be t h er e for 364 da ys; t h e sch ool system wou ld oper a t e t h r ou gh ou t t h e yea r bu t t ea ch er s wou ld ca r r y on a s n or ma l. Sch ool wou ld be r u n in a differ en t wa y, h owever , beca u se t h ey wou ld be open for m u ch lon ger per iods. Th e n ext is t h a t lesson s a n d work per iods a r e len gth en in g; wh y a r e lesson s 45-50 m in u t es? Is t h er e som e deep psych ologica l t h eor y beh in d it ? Th e a n swer is ‘n o’. Ma n y sch ools a r e exper imen t in g n ow with m u ch lon ger lesson s even wit h , m ost dr a m a t ica lly, t h e on e-lesson -da y, wh en you ju st st u dy on e su bject for a wh ole da y, a n in n ova tion wh ich is spr ea din g by r e-con figu r in g t h e u se of tim e in t h is wa y, you ca n in cr ea se pr oject-ba sed wor k a n d compet en ce-ba sed cu r r icu la . You ca n ’t do pr ojects in 45-m in u t e sla bs, bu t you ca n do pr ojects in secon da r y sch ools a s th ey do in pr ima r y sch ools if you h a ve a m u ch lon ger per iod a n d we kn ow t h a t wh en sch ools t r y pr oject-ba sed lea r n in g t h e k ids like it a n d t h ey’r e mu ch m or e mot iva t ed t o wor k a t it.

Th e bou n da r ies bet ween sch ools a n d work pla ces a r e disa ppea r in g, pa r t icu la r ly wit h t h e in t r odu ction of voca tion a l diploma s, a n d m a n y sch ools a r e n ow r e-st r u ctu r in g in t o kin ds of ‘m in i-sch ools’ wit h in t h e syst em . So t h e la r ge compr eh en sives wit h 1500-2,000 pu pils a r e bein g br oken in t o mu ch sm a ller u n it s. An d la st, t h e gr ea t a dva n t a ge of bu ildin g sch ools for t h e fu t u r e m ea n s we ca n st a r t t o r e-design bu ildin gs a n d spa ces. We’r e st ill in difficu lt y, beca u se
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m a n y people a r e st ill bu ildin g wh a t h a s been ca lled ‘n ew old sch ools’. We n eed t o bu ild sch ools t h a t fit t h e n ew em er gin g pa tter n s. So t h ose a r e t h e t en In stit u t ion a l Re-con figu r a t ion s. I don ’t kn ow a n y sch ool t h a t is r u n n in g fu ll-pelt on a ll t en , bu t I kn ow m a n y sch ools t h a t a r e r u n n in g on sever a l of t h em , a n d a ll a r e cu r r en tly bein g t est ed in a ll ou r sch ools in E n gla n d.

Now t h ese h a ve a m a ssive in flu en ce on r oles a n d r espon sibilit ies, a n d I’ve ju st picked ou t five st r a n ds of Role Re-con figu r a t ion . Co-con st r u ction is ch a n gin g r oles a n d r ela t ion sh ips; so a r e n ew for m s of gover n a n ce. If you h a ve sever a l sch ools u n der on e common gover n in g body a n d you h a ve a lot of st u den ts on you r gover n in g body t h en it ch a n ges t h e n a t u r e of t h ose r ela t ion sh ips. Th e widespr ea d sch ool-led in n ova t ion is h a vin g a n im pa ct, a s I’ve m en t ion ed a bove. New for ms of sch ool-ba sed tea ch er developmen t a r e u n der wa y a n d, la st in th is gr ou p, t ea ch in g r oles wit h in th e sch ools a r e ch a n gin g a n d differ en t kin ds of people a r e comin g in t o sch ool t o pla y t ea ch in g-t ype r oles. Th ese developm en t s t h em selves in flu en ce lea der sh ip a n d so, sim ply sta t ed, th e five Lea der sh ip Recon figu r a t ion s a r e: secon da r y sch ools a r e get t in g fla tter , a n d less h ier a r ch ica l t h a n t h ey’ve t r a dit ion a lly been ; lea der sh ip is becomin g m or e dist r ibu t ed so t h a t m or e people - you n ger t ea ch er s - a r e bein g m u ch mor e in volved in lea der sh ip oppor t u n it ies; decision m a kin g is begin n in g t o sh ift a wa y fr om t h e old decision -m a kin g pr ocedu r es, wh ich wer e oft en ba sed on a h ier a r ch ica l st r u ctu r e wh er e t h e decision s wer e m a de a t t h e top, wit h ‘con su lt a tion ’, a n d t h en people wer e t old wh a t t h e top h a d decided; we n ow h a ve su ccession pla n n in g in som e sch ools; bu t m ost excit in g of a ll, st u den t lea der sh ip is bein g cu lt iva t ed. We’r e m ovin g a wa y fr om ‘St u den t Voice’ t o t h e n otion of h ow t o develop st u den t lea der sh ip. Th ose a r e t h e 20 r e-con figu r a t ion s.

MID LECTURE QUESTION S
Audience Mem ber: T h e la s t on e, s t u d en t lea d er s h ip . H ow m a n y lea d er s ca n you h a ve a t t h e s ch ool if you ’ve got 1,200, h ow m a n y s t u d en t lea d er s ca n you h a ve?

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D avid H argreaves : You ca n give ever y ch ild a n op p or t u n it y t o exer cis e s om e for m of lea d er s h ip in a w or ld w h er e co-con s t r u ct ion is cr u cia l. If you t h in k of lea d er s h ip in ver y t r a d it ion a l t er m s , lik e a s ch ool’s cou n cil, you ca n on ly a d d a ver y t in y n u m ber of s t u d en t s . Bu t s t u d en t lea d er s h ip s a ys ever y s t u d en t h a s t h e p ot en t ia l t o exer cis e s om e k in d of lea d er s h ip in s om e p a r t of t h eir exp er ien ce of s ch ool. T h a t ’s a ch a llen ge, bu t p eop le h a ve m oved fr om s t u d en t s h a vin g a voice t o a s k , ‘H ow d o you give ever y s t u d en t a ch a n ce t o exer cis e s om e k in d of lea d er s h ip ?’ A big ch a llen ge.

Audience Mem ber: H a ve you a n y exa m p les of wh er e t h a t is a ct u a lly h a p p en in g?

D avid H argreaves : I’ll t ell you of a n in s t a n ce wh er e S u e a n d I w er e givin g a n exa m p le t o s om e loca l a u t h or it y officer s a bou t w h a t w e’d been d oin g w it h s ch ools . T h e h ea d t ea ch er of a s ch ool ca m e w it h s t u d en t s w h o w er e in yea r 8 or 9. T h e s t u d en t s h a d been d oin g obs er va t ion a t s ch ool, s it t in g a t t h e ba ck of a cla s s r a t h er lik e Ofs t ed in s p ect or s , w r it in g d ow n t h e qu a lit ies of t h e les s on a n d t h en givin g feed ba ck . Wh ile t h e h ea d ca m e t o t h e m eet in g, it w a s t h e s t u d en t s w h o m a d e t h e p r es en t a t ion a n d ja w s wer e d r op p in g a m on gs t t h e loca l a u t h or it y p eop le t h a t t h e k id s , w h o w er e 12 or 13 yea r s old , t a lk ed ver y w ell. T h e fir s t qu es t ion a s k ed of t h e s t u d en t s w a s ‘Wh a t d o you s a y t o a t ea ch er if t h e les s on h a s been p r et t y r op ey?’ S o t h e gir ls s a id , ‘Well t h a t ’s n ot a p r oblem . We a lw a ys look for t h e r ea lly s t r on g p oin t s in w h a t t h e t ea ch er ’s d on e a n d w e p u t t h os e ou t fir s t , a n d t h en w e get t o t h e t r ick y bit s a bit la t er .’ An d t h is w en t on . T h ey w er e bein g a s k ed qu it e t ou gh qu es t ion s of t h a t k in d , a n d w h a t w e s a w w a s t h a t t h es e k id s , h a vin g been h elp ed a n d t r a in ed in t h is r ole by a ver y s en s it ive h ea d t ea ch er w er e d evelop in g lea d er s h ip s k ills t h em s elves , a n d t h ey w er e t h en t r a in in g t h e n ext gen er a t ion of s t u d en t s . S o t h e s t a ff h a d t r a in ed t h e fir s t gen er a t ion of s t u d en t obs er ver s , bu t t h en t h e s t u d en t s t ook r es p on s ibilit y for t r a in in g t h e n ext gen er a t ion . N ow t h a t ’s s t u d en t lea d er s h ip , a n d w h a t w e s a w wa s t h is in cr ed ible m a t u r it y. I t h ou gh t w h a t w ou ld I h a ve been lik e a t 12 or 13 t a lk in g a bou t a t ea ch er ’s les s on ? I w ou ld h a ve been t ot a l cr a p , t o be h on es t , a t t h a t . B u t t h es e s t u d en t s wer e gu id ed by a h ea d m is t r es s w h o wa s t ot a lly d evot ed t o believin g t h a t k id s d es er ve t o be given m or e op p or t u n it ies for lea d er s h ip a n d s ocia l m a t u r it y. T h a t ’s a r ea l ca s e.

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Audience Mem ber: I’m a t ea ch er a n d m os t of w h a t you ’r e s a yin g t o m e s eem s lik e t h e r eflect ion s of a m a t u r e a n d r ela t ively en ligh t en ed m a n a ft er a lon g p er iod obs er vin g ed u ca t ion , a n d I ca n s ee a lot of ben efit s in w h a t you ’r e s a yin g a n d of cou r s e a s t h e n ext gen er a t ion com es t h r ou gh you w a n t t h em t o be bet t er . M y con cer n w it h a lot of w h a t you ’ve w r it t en a n d s t a t ed , p a r t icu la r ly a bou t p er s on a lis a t ion is t h a t in t h e en d t h e n ew s u bject s becom e s im p ly lea d er s h ip s o you ’r e s im p ly t r a in in g s t u d en t s t o a s s es s t ea ch er s . In t h is even t , w h a t h a p p en s t o t h e, a n d I h op e I’m n ot bein g t oo r om a n t ic h er e, w h a t h a p p en s t o t h e bea u t y of h is t or y a n d p h ys ics ? D oes t h a t a ll becom e s u bor d in a t e t o t h eir r ole a s lea d er s a n d if t h a t ’s s o a r e t h ey n ot bein g fa ls ely ed u ca t ed t o t h in k t h a t t h eir r ea l ed u ca t ion is in a s s es s in g t h eir t ea ch er s r a t h er t h a n k n ow in g t h eir s u bject s ?

D avid H argreaves : I d on ’t u n d er s t a n d w h y you ’r e con t r a s t in g t h es e. L et m e t a k e h is t or y, beca u s e I w a s t a u gh t h is t or y ver y ba d ly by a m a n w h o s im p ly lect u r ed fr om t h e fr on t a n d bor ed m e t o d ea t h . It t ook m e p r oba bly t en yea r s a ft er t a k in g m y d egr ee t o r ea lis e t h a t a ct u a lly t h er e’s a lot of h is t or y t h a t I n ow en joy r ea d in g. Wh a t m y t ea ch er d id n ’t d o, bu t wh a t a good h is t or y t ea ch er w ou ld n ow d o is t r y t o co-con s t r u ct t h e h is t or y les s on s o t h a t t h e k id s a r e en ga ged , beca u s e t h e u lt im a t e p r oblem w it h lea r n in g is w h et h er t h e k id s a r e en ga ged wit h t h e lea r n in g. Is t h a t fa ir ? T h a t ’s w h a t w e’r e a ll t r yin g t o d o a s t ea ch er s , en ga ge t h em . I t h in k t h a t m os t of m y gen er a t ion a n d m a ybe m os t of t h e p eop le h er e w er e fa ir ly com p lia n t a s k id s in t h e fa ce of t h e ed u ca t ion t h a t t h ey w er e given bu t I’m n ot s u r e t h a t ’s a s t r u e t od a y a s it w a s , s o t ea ch er s h a ve t o be ver y m u ch bet t er a t en ga gin g. I believe t h a t on ce you t r ea t s t u d en t s a s p a r t n er s , a s co-con s t r u ct or s , t h en you r op p or t u n it ies t o en t h u s e t h em w it h p h ys ics or h is t or y a ct u a lly in cr ea s es n ot d im in is h es . S o t h es e a r en ’t a lt er n a t ives . You ’r e n ot t ea ch in g t h em lea d er s h ip a n d s p en d in g n o t im e on h is t or y, you ’r e r u n n in g t h e t w o t oget h er . If s ch ools d id focu s on lea d er s h ip over ot h er s u bject s , you ’d exp ect t h em t o get ver y ba d r es u lt s a n d t h e s ch ools w e’r e w or k in g w it h , I r ep ea t , get a bove a ver a ge r es u lt s by t h e ver y con s er va t ive m ea s u r es t h a t t h e gover n m en t u s es . B y focu s s in g on co-con s t r u ct ion a n d im p r ovin g en ga gem en t , s ch ools a r e get t in g bet t er r es u lt s t h a n t h ey w ou ld if t h ey d id n ’t d o it . S o t o a s ch ool t h a t s a ys , ‘I h a ve n o t im e for lea d er s h ip beca u s e t h er e’s t oo m u ch in t h e N a t ion a l C u r r icu lu m ’, I w ou ld s a y ‘T h a t ’s a s ch ool in t r ou ble, beca u s e it h a s d ecid ed t h a t if it ju s t ja m s

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m or e a n d m or e con t en t in , s om eh ow it ’ll a ll com e r igh t .’ I d on ’t believe t h a t ’s t h e w a y s ch ools w or k , a n d I d on ’t believe t h a t p r od u ces a h a p p y p r od u ct ive s ch ool.

Audience Mem ber: I w a s a t ea ch er for 37 yea r s , t h e la s t 25 yea r s of m y ca r eer w er e in H a ck n ey a n d ou r bigges t p r oblem w a s d ia logu e wit h t h e p a r en t s . N ow you h a d t h a t la u d a ble lis t of d ia logu es t h a t w ou ld be ver y u s efu l t o p u r s u e, bu t t h e t im e m a n a gem en t p r oblem s ju s t t o m e s eem in s u p er a ble. I r a n s p ecia l p r ogr a m m es for p a r en t s ’ n igh t s t o get t h e p a r en t s t h r ou gh t h e d oor ; for exa m p le, w e or ga n is ed a h u ge d is p la y wit h p eop le com in g t o s p ea k a bou t t h e N a t ion a l C u r r icu lu m , wh ich t h e t ea ch er s w er e s t r u gglin g w it h a n d t h e p a r en t s d id n ’t u n d er s t a n d , yet 15 p a r en t s t u r n ed u p . S o h ow d o you en ga ge t h e p a r en t s , beca u s e in m y exp er ien ce t h a t ’s cr u cia l?

D avid H argreaves : Yes it is , bu t I ca n t ell you t h a t s om e of t h e s ch ools w ou ld n ot h a ve p lu gged t h e lin e I’ve p u t h er e. T h ey w ou ld s a y, ‘Wh a t you n eed a r e p a r en t s w h o t r u s t t h e s ch ool a n d d on ’t n eces s a r ily w a n t t o s p en d a lot of t im e t a lk in g w it h t h em .’ On e t h in g w e k n ow fr om r es ea r ch a t t h e U n iver s it y of M a n ch es t er is t h a t s ch ools t a k e ver y d iffer en t views a bou t p a r en t s a n d t h e loca l com m u n it y, bu t t h a t ’s r ea lly t oo big a t op ic for m e t o d r ift in t o h er e. I’m n ot t r yin g t o p r es en t a r om a n t ic p ict u r e. I t h in k in m a n y s ch ools , p a r t icu la r ly in in n er cit ies , t h e ch a llen ges of w or k in g w it h p a r en t s a r e ver y s ever e.

Now, m ovin g on t o t h e t h em e of t h is lectu r e, ‘Wh o r u n s ou r sch ools?’, if we r efer ba ck t o ou r list of 20 r e-con figu r a t ion s a n d if you t r ea t t h em a s a cu be you ca n see

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t h a t th er e a r e 250 possible combin a t ion s of ea ch of t h ose r e-con figu r a t ion s. Th e qu est ion we’r e wor kin g on is wh ich a r e t h e on es t h a t ma t t er ? Beca u se ea ch of t h ose 20 ca n in t er a ct wit h a n yon e of t h e ot h er s, a n d I’m su r e th a t ’s h a ppen in g, a n d t h is is r ea lly in t ellectu a lly ver y ch a llen gin g. E a r lier I sa id t h er e wer e fou r dr iver s a n d fou r m ech a n ism s, bu t in ea ch ca se I didn ’t give you t h e fou r t h . It ’s t h e sa m e t h in g, t h e sa m e dr iver a n d t h e sa me m ech a n ism : th e In t er n et .

Wh y do I sa y t h e In t er n et is cr u cia l t o t h e fu t u r e? It’s beca u se in n ova t ion n et wor k s, wh ich a r e cr u cia l t o th e tr a n sfor m a t ion , r equ ir e th e In ter n et a n d t h e Wor ld Wide Web beca u se, a s th e Amer ica n t ech n ologist Da vid Wein ber ger sa ys, t h e Web is

‘...t h e m ost complex n et wor k ever crea t ed. It is by m a n y or der s of m a gn it u de t h e la r gest collection of h u m a n wr it in gs a n d wor ks in h ist or y. It is fa r m or e r obu st t h a n n et wor ks fa r sm a ller , yet it wa s cr ea ted wit h ou t m a n a ger s. In fa ct, it su cceeded on ly beca u se it s design er s m a de t h e con sciou s decision t o bu ild a n et wor k t h a t wou ld r equ ir e n o cen t r a l con t r ol. You don ’t n eed a n yon e’s per m ission t o join in , t o post wh a tever you wa n t , t o
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r ea d wh a t ot h er s h a ve post ed. Th e Web is pr ofou n dly u n ma n a ged, a n d t h a t is cru cia l t o it s su ccess. It t a kes t r a dit ion a l comm a n d a n d con t r ol st r u ctu r es a n d bu st s th em u p in t o ma n y sm a ll pieces t h a t t h en loosely join t h em selves - a n d t h a t t oo is cr u cia l to it s su ccess.’ Sm a ll P ieces Loosely J oin ed, 2002

Wh a t’s st r ikin g a bou t th is, a n d wh y we’r e gettin g closer t o gover n a n ce, is beca u se Wikipedia is a pr ecise exa m ple of a t r a n sfor m a t ion t h a t is pr ofou n dly u n -m a n a ged. An d let me compa r e th a t wit h J im m y Wa les, wh o r u n s Wikipedia a n d descr ibes h is job a s on e don e wit h ‘n o or ga n isa t ion a t a ll’: ‘I spen d a lot of t im e wr it in g em a ils in ter n a lly, t o t h e commu n it y, t ou ch in g ba se wit h people, discu ssin g issu es th a t come u p on t h e m a ilin g list… As fa r a s wor kin g wit h Wikipedia , I don ’t wr it e a r t icles. Ver y, ver y lit t le do I edit. Bu t I do en ga ge wit h people on policy m a tter s a n d t r y t o set t le dispu t es...

Th er e’s n o sch edu le, t h er e’s n o dir ect ion for t h ese people a t a ll. Nobody’s t h e boss of a n ybody. P eople ju st pick u p pr ojects a n d wor k on t h em . Th ey r emot ely log in t o ser ver s a n d wor k on t h em wh en t h ey n eed ma in t en a n ce. Th ey r econ figu r e t h e n et wor ks wh en t h ey n eed r econ figu r in g. It ’s a ll don e willy-n illy, I m ea n wit h n o or ga n isa t ion a t a ll. An d yes, it wor ks.’

I bet t h a t ’s n ot wh a t t h e h ea d of E n cyclopa edia Br it a n n ica sa ys. An d yet Wik ipedia h a s kn ocked Br it a n n ica for six. Do you t h in k E d Ba lls wou ld sa y? ‘Th e edu ca tion syst em r u n s willy-n illy wit h a lmost n o or ga n isa t ion a t a ll. I ju st wr ite a few em a ils.’ Th a t ’s n ot t h e wa y it wor ks. Bu t t h is is wh a t is h a ppen in g wit h t h e n ew st r u ctu r e of r ela t ion sh ips. Yoch a i Ben kler , wh o h a s wr it t en th e m ost im por t a n t book of t h e la st deca de on n et wor ks a n d t h e im pa ct of t h e Wor ld Wide Web, sa ys:

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‘Th e m ost impor t a n t a spect of t h e n etwor ked in for m a t ion econ om y is t h e possibilit y it open s for r ever sin g th e con t r ol focu s of t h e in du st r ia l econ om y... E m er gin g m odels of in for m a t ion a n d cu lt u r a l pr odu ction , r a dica lly decen t r a lized a n d ba sed on em er gen t pa t ter n s of co-oper a t ion a n d sh a r in g... a r e begin n in g t o t a ke a n ever -la r ger r ole in h ow we pr odu ce m ea n in g - in for m a t ion , kn owledge a n d cu lt u r e...

Th e n et wor ked en vir on m en t m a kes possible a n ew m oda lit y of or ga n izin g pr odu ction : r a dica lly decen t r a lized, colla bor a t ive a n d n on -pr opr iet a r y; ba sed on sh a r in g r esou r ces a n d ou t pu t s a m on g widely dist r ibu t ed, loosely con n ected in dividu a ls wh o co-oper a te wit h on e a n ot h er wit h ou t r elyin g on eit h er m a r ket sign a ls or m a n a ger ia l comm a n ds. Th is is wh a t I ca ll “comm on s-ba sed peer pr odu ction ”.’ Th e Wea lt h of Net wor ks (2006)

So th is is wh a t Ben kler su ggests a de-cen t r a lised mor e colla bor a t ive syst em wou ld look like. Som ebody a sks ‘Is it goin g t o be a n a r ch y?’ An d people sta r t t h in k in g, well, is it ? Yet h e is describin g a syst em t h a t is wor kin g, wh ich is wh y I sta r t ed wit h Wikipedia . Wikipedia works; you ca n ’t qu est ion it , it wor ks. Bu t we’ve got t o a sk, wh a t a r e t h e im plica t ion s of it a s we go a lon g? Ben kler a r gu es:

‘Th e In t er n et a llows in dividu a ls t o a ba n don t h e idea of t h e pu blic sph er e a s pr im a r ily con str u cted on fin ish ed sta tem en t s u t t er ed by a sm a ll set of a ctor s u n der st ood a s th e m edia ... a n d t o move t owa r d a set of socia l pr a ctices t h a t see in dividu a ls a s pa r t icipa t in g in a deba t e. St a t em en t s in t h e pu blic sph er e ca n n ow be seen a s in vit a t ion s for a con ver sa t ion , n ot a s fin ish ed goods... [Th er e is a ] sh ift fr om t h e h u b-a n d-spoke a r ch it ectu r e wit h u n idir ection a l lin ks t o en d poin t s... t o dist r ibu t ed a r ch it ectu r e wit h m u lt idir ection a l con n ection s a m on g a ll n odes in t h e n et wor ked in for m a t ion en vir on m en t .’
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H e h igh ligh t s th a t we’ve gr own u p in a wor ld wh er e we a r e pa ssive con su m er s of t h e m a ss m edia a n d it’s ch a n gin g; Web 2.0 is ch a n gin g u s fr om bein g pa ssive r ecipien ts of pr e-det er m in ed m a ss media , t o in vit a t ion s to con ver sa t ion s a s t h e n ew t ech n ologies become in ter a ctive. An d t h a t ’s pr ecisely wh a t sch ools a r e doin g in a ver y qu iet wa y; it doesn ’t look a ll t h a t dr a m a t ic bu t it ’s a ctu a lly occu r r in g. Now, we ca n see syst em r e-design a s a complex fu sion of m a ss cu st om isa t ion a n d peer pr odu ction t h r ou gh t h ese in n ova t ion n et wor ks a n d it ’s a pr ocess th a t h a s gon e a lon g qu iet ly u n der t h e su r fa ce.

Bu t t h er e a r e som e ba r r ier s. On e is u n r econ st r u cted h ea d t ea ch er s. Wh en I wor k ed in th e Depa r t m en t of E du ca t ion I u sed t o go t o Ton y Bla ir ’s even ts wh en h e’d a ddr ess h ea d t ea ch er s a n d in vit e t h em t o No. 10. Aft er I’d wa t ch ed sever a l of t h em I r ea lised wh a t wa s goin g on . Th er e wa s Ton y tellin g a ll of t h ese h ea d t ea ch er s h ow won der fu l t h ey wer e, a n d h e’d a n im a ge of t h e kin d of ch a r ism a t ic, m a ch o lea der . I su dden ly r ea lised t h a t wh a t h e wa s sa yin g wa s, ‘You gu ys a r e a ll ter r ific beca u se you ’r e a ctu a lly edu ca tion a l ver sion s of m e’, a n d it ’s t r u e t h ey wer e, bu t t h ey wer e n ot by a n y m ea n s, a lwa ys, t h e kin d of h ea ds I’ve been t a lk in g a bou t . An d t h er e’s a n ot h er pr oblem ; t h ey’r e a lm ost a ll over fift y, so t h ey don ’t fu lly u n der st a n d wh a t ’s goin g on wit h Web 2.0 a n d Wikipedia Wor ld. I t a lk ed t o a r ecen t con fer en ce of h ea d t ea ch er s a n d I cou ldn ’t fin d a n yon e wh o wou ld defin e a ‘wiki’ for m e.

Th is lea ds t o t h e qu est ion , t o wh om sh ou ld we t u r n ? Well, th is is t h e differ en ce: Web 1.0 t o Web 2.0. My gen er a t ion su r fs t h e web; you n gst er s peer t h e web, t h ey u se t h e web t o m eet a n d in t er a ct wit h ot h er people. Don Ta pscott a n d An t h on y Willia m s, in t h eir fa m ou s book Wikin om ics (2006) pu t it t h is wa y:

‘Th e Web is evolvin g fr om a n et wor k of Web sit es t h a t en a ble fir ms t o pr esen t in for m a t ion … in t o a compu tin g pla t for m in it s own r igh t … Th e In t er n et is becomin g a gia n t compu ter t h a t ever y on e ca n pr ogr a m ,
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pr ovidin g a n in fr a st r u ctu r e for cr ea tivit y, pa r t icipa t ion , sh a r in g a n d self-or ga n iza t ion ...’

Th ey a r e wr it in g a bou t t h e wor ld t h ey see open in g u p, th a t you n g people slot in t o n a t u r a lly bu t t h a t m ost of u s don ’t. Now, t o wh om sh ou ld we t u r n ? I t h in k t h e a n swer is st r a igh t for wa r d: it ’s Gen er a tion Y, a n ybody bor n a ft er 1980. Th e fu t u r e lies h er e beca u se t h ey’r e t h e gen er a t ion t h a t h a s exper ien ce of blogs a n d wik is. Th ey’ll kn ow a bou t F a cebook, MySpa ce, You Tu be, F lickr , Digg a n d Secon d Life. Now for a n yon e bor n befor e 1980 wh o kn ows a ll t h ese sit es, you ’r e a n h on or a r y m ember of Gen er a t ion Y. Bu t m ost of you won ’t be. If we t u r n t o som e r esea r ch a bou t 7 t o 16 yea r olds

In England... 7 to 16 year olds: spend more time online: 2.7 hrs (boys) 2.6 hrs (girls) than on watching TV: 1.9 hrs (boys) 2.1 hrs (girls) 79% have TV in their bedroom but only 23% have internet access in their bedroom What will happen when they all have internet access in their bedroom?

we ca n see you n g people a r e spen din g m or e t im e on lin e t h a n wa t ch in g TV. Th is is a ver y st r ikin g figu r e. Yet 79% h a ve a TV in t h eir bedr oom wh ile on ly 23% h a ve on lin e a ccess in t h eir bedr oom . Wh y? Ma n y kids h a ve a t elevision in t h eir bedr oom beca u se t h eir pa r en t s oft en du mp t h e old TV t h er e. Th e in t er est in g poin t is t h is, th ey’r e spen din g m or e t im e on lin e t h a n wa t ch in g TV, yet in t h eir bedr oom s t h ey’ve mor e a ccess t o TV. So, wh a t ’s goin g t o h a ppen wh en t h ey’ve got on lin e a ccess in t h eir bedr oom s, wh ich is goin g t o come ver y fa st wit h Wi-F i a n d clou d compu t in g? My pr ediction is TV wa tch in g will go down a n d t h e u se of t h e in t er a ctive websit es will r ise. Cla y Sh ir ky, wh o t ea ch es a n d wr ite a bou t t h e socia l a n d econ om ic a ffects of t h e In t er n et , ca pt u r es wh a t it is like t o be you n g a n d t o fa ce t h e n ew t ech n ologies:
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‘It ’s wh en a t ech n ology becomes n or ma l, th en u biqu it ou s, a n d fin a lly so per va sive a s to be in visible, t h a t r ea lly pr ofou n d ch a n ges h a ppen , a n d for you n g people t oda y, ou r n ew socia l tools h a ve pa ssed n or ma l a n d a r e h ea din g t o u biqu itou s, a n d in visible is comin g.’ H er e Com es E ver ybody: Th e P ower of Or ga n izin g wit h Or ga n iza t ion s (2008)

Th e t a k en -for -gr a n ted wor ld of you n g people is fu ll of t h is, in a wa y I fea r it ’s n ever goin g t o be for m e, a n d I su spect for m a n y of you . Now, t o in vest in Gen er a t ion Y is t h e ch a llen ge to a h ea d tea ch er ; you ’ve got to in vest in Gen er a t ion Y. It m ea n s h ea ds will h a ve t o m ove fr om a syst em wh er e th ey’ve a st a ff developm en t policy a n d a policy for st u den t lea der sh ip a n d t h er e’s a th ick lin e bet ween t h em to on e wh er e t h ey’ve a policy for ba by-boomer s a n d Gen er a t ion X a n d a n ot h er for Gen er a t ion Y. Som e of Gen er a t ion Y will be st a ff a n d som e will be st u den t s. Th e t r a dit ion a l lin e bet ween st a ff a n d st u den t s will become th in , a n d t h e t h ick lin e will come bet ween older st a ff a n d you n g st a ff a n d st u den t s. I t h in k we sh a ll see t h is sta r t t o occu r in sch ools a n d it will be a r ea l ch a llen ge for h ea ds, beca u se we’ve a lwa ys dr a wn t h e lin e a t a differ en t poin t .
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Now, t h e em pir e will st r ike ba ck. J u st a s in t h e m edia th ey’r e st r ikin g ba ck a ga in st Web 2.0, so t h e gover n m en t will st r ike ba ck in edu ca tion :

‘It ’s a n a t u r a l r ea ction , wh en a t t a cked, t o h u n ker down a n d a dopt a comm a n d-a n d-con t r ol men t a lit y.’ Or i Br a fm a n a n d Rod A Beckst r om , Th e St a r fish a n d t h e Spider : Th e Un st oppa ble P ower of Lea der less Or ga n isa t ion s, 2006

Th is lea ds m e t o look a t th e cu r r en t r ole of gover n m en t in E n gla n d, n ow we’r e in t o gover n a n ce. I t h in k t h e gover n m en t is cu r r en t ly a bsolu t ely fa ilin g to u n der st a n d t h e ch a n ges in societ y, a n d so it n ecessa r ily doesn ’t see t h e poten t ia l of t r a n sfor m a t ion . It ’s a lso fa ilin g t o u n der st a n d th a t co-con str u ction a pplies a t a secon d level n ot ju st bet ween t ea ch er a n d st u den t bu t a lso bet ween gover n m en t a n d sch ools a n d tea ch er s a n d st u den t s. As a r esu lt of t h a t , it ca n ’t cr ea t e t h e pa r t n er sh ips t o u n lock t h e poten t ia l of t h e n ew t ech n ologies wit h in t h e edu ca t ion ser vice.

‘Dyn a mic gover n m en t s r em a in por ou s. Ren ewa l r a r ely comes fr om wit h in . On e of t h e opt ica l illu sion s of gover n m en t is t h a t t h ose in side of it th in k of t h em selves a s t h e dr iver s of ch a n ge… Yet m ost fa r -r ea ch in g idea s a n d ch a n ges come fr om ou t side… Gover n m en t s a r e m or e oft en veh icles th a n in it ia t or s. Th ey pla y a r ole in em beddin g t h ese ch a n ges bu t t ypica lly t h ey get in volved on ly a t a la t e st a ge… Th e sm a r t er gover n m en t s a r ou n d t h e wor ld r ea lise t h a t t h ey n eed t o bu ild in n ova tion in t o t h eir ever yda y wor k in g: t h r ou gh exper im en t a l zon es a n d pilot s, compet it ive fu n ds a n d r ewa r ds for pr om isin g idea s. An d n ew idea s n eed t im e t o evolve pr efer a bly a wa y fr om t h e spot ligh t … Most r a dica l ch a n ge h a s to st a r t ou tside gover n m en t , u su a lly fr om t h e bot t om r a th er t h a n t h e t op.’ Geoff Mu lga n (2004)

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I’ve qu ot ed Geoff Mu lga n , wh o wa s t h e h ea d of st r a t egy in No. 10 du r in g t h e Bla ir yea r s, a t som e h er e len gt h . H is commen t is fa m ou s a n d I sh ow it h er e beca u se I t h in k it ’s dr a m a tic in it s im plica t ion . Now, we ca n a sk, ‘Wa s th is Ton y Bla ir ’s st r a t egy? Is t h is h ow Ton y Bla ir wa n ted to r u n t h e edu ca tion ser vice?’ I wou ld sa y it looks a lm ost th e opposit e. Geoff is on e of t h e sma r t est you n g gu ys a r ou n d, n ow r u n n in g Th e You n g F ou n da t ion . H e believes you don ’t a lwa ys n eed t o t h in k u p a gr ea t idea in t h e cen tr e a n d impose it on t h e syst em . In st ea d you look a r ou n d, you fin d t h e gr ea t idea s ou t t h er e t h a t a r e oper a tin g a n d t h en you u se gover n m en t t o pu ll t h em ba ck in t o t h e syst em a n d spr ea d t h em . Th a t ’s wh a t t h e Bla ir yea r s t a u gh t h im , bu t it ’s n ot t h e wa y Bla ir beh a ved du r in g h is yea r s a s pr ime m in ister . In t er est in gly, t h er e’s a n a lm ost pa r a llel qu ot a t ion fr om Ta pscott a n d Willia m s:

‘Wh ile h ier a r ch ies a r e n ot va n ish in g, pr ofou n d ch a n ges in t h e n a t u r e of t ech n ology, dem ogr a ph ics, a n d t h e globa l econ om y a r e givin g r ise t o power fu l n ew m odels of pr odu ction ba sed on comm u n ity, colla bor a t ion , a n d self-or ga n iza t ion r a t h er t h a n on h ier a r ch y a n d con t r ol... Million s... n ow u se blogs, wikis, ch a t r oom s a n d per son a l br oa dca st in g t o a dd t h eir voices to t h e vocifer ou s st r ea m of dia logu e a n d deba t e... E m ployees dr ive per for m a n ce by colla bor a t in g wit h peer s a cr oss or ga n iza t ion a l bou n da r ies... Cu st om er s become “pr osu mer s” by co-cr ea tin g goods a n d ser vices... Sma r t compa n ies a r e en cou r a gin g, r a t h er th a n figh tin g...’ Wik in om ics

J u st a s Geoff Mu lga n u sed t h e t er m ‘sm a r t gover n m en t ’, Ta pscott a n d Willia m s u se t h e t er m ‘sma r t compa n ies’ t o r efer t o t h ose compa n ies t h a t a r e en cou r a gin g t h e ch a n ge r a t h er t h a n figh t in g it .

Th e cla ssic ca se is IBM, wh ich opposed open sou r ce, a n a ppr oa ch t o design , developm en t a n d dist r ibu t ion t h a t m a kes sou r ce code fr eely a va ila ble t o t h e
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gen er a l pu blic, a s fir m ly a s Microsoft a n d Bill Ga t es did. Bu t IBM h a ve ch a n ged policy a n d n ow t h ey’r e wor kin g wit h open sou r ce; t h ey’r e n ot t r ea t in g it a s opposit ion , bu t a s a pot en t ia l colla bor a t or a n d t h ey’r e m a kin g m on ey a n d good bu sin ess ou t of it . In exa ctly th e sa m e wa y, E n ca r t a is colla psin g bu t Wikipedia is t h r ivin g.

Now, I r et u r n t o t h e qu est ion s a t t h e h ea d of th is lectu r e:

‘Wh o r u n s ou r sch ools? H ow well a r e t h ey doin g it ? An d a r e t h ey t h e best people in t h e r igh t kin ds of pa r tn er sh ip? Wh o sh ou ld r u n ou r sch ools t o m a ke t h em fit for sch oolin g in t h e 21st cen t u r y?’

Th ey look like ver y old-fa sh ion ed qu est ion s bu t wh en you pu t t h em in t h e con t ext of wh a t I h a ve sa id, I t h in k you ’r e likely t o come u p wit h differ en t a n swer s; I wou ld n ot h a ve don e so m yself t en yea r s a go. So, let ’s look a t wh a t h a ppen ed. Twen t y yea r s a go, wh en I wa s wor kin g for a loca l a u t h or it y, t h ese a r e t h e ch a n ges th a t occu r r ed in t h e 1988 E du ca t ion Refor m Act:

In cr ea sed cen t r a l gover n m en t power Redu ced loca l gover n m en t power In cr ea sed sch ool fin a n cia l power

Th e Con ser va tives in t r odu ced th em in 1988 wit h Ken n eth Ba ker , La bou r ’s kept on wit h t h em , a n d t h e qu est ion we’ve got t o fa ce is: a r e t h ey a h elp or h in dr a n ce t o t h e sm a r t gover n a n ce t h a t will dr ive t r a n sfor m a t ion a n d u n lea sh t h e cr ea t ivit y of Gen er a t ion Y a n d t h e wiki r evolu t ion ? I wa n t t o a r gu e th a t t h ey’r e h in der in g th e t r a n sfor m a t ion .

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So, a s we kn ow, t h e dr iver is t o t r a n sfor ma tion . Th e gover n m en t is en cou r a gin g colla bor a tion a n d, I wa n t t o be fa ir t o gover n m en t, t h ey’r e doin g good t h in gs, bu t it’s t o a st r ictly lim it ed a gen da t h a t ’s pr e-decided. Th e gover n m en t is in vest in g in ICT, bu t it ’s on t h e St a n da r ds Agen da . Th e gover n m en t is u sin g t h e la n gu a ge of em power m en t ; t h a t ’s welcome, bu t it ’s st ill pr a ctisin g comm a n d a n d con t r ol. We’r e seein g a gover n m en t fost er in g diver sit y; t h a t ’s good, bu t it wa n t s t o dir ect a n d r est r ict it . Th e gover n m en t is st imu la t in g in n ova t ion with a n in n ova t ion u n it , bu t it ’s on it s own a gen da a n d it ’s still cen t r a lly led. Th e gover n m en t ’s a dvoca t in g t r a n sfor m a t ion bu t t o a dva n ce t h e St a n da r ds Agen da . An d m ost of a ll, th e gover n m en t wa n t s sch ools t r a n sfor m ed bu t n ot it self a n d t h a t is t h e gover n m en t ’s fa t a l fla w. It sees it self a s t h e tr a n sfor m er of t h e r est of u s, n ot t h a t we’r e a ll goin g t h r ou gh a pr ocess of ver y complex t r a n sfor ma t ion , wh ich is bot h exh ila r a t in g a n d fr igh ten in g.

An d, wh a t a bou t loca l dr iver s for t r a n sfor m a t ion ? Well, loca l gover n m en t is con fu sed a bou t it s r ole, isn ’t it? Loca l a u t h or ities a ct a s en for cer s a n d policem en for t h e st a t e; t h a t su r ely is a n er r or . Th ey’r e n ot r espected by ma n y of t h e h ea ds I wor k wit h beca u se t h ey’r e bein g dist r a ct ed fr om m u lt i-a gen cy co-or din a t ion of ‘E ver y Ch ild Ma t t er s’ t o a ct a s policem en for gover n m en t . So, t r a n sfor m a t ion is t a k in g pla ce bu t t h e gover n a n ce a r r a n gemen t s a r e h in der in g it . Ton y Bla ir fa m ou sly sa id, ‘We’r e a t ou r best wh en we’r e a t ou r boldest a n d we’ve n ot been bold en ou gh .’ H e n ever spoke a t r u er wor d. An d th is is wh er e I wou ld con clu de, t h is is wh a t we n eed to do t o get t h e t r a n sfor ma t ion wor kin g. F ir st , gover n m en t volu n t a r ily h a s t o r edu ce m a n y of it s power s; we’ve got t o t u r n t h eir comm a n d a n d con t r ol policy in t o r ever se a n d st op micr o-m a n a gin g sch ools.

Of cou r se t h e t h in g wou ld be a n a r ch ic; it wou ld fa ll t o bit s, if som eon e isn ’t con t r ollin g t h e ba sic design fea t u r es. Gover n m en t h a s t h e du ty t o set t h e ba sic design fea t u r es of t h e syst em a s a wh ole: we do n eed a dm ission s policies, we do n eed a fr a m ewor k for t h e cu r r icu lu m , a n d we do n eed t o decide wh et h er we wa n t
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a selective syst em or we don ’t . Issu es su ch a s t h is a r e t h e du t y of gover n m en t . Bu t t h en it sh ou ld fost er dist r ibu t ive in n ova t ion a mon gst sch ools beca u se t h ey ca n do th e kn owledge cr ea t ion , ca pt u r e a n d dissem in a t ion wh ich will pu sh t h e t r a n sfor m a t ion for wa r d. It ca n ’t be don e in a m in ist r y, a n d t h a t m ea n s th a t h ea d t ea ch er s a r e t h e a r ch it ects of t h ese in n ova t ion n et wor ks beca u se t h a t ’s wh a t we’ve lea r n t a t t h e Specia list Sch ools a n d Aca dem ies Tr u st . E m ployees sh ou ld be bett er r epr esen t ed on gover n in g bodies, pa r t ly beca u se t h ey kn ow a lot m or e a bou t it t h a n we do, a n d h ea d t ea ch er s sh ou ld be better r epr esen t ed in t h e loca l a u t h or it ies, beca u se t h ey cou ld t h en dr ive som e of it t o bein g m u ch m or e su ppor t ive of sch ools. An d t h e loca l a u t h or it ies sh ou ld n ot be policem en for t h e st a t e; t h ey sh ou ld be t h e br oker s, t h e ca ta lyst s wh o a r e wor kin g on t h e colla bor a tion t o get ‘E ver y Ch ild Ma t t er s’ t o wor k, wh ich is a h u ge a n d impor t a n t t a sk for t h e fu t u r e of ch ildr en in t h is cou n tr y. An d gover n m en t sh ou ld see it self n ot a s in comm a n d a n d con t r ol bu t a s a syst em in t egr a t or , a n or ch est r a t or , a dissem in a t or in su ppor t of sch ool-led in n ova t ion , su ppor t ed by t h e loca l a u t h or it ies. In ot h er wor ds t h ey sh ou ld beh a ve m u ch m or e like a Depa r t m en t of Tr a de a n d In du st r y t h a t doesn ’t t r y t o r u n in du st r ies bu t is su ppor t ive of t h em .

We n eed a m in ist r y t h a t does t h a t , in st ea d of m icr o-m a n a gin g. An d h ea d t ea ch er s m a y h a ve to r edu ce th eir power ; I th in k t h ey ma y h a ve t o give you n ger st a ff a n d st u den t s power s t o do som e of th e co-con st r u ction of th e fu t u r e, beca u se it is t h ey wh o a r e goin g t o dr ive u s t h r ou gh . It’s n ot goin g to be m y gen er a tion or m ost of you r s. An d t h a t m ea n s t h er e will be n ew m odels of t ea ch er edu ca t ion , pr ofession a l developmen t a n d lea der sh ip t o su st a in t h e in n ova t ion , wh ich will come for wa r d if th e gover n m en t ca n keep it s sticky fin ger s off t r yin g to decide t h e t ea ch er -edu ca tion m odels of t h e fu t u r e. Th a t will m ea n h ea d t ea ch er s ca n in vest in m odels of st u den t lea der sh ip, I t h in k t h e h ea ds wer e r igh t t o sa y St u den t Voice a n d st u den t lea der sh ip will dr ive edu ca t ion for wa r d, a n d we n eed t o give t h em power s t o in vest in it . An d most of a ll, we n eed mor e Gen er a tion Y,
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you n g t ea ch er s a n d stu den t s, on gover n in g bodies. Th is lea ds m e t o a qu ick wor d on a ccou n t a bilit y, beca u se you m a y sa y, ‘Well wh er e is t h e a ccou n t a bilit y in you r sh ift in gover n a n ce?’ I wou ld sa y, ‘Ba ck t o t h e loca l.’ We sh ou ldn ’t be a ccou n t a ble to t h e cen t r e, t h er e’s n o wa y t h e cen t r e ca n h old t h e ma jor a ccou n t a bilit y ca r ds. We n eed mor e flexible a n d wider su ccess cr it er ia for wh a t m a k es a sch ool ‘good’. We’ve got t o get a wa y fr om t h e n a r r ow lea gu e ta ble view of wh a t m a kes a good sch ool. Most of a ll, t h e r ole of t h e cen t r e is t o m on it or t h e effectiven ess of t h ese loca l a ccou n t a bilit ies of sch ools t o th eir gover n in g body, t h eir comm u n it ies a n d t h e loca l a u t h or it y.

In su m ma r y we st a r t ed wit h Wik ipedia , we wen t t h r ou gh th e st or y of sch ool-led r e-design t o t h e t r a n sfor ma t ion of sch oolin g in t h e 21st cen t u r y a n d I will en d wit h a n ot h er qu ota t ion fr om Ta pscott a n d Willia m s. Th is is m y pictu r e of t h e fu t u r e t h a t ’s exh ila r a t in g bu t fr igh t en in g, a n d t h is is t h e qu est ion I lea ve you wit h ; do you fin d t h is ch a llen ge exh ila r a tin g or fr igh t en in g?

‘Th e en d r esu lt m igh t look m or e like a J a ckson P ollock pa in t in g t h a n a t r a dit ion a l oga n iza tion a l flow ch a r t , bu t t h is m u ch m or e gr a n u la r a n d colla bor a tive division of la bou r will en a ble a m or e flexible a n d flu id a ppr oa ch t o in n ova t ion .’ Wik in om ics

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QU ESTION S

Audience Mem ber: You s t a r t ed off t a lk in g a bou t N u p ed ia a n d Wik ip ed ia . C a n you en vis a ge a n ed u ca t ion a l s ys t em t h a t is ba s ed on a w ik i for m a t ?

D avid H argreaves : N ot ea s ily, bu t w h a t I t h in k w e ca n s ee is t h e begin n in gs of t h a t . T h e p oin t is , I t h in k in t h e yea r 2000 n o on e w ou ld h a ve p r ed ict ed Wik ip ed ia , a n d it ’s in t er es t in g t h a t S a n ger t h ou gh t it w a s goin g t o be a d is a s t er , even t h ou gh h e’d been a co-fou n d er of it . An d I t h in k t h e Wik ip ed ia p eop le w er e a s t on is h ed by w h a t h a p p en ed ; t h ey w er e a s t on is h ed by t h e la ck of va n d a lis m ; t h ey w er e a s t on is h ed by t h e fa ct t h a t it s p r ea d t h r ou gh t h e w or ld ; t h ey w er e a s t on is h ed by t h e fa ct t h a t t h ey en d ed u p w it h over n in e m illion a r t icles . S o, I d on ’t t h in k it ’s ea s y t o p r ed ict . Wh a t I s ee goin g on in s ch ools is t h is s p ir it of colla bor a t ion , of d iffer en t u s es of t h e In t er n et , of p eop le r ela t in g in d iffer en t wa ys . T h e a u t h or s of t h e book s I’ve qu ot ed fr om - I h op e s om e of you w ill r ea d , t h e B en k la r , t h e T a p s cot t a n d Willia m s – a r e begin n in g t o s ee t h a t a d iffer en t k in d of w or ld is op en in g u p w it h en or m ou s s p eed , yet in t h e la s t 20 yea r s of t h e 20t h cen t u r y t h e t r a ject or y of t h e n ew t ech n ologies w a s s t ill ver y u n clea r . An d I t h in k t h e w a y w e u s ed t h e n ew t ech n ologies in s ch ools w a s ver y, ver y t en t a t ive. S u d d en ly, Web 2.0 is op en in g u p a ll k in d s of n ew t h in gs t h a t a r e goin g t o h a p p en a n d I t h in k we’ve ju s t got t o h a ve a cer t a in d egr ee of t r u s t . T h e h ea d t ea ch er s I’ve been wor k in g w it h a r e ext r em ely s en s ible m en a n d w om en , a n d t h ey’r e ver y con s ciou s t h a t t h ey’ll ba ck s om e t h in gs w h ich m a y n ot w or k , bu t t h ey’r e goin g t o h a ve t o t r u s t t h eir collea gu es t o w or k on n ew t h in gs a n d s ee w h a t com es ou t a n d t h en d r a w t h e bes t ou t of t h em . I t h in k t h a t ’s t h e clim a t e t h e gover n m en t w a n t s t o cr ea t e, on e of d eep p r ofes s ion a l t r u s t t h a t s a ys , ‘T h e fu t u r e is u n cer t a in . We d on ’t k n ow w h er e it ’s goin g. B u t ou r s u s p icion is t h a t , if w e w a n t t o be a t t h e lea d in g ed ge of ver y h igh s t a n d a r d s , w it h k id s p r ep a r ed for a ver y d iffer en t w or ld , w e m a y h a ve t o t a k e s om e of t h os e r is k s .’

Audience Mem ber: J u s t a cou p le of p oin t s , it follow s on fr om t h a t p oin t a ct u a lly, you t a lk ed a bou t ba r r ier s t ow a r d s t h e en d , a cou p le of ba r r ier s , in clu d in g u n r econ s t r u ct ed h ea d s w h o a ct u a lly d on ’t m od el t h e job ver y w ell for ot h er p eop le bu t you d id n ’t s a y t oo m u ch a bou t gover n in g bod ies . I ju s t w on d er ed w h et h er you t h ou gh t t h e t r a d it ion a l m od el of gover n in g bod ies w a s a s ou t d a t ed a s m a n y ot h er t h in gs you ’ve m en t ion ed t h er e.

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D avid H argreaves : I t h in k t h er e’s m u ch va r ia t ion in gover n or p r a ct ice. It d ep en d s cr u cia lly on t h e ch a ir of t h e gover n in g bod y a n d t h e h ea d t ea ch er . I t h in k if t h ey believe in co-con s t r u ct ion , t h e gover n in g bod y ca n m ove in t o qu it e a d iffer en t r ela t ion s h ip t o t h e p eop le in t h e s ch ool, bu t t h e old -fa s h ion ed gover n in g bod ies , s om e of wh ich I k n ow, s t r ik e m e es s en t ia lly a s ch a r a d e w it h t h e h ea d t ea ch er r ea lly r u n n in g t h e s ch ool a n d t h e gover n or s a p p a r en t ly h a vin g con t r ol over t h in gs t h a t t h ey n eit h er u n d er s t a n d n or r ea lly con t r ol. An d I t h in k w e’ve got a w h ole r a n ge a cr os s t h a t s p ect r u m . N ow h ow m a n y fa ll in t o w h ich ca t egor y, I h a ven ’t en ou gh exp er ien ce t o s a y, bu t I w ill s a y t h a t s om e of t h e h ea d s t h a t S u e a n d I h a ve w or k ed w it h - I t h in k I’m p in ch in g you r view s S u e - h a ve s a id t o u s t h a t w or k in g w it h t h e ch a ir of t h e gover n in g bod y t o get t h es e t h in gs m ovin g h a s been cr u cia l t o t h eir s u cces s , is t h a t fa ir ?

S ue William s on: T h a t ’s t r u e D a vid , com in g p a r t icu la r ly ou t of a r a n ge of con ver s a t ion s w e h a d w it h a h ea d a s h e wa s m ovin g t owa r d s a fed er a t ion , a n d s o on , a n d w h en w e m et gover n or s , t h ey r ecogn is ed t h a t t h eir r ole h a d t o ch a n ge. I t h in k of a ll t h e 12 s ys t em r e-d es ign er s a ll h a ve m oved in ch a n gin g gover n a n ce.

D avid H argreaves : It is ver y im p or t a n t t o h ea r a n d you ’r e qu it e r igh t t o h a ve r a is ed it bu t I t h in k w e’r e n ot m ovin g a s fa s t a s w e s h ou ld t o t h e gover n or s a s co-con s t r u ct or s .

Audience Mem ber: As you w er e d es cr ibin g, t h is co-con s t r u ct ion a n d a ll t h e d iffer en t a r r a n gem en t s t h a t you felt s h ou ld be br ou gh t in t o s ch ools , I w a s ver y m u ch r em in d ed of t h e s or t s of t h in gs t h a t w er e bein g d on e a t s ch ools lik e m a n y yea r s a go. D o you r ecogn is e t h a t lik en es s ? T h e S t u d en t Voice, t h e p er s on a lis a t ion of lea r n in g: is it s im p ly t h e n ew t ech n ology t h a t ’s goin g t o m a k e it w or k t h is t im e? Wh y d id it becom e s o d en igr a t ed la s t t im e?

D avid H argreaves : I’ve a lwa ys been a s u p p or t er of s om e k in d of a n a t ion a l cu r r icu lu m . I t h in k t h er e a r e s om e p ower fu l a r gu m en t s t o be m a d e for it , bu t ou r s beca m e s o t op -h ea vy a n d p r es cr ip t ive t h a t m u ch of t h e cr ea t ivit y w a s p u s h ed ou t of t h e s ys t em , a n d I t h in k t h a t if w e p u s h cr ea t ivit y ou t of a n y m a jor p u blic s er vice lik e h ea lt h or ed u ca t ion , you ’r e in s er iou s t r ou ble. I t h in k m a n y of t h e h ea d s w e’r e w or k in g w it h w ou ld s a y, a n d I’ve h ea r d t h em s a y it t o t h eir collea gu es , ‘You h a ve m or e r oom t o m a n oeu vr e a s a h ea d t ea ch er t h a n you t h in k you

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h a ve.’ An d m a n y ot h er h ea d s a r e s a yin g, ‘I ca n ’t d o t h a t beca u s e I’m n ot s u p p os ed t o’, bu t t h es e h ea d s a r e oft en s a yin g, ‘Well, I’m ju s t goin g t o d o it .’ T h a t ’s w h y I d es cr ibe m a n y of t h es e h ea d s a s cou r a geou s .

Audience Mem ber: I t h in k m y p oin t r ea lly wa s t h a t w h en h ea d t ea ch er s r ea lly d id h a ve t h a t fr eed om a n d a gr ea t d ea l of in n ova t ion d id t a k e p la ce, it is con ven t ion a lly r ega r d ed t o h a ve been a fa ilu r e ... a n d t h e r ea s on w e’ve h a d a ll of t h is cen t r a l d ir ect ion w a s beca u s e t h er e’d been t oo m u ch in n ova t ion a n d t oo m u ch fr eed om .

D avid H argreaves : I d on ’t t h in k t h e a r gu m en t w a s t h er e’d been t oo m u ch in n ova t ion . T h a t w a s n ot t h e view of L a bou r m in is t er s or C on s er va t ive m in is t er s in t h e la t e 1970s . Wh a t t h ey s a id w a s t h a t t h er e wer e n o p r op er cu r r icu lu m p olicies a n d t h ey s a id t h a t in t h e ligh t of t h e fin d in gs of H er M a jes t y’s in s p ect or s , w h ich wa s a t r u s t wor t h y s u r vey. S h ir ley Willia m s , w h en s h e w a s S ecr et a r y of S t a t e, a bly d em on s t r a t ed t h a t m os t L E As , a s t h ey w er e t h en , d id n ot h a ve cu r r icu lu m p olicies . S o t h er e wa s a gr eem en t a cr os s t h e p a r t ies . N ow t h e p r oblem w it h in n ova t ion t h en w a s t h a t it let a t h ou s a n d flow er s bloom , it wa s n ot t es t ed a n d it w a s n ot m oved a r ou n d . In n ova t ion n et wor k s a r e d iffer en t in t w o w a ys : fir s t of a ll t h ey h a ve a m u ch m or e d is cip lin ed view of in n ova t ion - it ’s n ot a t h ou s a n d flower s t h a t bloom - a n d s econ d ly, w h en you ’ve t es t ed it , you t r a n s fer a n d d is s em in a t e t h e k n ow led ge a cr os s t h e n et w or k . T h en t h er e w er e n o in n ova t ion n et wor k s a n d t h er e w a s n o s t a n d a r d s ys t em t o a llow s ch ools t o get in t o n et w or k s .

Audience Mem ber: I t h in k I a gr ee w it h ever yt h in g you s a id , in clu d in g w h a t you s a id a bou t t h e gover n m en t s a n d t h eir s t u bbor n , con t r ollin g p ow er s . Ar e t h ey lis t en in g t o you ? If n ot , h ow a r e w e goin g t o ch a n ge it ?

D avid H argreaves : Well t h a t ’s a ver y good qu es t ion , I’m n ot s u r e gover n m en t s s h ou ld lis t en t o m e. Wh a t I’ve lea r n ed in t h e la s t few yea r s I’ve lea r n ed fr om a n d w it h t h e s ch ool lea d er s I’ve been wor k in g wit h a n d w h a t I w a n t t o s ee h a p p en is n ot s o-ca lled p u n d it s or p r ofes s or s or exp er t s , p eop le lik e m e, t r yin g t o p u s h t h e gover n m en t . I wa n t t h em t o en t er in t o a m or e s er iou s d ia logu e w it h t h e p r ofes s ion , t o be h on es t . E ver y yea r t h e T r u s t h a s a m a jor n a t ion a l

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con fer en ce w it h a cou p le of t h ou s a n d p eop le in B ir m in gh a m , a n d m in is t er s n ea r ly a lwa ys com e a n d t a lk . At t h e con fer en ce la s t yea r , I s a id t h a t w h a t I w a n t ed t o h a p p en w a s n ot for a m in is t er t o com e in a n d d eliver a s p eech t o t h e a s s em bled 2,000 h ea d s a n d t h en get ba ck in h is ca r a n d r et u r n t o L on d on , I w a n t ed t h e m in is t er t o s it t h er e a n d t a lk w it h t h e h ea d s a bou t t h e fu t u r e. B eca u s e w e’ve got m in is t er s in t h e p os it ion wh er e t h ey go a n d m a k e s p eech es bu t t h ey d on ’t a ct u a lly in t er a ct fu lly a n d k n ow w h a t ’s goin g on . S o, I’ve lea r n t m or e, - m os t of w h a t I’ve t a lk ed a bou t t on igh t - d ir ect ly fr om s ch ools . M y job h a s been t o lin k it t o t h e w id er s t u ff t h a t ’s goin g on , a ca d em ic w r it in g a bou t t h e fu t u r e of t h e web a n d s o on . S o I t h in k it ’s r ea lly get t in g t h e d ia logu e, s o t h e gover n m en t believes t oo it h a s t o be t r a n s for m ed if t h ey w a n t a t r a n s for m a t ion , a n d t h a t m ea n s a lea r n in g con ver s a t ion w it h t h e p r ofes s ion of a k in d t h ey’r e n ot u s ed t o h a vin g.

Audience Mem ber: I u s ed t o w or k in IT in s ocia l com p u t in g, s o a cou p le of qu es t ion s : on e a bou t d ea t h a n d on e a bou t n et w or k s . You d r a w qu it e a lot of p a r a llels w it h bu s in es s w or ld s . An d p a r t of w h a t ch u r n s t h e n et wor k , k eep s t h em com in g is t h e fa ct t h a t com p a n ies d ie on a r egu la r ba s is . Q u es t ion on e, h ow d oes t h a t a p p ly t o s ch ools ? An d qu es t ion t w o, d o n et w or k s h a ve a n a t u r a l t en d en cy t o flock t oget h er . D o, t h ey con ven e on on e p oin t w h er e op in ion s m a y a ct u a lly n a t u r a lly s t u lt ify; is t h a t a good ed u ca t ion a l goa l?

D avid H argreaves : T h e a n s w er t o you r s econ d p oin t w ou ld t a k e fa r t oo lon g t o go t h r ou gh n ow , bu t on you r fir s t on e, you ’r e r igh t a lt h ou gh t h er e’s a d iffer en ce: com p a n ies go bu s t ; s ch ools d on ’t d ie, t h ey h a ve t o be m u r d er ed , a n d I a m w it h m u r d er in g s om e r ea lly ba d s ch ools . Wh a t I d on ’t lik e is t h e clim a t e of ever yon e bein g t er r ified of O fs t ed com in g in a n d w h a t t h eir ju d gem en t s a r e. We’ve cr ea t ed , in m y view , t h e w r on g k in d of in s p ect ion s ys t em . I’m n ot a ga in s t in s p ect ion ; it ’s in m y lis t t h a t you h a ve a n in s p ect ion s ys t em . I t h in k you n eed it . B u t , t h er e a r e d iffer en t w a ys of r u n n in g a n in s p ect ion s ys t em . You ca n r u n h ea lt h a n d s a fet y in in d u s t r y a n yw h er e t h a t d oes n ’t d a m a ge in d u s t r y a n d I believe t h e in s p ect ion s ys t em is cu r r en t ly d a m a gin g a good d ea l of w h a t is goin g on in ou r s ch ools . S o t h er e’s a lw a ys a p r oblem of w ea k s ch ools . bu t I t h in k t h e gover n m en t ’s job is t o m a k e s u r e t h a t t h e ot h er bod ies - gover n or s a n d loca l a u t h or it ies - a r e get t in g on w it h t h e qu a lit y con t r ol. S om ebod y t old m e t h a t w h en An d r ew Ad on is w a s t h e ju n ior m in is t er in ch a r ge of s ch ools , h e a ct u a lly r eceived a n ot ifica t ion ever y

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M on d a y m or n in g of w h ich s ch ools h a d h a d ba d in s p ect ion s r ep or t s t h e w eek befor e. I d on ’t k n ow w h et h er it w a s t r u e or fa ls e, bu t it w a s cr ed ible, t h a t ’s w h a t w or r ies m e, it w a s cr ed ible. N o m in is t er s h ou ld be look in g a t fa ilin g s ch ools w h en t h er e a r e a r ou n d 25,000 s ch ools in t h e s ys t em ; t h a t is m icr o-m a n a gin g. I t h in k t h e m in is t er job is qu a lit y a s s u r a n ce, a n d I t h in k t h e cu r r en t s et u p is w r on g.

Audience Mem ber: Wh ile I’m con vin ced p r a ct ica lly, I’m n ot t ot a lly con vin ced by t h e in t ellect u a l fou n d a t ion s of w h a t you ’r e s a yin g. Ar e you s u r e you ’r e n ot exa gger a t in g t h e im p a ct of t h es e ch a n ges in t h e 21s t cen t u r y beca u s e t h e In t er n et is n ’t r ea lly a n y d iffer en t qu a lit a t ively t o t h e p r in t in g p r es s ? O bviou s ly it h a s t h a t a d d ed d em ocr a t ic im p a ct , a n d t h a t ’s h a p p en in g a n d t h a t ’s fin e, bu t w h a t w ou ld con cer n m e is t h a t you r a p p r oa ch w ou ld lea d you n g p eop le t o a d a p t t o t h a t s ys t em a n d p er h a p s n ot t o be cr it ica l of it in w h ich ca s e t h ey wou ld los e t h e a bilit y t o lea d it . You ’r e t r a in in g t oo m u ch t o a d a p t t o t ech n ology r a t h er t h a n t r a in in g or t ea ch in g p eop le t o t h in k cr it ica lly a bou t t h e r ole of t ech n ology a n d w h et h er w e w a n t t o u s e it or n ot .

D avid H argreaves : I’ve n ever been les s s u r e a bou t t h e fu t u r e in m y wh ole life t h a n I a m t od a y, bu t I a m con vin ced by w h a t I’ve s een a n d r ea d t h a t t h e in ven t ion of t h e p r in t in g p r es s w a s of d r a m a t ic s ign ifica n ce t o w es t er n s ociet y a n d t h a t t h e in ven t ion of t h e in t er a ct ive Web 2.0 m a y w ell be of t h e s a m e ca t a clys m ic im p lica t ion s . T h e t r ou ble is t h e p r in t in g p r es s m oved ver y, ver y s low ly, a n d t h e w a y t h e n ew t ech n ologies a r e op er a t in g, t h ey’r e m ovin g ver y, ver y fa s t . S o m u ch s o, t h a t I s ligh t ly p r ovoca t ively s a y Gen er a t ion Y. I w a n t ed t o p u t it ver y s h a r p ly t h a t w e s t ill t h in k s om eh ow w e’ll ca t ch u p on t h e you n g; I d on ’t t h in k w e will. An d I t h in k t h e r ela t ion s h ip s bet w een G en er a t ion X a n d t h e ba by-boom er s a n d G en er a t ion Y is goin g t o h a ve t o go t h r ou gh a s h ift , w h ile w e t r y t o w or k ou t ou r join t fu t u r e, a n d t h a t ’s w h y h ier a r ch ies a n d con t r ol m a n a gem en t a r e colla p s in g. I h a ve been w a t ch in g over t h e la s t t en yea r s ver y clos ely t h e s h ift s t a k in g p la ce in t h e bu s in es s w or ld , a n d s om e of t h os e a r e r ea lly qu it e d r a m a t ic, a n d w er e n ot for es een 20 yea r s a go. It ’s ju s t t h a t in p u blic s er vices , B la ir w a s r igh t ; we’ve been beh in d a n d w e’ve a big ca t ch u p t o d o. B u t I a m con vin ced t h a t we’ve got t h e qu a lit ies in s a n e m en a n d w om en h ea d t ea ch er s t o p u s h u s t o t h a t d ir ect ion . I’m d eep ly im p r es s ed by t h e p eop le t h a t I’ve w or k ed w it h w h o s t r ik e m e a s ext r a or d in a r ily r es p on s ible, bu t wit h t h e cou r a ge t o s a y

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t h ey d on ’t k n ow t h e fu t u r e a n y m or e t h a n I d o, bu t t h ey’r e goin g t o w or k w it h t h eir t ea m s t owa r d s it .

Audience Mem ber: I a gr ee wit h ever yt h in g t h a t you ’ve s a id , a n d I feel t h a t you h a ven ’t gon e fa r en ou gh . Wh y t a lk a bou t cu s t om is a t ion wh en w e h a ve t h e t ech n ology t o offer a bes p ok e s er vice for ever y in d ivid u a l lea r n er ? Wh y t a lk a bou t t r a n s for m a t ion w h en w e ca n t r a n s cen d t h e s ys t em s t h a t a r e in p la ce a t t h e m om en t ? An d t h e ba r r ier , t h e m a in ba r r ier t o t h a t is em p ow er in g you n g p eop le a ct u a lly t o t a k e ch a r ge of t h eir own lea r n in g by t h e gu id a n ce a n d s u p p or t of p eop le wh o k n ow a n d h a ve exp er ien ce. T h e a ccou n t a bilit y for ever ybod y’s lea r n in g r ea lly is w it h t h e in d ivid u a l. T h e s ys t em t h a t w e h a ve a t t h e m om en t r ea lly ch ea t s you n g p eop le fr om t h a t a n d t h e s u cces s cr it er ia r ea lly s h ou ld be t h eir h a p p in es s . I t h in k m illion s of you n g p eop le a cr os s t h e cou n t r y a r en ’t h a p p y a t s ch ool a n d w e n eed t o exp lor e a n d be cr ea t ive a n d a llow t h eir cr ea t ivit y a n d t h eir im a gin a t ion t o a s s is t u s in cr ea t in g a d iffer en t wa y of lea r n in g.

D avid H argreaves : I t h in k you m a y be a ct u a lly r igh t . F or s om e, I’m t oo r a d ica l, bu t for you I m a y be bein g t oo con s er va t ive. If , t h er e a r is k t h a t I’ve been t oo con s er va t ive or t oo r a d ica l, I t h in k t h e r is k is I’ve been t oo con s er va t ive.

Audience Mem ber:

I a m fr om Au s t r ia a n d m y qu es t ion is goin g in t o a m or e E u r op ea n con t ext

of you r p r es en t a t ion , a n d t h e con t ext I’m look in g a t is O fs t ed . If you t h in k of t h e a m ou n t of fa ilin g s ch ools in t h is cou n t r y in com p a r is on t o Au s t r ia or G er m a n y, wh er e s in ce 1945 n ot on e s ch ool h a s been qu a lified a s a fa ilin g s ch ool a n d t h er e is n o t h r ea t t o h ea d t ea ch er s t h a t t h eir s ch ool m igh t be clos ed beca u s e of ba d exa m r es u lt s : is n ’t t h a t p os s ibly t h e p r oblem in t h is cou n t r y? T h a t O fs t ed or t h e gover n m en t , t h r ou gh O fs t ed , is t h r ea t en in g h ea d t ea ch er s t o focu s on t h eir t a r get s a n d t h er efor e qu it e a n u m ber of h ea d t ea ch er s m a y n ot be a s cr ea t ive a s t h ey w ou ld lik e t o be. D avid H argreaves : I’m qu it e s u r e w e’ve s t ifled a gr ea t d ea l of cr ea t ivit y a s a ga in s t ot h er cou n t r ies a n d w e n eed t o r ever s e t h a t , a n d t h a t ’s w h y I’ve t a lk ed in a s en s e a bou t gover n a n ce beca u s e I d on ’t t h in k t h a t ’s goin g t o occu r u n les s you ch a n ge t h e ba s ic gover n a n ce s it u a t ion s in ce I s ee n o s ign s t h a t t h is gover n m en t is goin g t o s t op m icr o-m a n a gin g a n d is s u in g

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in it ia t ives a n d d ir ect ives t o s ch ools . I s ee n o s ign of t h a t a t a ll, ver y s a d ly. T h e qu es t ion is w h a t m igh t a d iffer en t gover n m en t d o? Wh a t m igh t h a p p en if a D a vid M iliba n d beca m e p r im e m in is t er , or w h a t wou ld h a p p en if t h e C on s er va t ives got in ? I d on ’t k n ow . I’m n ot s u r e w e’r e h a vin g t h e d eep d eba t e. T h e is s u es a r e ver y com p lica t ed , ver y r ich , bu t cr it ica l d ecis ion s a r e goin g t o be m a d e in t h e n ext cou p le of yea r s . M a y I s a y t h a n k you for join in g t h e con ver s a t ion s o vigor ou s ly.

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Should children with Asperger syndrome be required to follow the N ational Curriculum?
Tuesday 3 June 2008 Professor Simon Baron-Cohen In t r odu ction by Pa u l Br et t Professor Simon Baron-Cohen is t h e lea din g expon en t in t h e field of a u t ism . H e is P r ofessor of Developm en t a l P sych opa t h ology a t t h e Un iver sit y of Ca m br idge a n d a Fellow a t Tr in it y College, Ca m br idge. H e is Dir ector of th e Au t ism Resea r ch Cen t r e (ARC) in Ca m br idge. P r eviou sly h e h eld lectu r esh ips in t h e depa r t m en t s of P sych ology a t Un iver sity College, Lon don , a n d Clin ica l P sych ology a t t h e In st itu t e of P sych ia t r y, a lso in Lon don . H e is a lso Dir ector of CLASS (Ca m br idge Lifespa n Asper ger Syn dr om e Ser vice), a clin ic for a du lt s wit h su spected Asper ger syn dr ome. H e is t h e a u t h or of n u m er ou s books, in clu din g Min dblin dn ess (1995) a n d Au st ism a n d Asper ger Syn dr om e: Th e F a cts (2008).

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In t h is lectu r e I will be con t r ibu t in g t o th e edu ca t ion deba t e pa r t icu la r ly with r efer en ce t o specia l n eeds. So I’m goin g to t a lk a bou t t h is r a t h er con t r over sia l t it le, ‘Sh ou ld ch ildr en wit h a u tism be r equ ir ed t o follow t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m ?’ a n d I will be pr esen t in g r esea r ch t h a t is th e r esu lt of colla bor a t ion . Th ese da ys in t h e field of bio-m edica l con dit ion s like a u t ism , r esea r ch ca n ’t be don e by a sin gle in dividu a l, so I will be r epr esen t in g fin din gs fr om a la r ge t ea m , wh om I’d like t o cr edit a t t h e ou t set .

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By wa y of a n in t r odu ction , I t h in k it wou ld h elpfu l t o st a r t off with a defin it ion of t h e a u t ist ic spectr u m

You m a y n ot ice t h a t I‘m t a lkin g a bou t a ‘spectr u m ’ of con dition s a n d a t t h e top of figu r e 3 you ca n see t h a t t h e dia gn osis r est s on t h e pr esen ce of socia l a n d commu n ica t ion difficu lt ies. Bu t t h er e’s a secon d fea t u r e: t h ese ch ildr en develop
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u n u su a lly n a r r ow in ter est s, som et im es pejor a t ively ca lled ‘obsession s’ a n d t h ey h a ve a love of r ou t in es, becomin g ver y u pset if t h in gs ch a n ge u n pr edicta bly. Now on t h e a u t istic spectr u m we r ecogn ise t wo m a in su b-gr ou ps: cla ssic a u tism a n d Asper ger Syn dr om e. Both of t h ese su b-gr ou ps sh a r e t h e dia gn ost ic fea t u r es of socia l a n d comm u n ica t ion difficu lt ies a n d n a r r ow in t er est s, bu t t h e wa y t h ey differ is t h a t in cla ssic a u t ism t h er e m a y a lso be lea r n in g difficu lt ies: t h e ch ild m a y h a ve below a ver a ge IQ a n d a lso la n gu a ge dela y so th a t t h e ch ild m a y be la t e t o ta lk, wh er ea s in Asper ger Syn dr ome ch ildr en by defin it ion h a ve n or ma l IQ, m a ybe even a bove a ver a ge IQ, a n d t h ey t a lked on t im e. If you go in t o t h eir pa st , t a k in g a h ist or y of t h eir developm en t , you ’ll fin d t h ey spoke on tim e bu t , n ever t h eless, th ey h a ve t h ese socia l a n d comm u n ica t ion pr oblem s: difficu lt y m a k in g fr ien ds, socia lisin g a n d ver y n a r r ow a t t en t ion . Th is is wh a t I’m goin g t o a ddr ess for it s edu ca t ion a l im plica t ion s. An ot h er poin t t o m en t ion , ju st by wa y of ba ckgr ou n d, is t h a t t h e a u t ism spectr u m con dit ion s a ffect a bou t on e per cen t of t h e popu la t ion , so t h ey a r e r ela t ively com m on . Th ey u ltim a t ely in volve t h e wa y th e br a in develops, wh ich m ea n s t h ey’r e n eu r ologica l con dit ion s a n d a t r oot a r e gen et ic a n d r u n in fa m ilies. Bu t I’m n ot goin g t o sa y t oo m u ch a bou t t h e m edica l side in t h is lectu r e.

I su mma r ise below wh a t I see a s t h e m a in pr oblem s for ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s, wh ich demon st r a t es t h e edu ca t ion a l cr isis, or , pu tt in g it a n oth er wa y, wh y t h e edu ca tion a l syst em, wh ich is mea n t t o su ppor t t h ese ch ildr en , is fa cin g som et h in g of a cr isis. Th e fir st r ea son for t h is is th a t by t h eir ver y n a t u r e ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e don ’t con for m : t h ey don ’t see t h e im por t a n ce of socia l n or m s or con for m it y a n d so ver y oft en t h ey a ppea r difficu lt ; t h ey won ’t ju st sit in a gr ou p t h e wa y t h ey’r e m ea n t t o, th e wa y t h a t ma in st r ea m cla ssr oom s expect ch ildr en to be pa r t of a socia l gr ou p, a n d t h ey m a y even be exclu ded for bein g difficu lt . Th e secon d fea t u r e t h a t ma kes t h em exper ien ce difficu lt ies is t h a t th ey qu est ion ever yt h in g, a n d t h is ma kes it qu it e ch a llen gin g for t ea ch er s; t ea ch er s expect ch ildr en t o sit t h er e silen t ly a n d do wh a t t h ey’r e told. Ch ildr en
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wit h a u t ism a n d Asper ger Syn dr om e wa n t r ea son s for ever yt h in g; t h ey wa n t t o u n der st a n d t h e ba sis of wh y t h in gs h a ppen t h e wa y th ey do a n d, a ga in , t h is ca n a ppea r ver y disr u pt ive. A t ypica lly developin g ch ild kn ows t h a t you sa ve you r qu est ion s u n t il t h e en d a n d you don ’t in ter r u pt; ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s m a y in t er r u pt in cla ss t h e wh ole t im e. Th e th ir d fea t u r e of Asper ger Syn dr om e is t h a t th ese ch ildr en h a ve ver y st r on g, n a r r ow in t er est s a n d t h ey’r e n ot followin g t h eir in t er est s beca u se a n yon e h a s t old t h em to; t h ese in ter est s seem t o come fr om deep wit h in t h e ch ild. Now, t h a t immedia t ely pr esen t s a pr oblem beca u se in sch ool you a r e pr esen t ed wit h lot s of su bjects t h a t you m a y or m a y n ot h a ve ch osen a n d m a y n ot be in t er est ed in , a n d ch ildr en wit h a u tism a n d Asper ger Syn dr om e t en d on ly r ea lly t o follow wh a t t h ey wa n t t o r a t h er t h a n wh a t socia l expecta t ion s look for t h em t o do. F in a lly, a n d t h is is goin g t o be th e m a in focu s of t h is lectu r e, ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s h a ve a ver y differ en t lea r n in g style a n d I’m goin g t o be a r gu in g t h a t t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m is ver y good for a cer t a in k in d of lea r n in g st yle bu t m a y n ot su it t h e lea r n in g st yle t h a t we see in Asper ger Syn dr om e. In pa r t icu la r , ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e like to go in to a lot of det a il; t h ey fa vou r deta il, t h ey like t o go in to t h in gs in gr ea t dept h a n d t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m expects ch ildr en t o pu r su e br ea dt h over dept h a n d to be a ble to get t h e gist , or th e big pictu r e, r a th er t h a n get st u ck on t h e det a ils.

Th e r ea son I a m descr ibin g t h e sit u a t ion a s a cr isis is t h a t for ma n y ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e th er e’s a poor fit bet ween t h em a n d t h eir edu ca t ion , a n d a s a r esu lt t h ey exper ien ce a sen se of fa ilu r e. Th ey wa n t to pu r su e t h in gs t h a t th e t ea ch er is n ot a llowin g t h em t o pu r su e, so t h ey t en d t o dr op ou t of lesson s a n d m a ybe even ou t of sch ool. Wit h t h eir socia l difficu lt ies t h is ca n oft en lea d t o t h e exper ien ce of bein g on t h e m a r gin s. Cla ir e Sa in sbu r y, t h e da u gh t er of Lor d Sa in sbu r y, h a s Asper ger Syn dr ome a n d h a s pr odu ced a ver y n ice book ca lled Ma r t ia n s in t h e P la ygr ou n d, wh ich sh ows th a t ch ildr en gr owin g u p wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e ca n oft en feel like t h ey’ve come fr om a n ot h er pla n et a n d t h a t th ey don ’t r ea lly u n der st a n d wh a t ’s goin g on , even in t h e sch ool pla ygr ou n d.
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Ma n y ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e descr ibe bein g bu llied, eit h er ver ba lly or even ph ysica lly. Despit e sch ools h a vin g a policy of a n t i-bu llyin g, it does go on , a n d in evit a bly wit h t h a t kin d of comm on exper ien ce ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e ca n develop low self est eem , low self con fiden ce a n d, for secon da r y r ea son s, become depr essed a n d m a ybe even feel su icida l. Th ese a r e a ll pr even t a ble secon da r y pr oblem s, beca u se it doesn ’t n eed t o be th a t wa y a n d pa r t of t h e m essa ge of t h is lectu r e will be t h a t we m a y n eed t o a da pt t h e edu ca t ion a l en vir on m en t t o pr even t som e of t h ese secon da r y pr oblem s. We h a ve a clin ic in Ca m br idge for a du lt s wit h Asper ger Syn dr ome a n d we h ea r fr om a du lt s wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e t h a t m a n y h a ve dr opped ou t befor e GCSE s, or in t h e pa st befor e O Levels, a n d so ga in n o qu a lifica tion s, despit e h a vin g n or m a l in t elligen ce or even a bove a ver a ge in t elligen ce. So t h er e’s som et h in g goin g wr on g for ch ildr en wit h t h is dia gn osis. If we tu r n t o r esea r ch th a t h elps u s ch a r a cter ise wh a t is specia l a bou t t h e psych ology of a u t ism a n d Asper ger Syn dr om e, I believe t h er e a r e ba sica lly t wo m a in fea t u r es t h a t ca n h elp u s u n der st a n d t h ese con dit ion s. Th e fir st is below a ver a ge em pa t h y a n d t h e secon d is a bove a ver a ge syst em isin g, or a love of syst em s. We n eed t o keep th ese fea t u r es in m in d wh en we u n der st a n d t h e a u t ist ic m in d a n d t h e min d of som eon e wit h Asper ger ’s, a n d t h in k a bou t h ow we sh ou ld best a ppr oa ch a ch ild wit h a m in d of t h a t n a t u r e. St a r t in g with em pa t h y, t h e dia gn osis, a s I m en t ion ed, in volves difficu lt ies wit h socia lisin g, wit h comm u n ica t ion a n d t o som e exten t im a gin in g h ow ot h er people a r e feelin g or t h in kin g. Bu t a u tism a n d Asper ger ’s don ’t ju st en t a il a r ea s of difficu lty. Th ey a lso en t a il a r ea s of st r en gt h a n d I’ve m en t ion ed som e of t h ese a lr ea dy: a t t en t ion t o det a il a n d n a r r ow in t er est s – I t h in k we ca n see t h ese a s st r en gt h s, wh ich we n eed t o m a ximise, r a t h er t h a n a s disa bilit ies – a n d r esista n ce t o ch a n ge, sin ce on e of t h e fea t u r es of Asper ger ’s is t h a t th ese ch ildr en dislike ch a n ge. I’m goin g t o a r gu e th a t a ll of t h ese fea tu r es m a y r eflect a ver y st r on g a bove a ver a ge dr ive t o syst emise, t o t u r n t h in gs in t o system s, or t o u n der st a n d t h in gs a s pa r t of system s. Bu t m or e a bou t

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t h a t la t er . Th e gr a ph in figu r e 9 sh ows a bell-cu r ve of in dividu a l differ en ces t h a t we fin d in t h e popu la tion . St a t ist icia n s ca ll it t h e ‘n or ma l dist r ibu tion ’ a n d wh a t it descr ibes is t h e wh ole popu la t ion fa llin g som ewh er e u n der n ea t h t h is

cu r ve, with t h e m a jor it y of people sh owin g a ver a ge per for ma n ce. Th e m ea n , or t h e a ver a ge, is in th e cen t r e a n d I’m sh owin g it r ea lly ju st t o r em in d u s t h a t wh ilst m ost ch ildr en fa ll som ewh er e in t h e cen t r e on a n y skill, t h er e a r e goin g t o be people on t h e extr em es, eit h er below a ver a ge or a bove a ver a ge. E a ch of t h e ver tica l lin es ben ea t h t h e cu r ve r epr esen t s wh a t is ca lled st a n da r d devia t ion s below or a bove t h e m ea n ; so bet ween t h e fir st lin es of st a n da r d devia tion on eit h er side of t h e m ea n , 68 per cen t of t h e popu la t ion is ca pt u r ed. If we m ove t o t h e secon d lin es of st a n da r d devia t ion on eit h er side of t h e m ea n , th en 95 per cen t of t h e popu la tion is ca pt u r ed, a n d if you go r igh t ou t t o t h r ee st a n da r d devia t ion s a wa y fr om t h e m ea n t h a t a ctu a lly en compa sses 99.7 per cen t of t h e popu la t ion . So, wh a t we’r e t h in kin g a bou t is a spectr u m of skills; th is cou ld be a n y sk ill t h a t we ca r e t o t h in k a bou t wh er e we’r e goin g to fin d in dividu a l differ en ces. Now, if we t h in k of t h is in t er m s of em pa t h y, ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s a r e goin g t o be wa y below a ver a ge, a n d I’m goin g t o sh ow you som e eviden ce for th a t . Bu t if we t h in k of t h is in t er m s of syst em isin g, ch ildr en wit h
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Asper ger ’s m a y be u p a t t h e ot h er en d, wa y a bove a ver a ge. So I ju st wa n t you t o k eep in m in d t h a t a t on e a n d t h e sa m e t im e a ch ild m a y be below a ver a ge in on e a r ea a n d a bove a ver a ge in a n ot h er . Never t h eless, t h ey a r e a t t h e extr em es a n d t h e edu ca t ion syst em h a s t o ca t er for ch ildr en a t th e ext r em es a s well a s t h ose wh o fa ll som ewh er e in t h e m iddle.

Ret u r n in g t o t h e m a t t er of em pa t h y, I h a ve a wor kin g defin it ion of it a s t h e dr ive t o iden t ify a n ot h er per son ’s t h ou gh t s a n d feelin gs - so pu t t in g you r self in t o a n ot h er per son ’s sh oes t o im a gin e wh a t th ey m igh t t h in k or feel - bu t a secon d compon en t is r espon din g t o som ebody else’s feelin gs wit h a n a ppr opr ia t e em ot ion . I’m goin g t o sh ow you h ow we’ve been t est in g it a s pa r t of ou r r esea r ch t o see wh et h er ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s h a ve difficu lt ies in t h is a r ea . Th is is a t est t h a t in volves t wo pu ppet s, a n d you ca n u se t h is test with a n or m a l t h r ee-yea r -old ch ild. You t ell t h em a sh or t st or y, wh ich is t h a t t h er e a r e t wo ch a r a cter s, Sa lly a n d An n , a n d you ju st tell t h em t h e st or y t h a t Sa lly t ou ch es t h e box, wh ilst An n looks in side t h e box, a n d th en you a sk th em t h e qu est ion , ‘Wh ich on e kn ows wh a t ’s in t h e box?’ Now t h e t ypica lly developin g t h r ee-yea r -old, wit h ou t a n y specia l t ea ch in g, will pick ou t An n in a n swer t o t h a t qu est ion a n d if you a sk t h em wh y t h ey ch ose An n t h ey’ll sa y, ‘Well sh e kn ows beca u se sh e looked.’ So t h a t t h r ee-yea r -old a lr ea dy ca n pu t t h em selves in t o som eon e else’s sh oes a n d im a gin e wh a t som ebody else m igh t kn ow or n ot kn ow. Ch ildr en wit h a u t ism or Asper ger Syn dr ome fin d even a sim ple t est like t h is qu it e ch a llen gin g; t h ey’r e a s likely t o pick on e ch a r a cter a s t h ey a r e t o pick t h e ot h er . Th ey’r e a t ch a n ce, t h ey’r e gu essin g, wh ich su ggest s t h a t even a t a ver y ba sic level, t h eir u n der st a n din g of h ow oth er people’s m in ds wor k m a y n ot be developin g a t t h e n or m a l r a t e. An ot h er test , wh ich is design ed for pr im a r y sch ool ch ildr en , is ca lled ‘Th e F a u x P a s Test ’ ch ildr en a r e pla yed lit t le a u dio st or ies - ver y sh or t stor ies like t h e on e you ca n r ea d in figu r e 12 - a n d t h en t h ey’r e a sked a ver y sim ple qu est ion wh ich is, ‘Did a n ybody sa y a n yt h in g t h a t t h ey sh ou ldn ’t h a ve sa id?’ So it ’s a t est of wh eth er a stor y ch a r a cter m a y h a ve
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sa id som et h in g t h a t cou ld be h u r t fu l t owa r ds som ebody else’s feelin gs a n d wh et h er t h e ch ild wh o is list en in g to t h e st or y ca n pick u p on t h e ‘fa u x pa s’, on wh a t m igh t be socia lly in sen sitive. So if we t a ke t h e exa m ple in figu r e 12 a n d I a sk t h e t est qu est ion , ‘Did a n ybody sa y a n yt h in g t h a t t h ey sh ou ldn ’t h a ve sa id?’ H opefu lly you ’ve a ll picked u p th a t som eon e m a y h a ve sa id som et h in g a lit tle bit socia lly in sen sit ive. Th e qu est ion is, h ow do t ypica lly developin g ch ildr en a n d t h en ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr ome fa r e on a t est like t h is? Well wh a t you ca n see is t h a t a t n in e yea r s old, t ypica lly developin g ch ildr en (t h e ‘con t r ol’) a r e get tin g a bou t fou r ou t of t en on t h is t est , t h is is th e a ver a ge a n d th is is t h e st a n da r d devia t ion . Wh a t we fou n d is t h a t ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e(‘AS’), wh o a r e a ctu a lly older a t a ge twelve, a r e scor in g a t a ver y sim ila r level t o a t ypica l n in e-yea r -old. So, th is is t ellin g u s t h a t th er e is a dela y in t h e developmen t f socia l skills. Th er e’s n o su r pr ise t h er e, bu t t h is t est a llows u s t o qu a n t ify it a t a bou t a t h r ee-yea r dela y in t h e developm en t of socia l sen sit ivit y or em pa t h y in ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e.

Th er e’s a lso a t h ir d t est, wh ich is a t est of r ecogn isin g som ebody else’s em ot ion s, a n d in pa r ticu la r , wh et h er som eon e ca n r ecogn ise h ow som eon e else m igh t feel
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or wh a t t h ey m igh t be t h in kin g ju st fr om lookin g a t t h eir eyes. So we sh ow people, in t h is ca se t een a ger s, ph ot ogr a ph s of fa ces a n d a sk t h em wh ich of th ese fou r wor ds best describes wh a t t h e per son in t h e ph oto is t h in kin g or feelin g. If you look a t figu r e 13, h opefu lly you ’ll a gr ee t h a t h e looks in t er est ed by som et h in g. We fou n d t h a t t ypica lly developin g t een a ger s scor e h igh er t h a n ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e on t h is t est of r ea din g em ot ion s fr om

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som ebody else’s eyes. So it ’s a su bt le t est, qu ite a ch a llen gin g t est , wh ich r evea ls t h a t even by a dolescen ce ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr ome a r e still sh owin g difficu lt ies in socia l sen sit ivit y or em pa t h y.

We’ve u sed t h is sa m e kin d of t est in t h e gen er a l a du lt popu la t ion , so t h a t on ce a ga in people look a t a ph ot o of som eon e’s fa ce a n d a r e a sked t o pick wh ich of t h e fou r wor ds best describes wh a t t h e per son in t h e ph oto is t h in kin g or feelin g. I describe it a s a t ou gh t est beca u se th e viewer doesn ’t h a ve t h e wh ole fa ce – t h er e’s on ly lim it ed fa cia l expr ession a r ou n d t h e eyes – bu t t h e t est is deliber a t ely design ed t o be difficu lt so t h a t we ca n r evea l if a n in dividu a l is bet t er or wor se a t t h is pa r ticu la r skill. Aga in , h opefu lly you ’ll a gr ee t h a t sh e looks dispir it ed or a lit t le bit sa d, a n d you ca n see h er e t h a t t ypica l a du lt s score h igh er th a n a du lt s wit h Asper ger Syn dr ome. So t h ese a r e met r ics, wa ys of m ea su r in g degr ees of difficu lt y a n d em pa th y even in a du lt h ood. An ot h er wa y t o do t h is is t o u se qu estion n a ir es t h a t a du lt s ca n fill in , wh er e t h ey r ea d ea ch st a t em en t a n d t h ey sim ply sa y wh et h er th ey a gr ee or disa gr ee wit h ea ch st a t em en t , a s a descr ipt ion of th em .

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In figu r e 15 we h a ve t wo exa mples of st a t emen t s t h a t a r e r eleva n t t o socia l sen sit ivit y, wh et h er som eon e is a wa r e of ot h er people’s feelin gs. An d wh a t you ca n see h er e is t h a t t ypica l a du lt s t en d t o scor e a bou t 40 or 41 on t h is qu est ion n a ir e, wh ile a du lt s wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e, by t h eir own self r epor t , a r e scor in g m u ch lower : t h ey r ecogn ise t h a t t h ey a r e h a vin g difficu lt ies in socia l sen sit ivit y or em pa t h y.

Th r ou gh t h e u se of MRI (m a gn et ic r eson a n ce im a gin g) sca n s, it is possible t o pu t people in to br a in sca n n er s a n d look a t a r ea s of a ctivit y wh ile t h ey a r e doin g a t a sk t o see wh ich bit s of t h e br a in a r e in volved in t h a t t a sk. In figu r e 16 I sh ow som e da t a fr om br a in sca n s m a de wh ile people wer e lookin g a t t h e ph ot ogr a ph s of t h e eyes t o figu r e ou t wh a t som eon e else is t h in kin g or feelin g. Wh a t you ca n see sch em a t ica lly is t h a t t h er e a r e fou r impor t a n t r egion s of t h e br a in , wh ich seem t o be a ctive wh en a t ypica l per son is lookin g a t ph ot ogr a ph s t o figu r e ou t som eon e else’s t h ou gh t s a n d feelin gs: th e Media l P r efr on t a l Cor t ex, An t er ior Cin gu la t e Cor tex, t h e Amygda la , a n d t h e Or bit ofr on t a l Cor tex. All of t h ese a r ea s sh ow below a ver a ge n eu r a l a ctivit y in people wit h a u tism or Asper ger ’s wh en t h ey’r e doin g t h e sa m e t a sk. So t h is gives u s eviden ce t h a t it ’s n ot on ly a t

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t h e psych ologica l or t h e beh a viou r a l level t h a t we see difficu lt ies, bu t a t t h e level of t h e br a in ; t h er e a r e differ en ces in h ow th e br a in is wor kin g.

I’m n ow goin g t o swit ch t o t h e ot h er side of t h e coin , beca u se people wit h a u t ism or Asper ger Syn dr om e n ot on ly h a ve difficu lt ies wit h em pa t h y, bu t a lso a n u n u su a lly st r on g dr ive t o ‘syst em ise’, wh ich is a r ela t ively n ew t er m . I defin e it a s t h e dr ive t o a n a lyse or bu ild a syst em , a n y kin d of syst em . Th er e a r e ver y common t ypes of syst em s t h a t exist in t h e en vir on m en t : m ech a n ica l syst em s lik e a compu t er ; n a t u r a l syst em s like t h e wea t h er ; a bst r a ct syst em s like m a t h em a t ics; even socia l system s like t h e m ilit a r y; t a xon om ic syst em s like a libr a r y wh er e you cla ssify t h in gs su ch a s in a ca t a logu e; a n d m ot or ic syst em s, wh ich a r e syst em s t h a t in volve m ot or skills or a ction s, su ch a s pla yin g golf or pla yin g t en n is wh er e you system a t ica lly t r y a n d impr ove you r tech n iqu e. Now, wh a t a ll of t h ese syst em s seem t o sh a r e is t h a t t h ey follow r u les; t h er efor e wh en you syst em ise, wh a t you ’r e t r yin g t o do is iden t ify t h e r u les th a t gover n t h e syst em so t h a t you ca n pr edict h ow t h e syst em wor ks. Ru les a r e a n ot h er wa y of t a lk in g a bou t la ws, a n d wh en you syst emise you h a ve t o be h igh ly r epet it ive in or der t o see wh et h er th e r u les or t h e la ws th a t you ’ve iden t ified give you t h e sa m e r esu lt ever y t im e. So, in figu r e 17 I’ve tr ied to for m a lise th is a bit , beca u se wh a t h a ppen s in a n y kin d of syst em is t h a t you h a ve in pu t, you per for m som e k in d of oper a t ion , a n d you get a r esu lt or ou t pu t , wh ich is some ch a n ge to t h e syst em . So if we t a ke a n electr ic ligh t, it m igh t st a r t in t h e ‘off’ posit ion , so t h e ligh t is off. You per for m a n oper a t ion , su ch a s pu sh in g t h e swit ch t o a down posit ion a n d t h e ligh t goes on . An d t h a t ’s goin g t o be t h e sa m e ever y t im e you do it. So, wh en you ’r e system isin g a n electr ic ligh t you ’r e lea r n in g t h e r u les or t h e syst em a t ic la wfu l r egu la r it ies t h a t ch a n ge in pu t t o ou t pu t . An ot h er exa m ple ca n be t a k e fr om m a t h em a t ics: if you plu g in , sa y, a n u m ber 3, a n d you per for m t h e ver y sa me oper a t ion ever y t im e, su ch a s cu bin g t h a t n u mber , you ’r e a lwa ys goin g t o get 27; you ’ll get th a t r esu lt ever y t im e you per for m t h e sa m e oper a t ion . Th is is a n ot h er illu st r a t ion of wh a t I m ea n by syst em isin g.
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Now people wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e love system s; t h ey love syst em isin g. By wa y of a n ecdot e, I h a ve r epr odu ced t wo pa ges fr om t h e n ot ebook of a you n g m a n wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e to sh ow you h ow h e spen ds h is leisu r e t ime. H e is, a s I sa y, a you n g m a n a n d h is h ou se is fu ll of n ot ebooks of th is kin d a n d, with h is per m ission , I’ve copied on e of h is books beca u se h e r ecor ds in for m a t ion a bou t t h e wea t h er ever y n igh t a t m idn igh t in h is ga r den . H e goes ou t , a n d you ca n see in

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t h is colu m n h e h a s t h e m on t h a n d t h e da y of t h e m on t h , a n d in va r iou s colu m n s h e’s r ecor ded t h e level of r a in fa ll, t h e t emper a t u r e, t h e win d speed a n d ot h er fa ctor s t o do wit h t h e wea t h er . On t h e oth er side of h is n ot ebook h e’s m a de commen t s, or h a s t r ied t o dr a w con clu sion s a bou t pa t t er n s in th e wea th er . Now h e’s n ot a pr ofession a l m eteor ologist ; h e’s ju st fa scin a t ed by t h e wea t h er . An d h e’s been doin g t h is in a h igh ly r epet it ive, ver y per fection ist wa y, a n d r ecor din g t h is in for m a t ion for h is own in t er est . So t h is is, a n ecdot a lly, givin g u s a lit tle win dow in t o t h e m in d of som eon e wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e. If we sa w som eon e doin g t h is for t h eir wor k, a n d t h ey wer e u sin g for exa m ple a n excel spr ea dsh eet , we wou ld sa y t h a t t h ey wer e doin g it in a h igh ly pr ofession a l, ver y disciplin ed wa y, bu t h er e h is m in d is ju st wor kin g like th is wit h ou t a n y for m a l t r a in in g.

Wh a t we’ve been doin g is t estin g ch ildr en with Asper ger Syn dr om e t o see wh et h er it is t r u e t h a t t h ey a r e a bove a ver a ge a t syst em isin g. In figu r e 19 we’ve a n exa m ple fr om ph ysics; it’s a lit t le mech a n ica l system wh er e you ’r e given a m u ltiple ch oice a lon gside a n illu st r a t ion of a lit t le syst em a n d you h a ve to u n der st a n d h ow t h e syst em wor k s. Th e wh eel r ot a t es a n t i-clockwise a n d you ’r e a sk ed to sa y wh a t will h a ppen t o t h e poin t P . Th e cor r ect a n swer is th a t it will

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m ove to a n d fr o, it will m ove ba ck a n d for t h . Wh a t we fou n d wa s th a t ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e a ctu a lly per for m bet t er t h a n ch ildr en in t h e gen er a l popu la t ion in t h is t est of u n der st a n din g a lit t le m ech a n ica l syst em . Th is r esu lt is even m or e st r ikin g wh en I t ell you t h a t t h e t ypica lly developin g ch ildr en wer e t een a ger s, in secon da r y sch ool; t h ey wer e get t in g a bou t 10 ou t of 20 cor r ect on t h is t est . Th e ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s wer e a ctu a lly in pr im a r y sch ool; t h ey wer e a ged on ly t en t o eleven yea r s old a n d despit e bein g you n ger t h ey wer e a ctu a lly ou t -per for m in g t h e m a in str ea m ch ildr en . So t h is sh ows t h a t despit e h a vin g a for m a l dia gn osis, a r ecogn ised disa bilit y, t h ey a r e a ctu a lly per for min g a bove a ver a ge in t h is a r ea of u n der st a n din g system s.

We’ve t r ied t o m ea su r e syst em isin g u sin g qu est ion n a ir es t h a t a du lt s ca n fill in , so a ga in , a self r epor t .

Th ey r ea d th r ou gh ea ch it em t o r epor t h ow in t er est ed t h ey a r e in differ en t syst em s. Th e fir st it em is a bou t a m ech a n ica l syst em , like a ca r en gin e a n d t h e secon d on e is a bou t a n electr ica l syst em like t h e wir in g in you r h ome; you sim ply sa y wh et h er you a gr ee or disa gr ee wit h ea ch st a t emen t a s a descr ipt ion of you .

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Wh a t you ca n see is t h a t a du lt s wit h Asper ger Syn dr ome a r e scorin g h igh er t h a n a du lt s in t h e gen er a l popu la t ion , m ea n in g t h a t t h ey h a ve ver y st r on g in t er est s in syst em s a n d h ow th ey wor k. We’r e t r yin g t o u n der st a n d wh er e t h is t a len t comes fr om : on e possibilit y is t h a t bein g good a t syst em s r equ ir es ver y good a t t en t ion t o deta il. So, we sa w in t h e lit tle ph ysics pr oblem t h a t it wou ld pr oba bly be a n a dva n t a ge if you r ea lly pa id a t t en t ion t o sm a ll deta ils. If you t h in k a bou t a m a t h em a t ica l syst em , if you miss on e digit in t h e ca lcu la t ion it will complet ely m ess u p wh et h er you ca n solve t h e pr oblem or n ot ; so pa yin g a t t en t ion t o deta il a n d syst em isin g is cr u cia l.

Th er e a r e t wo t est s t h a t psych ologist s a r e fon d of u sin g, wh ich look a t a t t en t ion t o det a il. Th e fir st is a t est wh er e t h e ch ild is sh own a t a r get sh a pe, wh ich is h idden in a n over a ll design a n d t h ey h a ve to fin d it a s qu ickly a s t h ey ca n . An d wh a t ’s been fou n d is t h a t ch ildr en with a u t ism or Asper ger Syn dr om e a r e su per qu ick a t fin din g t h e t a r get sh a pe h idden in t h e over a ll design . It ’s ca lled t h e ‘E m bedded F igu r es Test ’. To t h e r igh t is t h e a du lt ver sion of t h e sa m e t est wh er e a n a du lt is sh own t h e t a r get sh a pe a n d th ey h a ve t o fin d it h idden in t h e over a ll design . Th is is a t im ed t est a n d wh a t is fou n d is t h a t a du lt s wit h

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Asper ger ’s a r e fa ster t h a n t h e compa r ison gr ou p, t a kin g on a ver a ge 32 secon ds t o fin d it , compa r ed t o som eon e in t h e gen er a l popu la t ion wh o t a kes a bou t 46 secon ds, sh owin g t h a t a tten tion in people wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e is fa st er a n d m or e a ccu r a t e t h a n t h ose wh o a r e developin g in t h e n or m a l wa y. Th e Na von Test ,devised by psych ologist s, illu st r a t es t h e sa m e t h in g: people a r e sim ply a sk ed to sa y wh ich let t er th ey see. Most sa y t h ey see t h e let t er A, so t h ey’r e goin g for t h e big pictu r e. People wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e t en d t o sa y t h a t t h ey see t h e let t er H , beca u se t h ey’r e goin g for t h e det a il, t h e in dividu a l compon en t s r a t h er t h a n t h e bigger pictu r e. So a ga in , t h is is t ellin g u s t h a t t h ey’r e u sin g t h eir a t t en t ion ver y differ en t ly.

Wh en we t r y a n d u n der st a n d wh er e t h ese differ en ces come fr om we fin d pa r en t s of ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e h a ve ver y sim ila r pa t t er n s, su ggest in g t h a t t h is is pr oba bly a r isin g for gen et ic r ea son s. So for t h e a du lt ver sion of t h e ‘Im bedded F igu r es Test ’ we ca n see fa t h er s of ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e a r e fa st er t h a n m en in t h e gen er a l popu la t ion on th is t est , a n d m oth er s of ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s a r e fa st er t h a n wom en in t h e gen er a l popu la t ion on t h e sa m e t est .

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H en ce t h e ver y sa me ch a r a cter ist ic you see in t h e pa r en t’s ch ild wit h a dia gn osis is a lso a ppa r en t a gen er a t ion ea r lier , a n d wh en we look a t t h e occu pa t ion s of fa t h er s, a n d in deed gr a n dfa t h er s, of ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e or a u t ism we fin d t h a t dispr opor tion a t ely t h ey wor k in t h e field of en gin eer in g. In figu r e 24 we ca n see t h a t of t h e fa t h er s of ch ildr en wit h a u t ism , a bou t 12 per cen t wor k in en gin eer in g compa r ed t o fa t h er s of ch ildr en wit h a differ en t developm en ta l

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disa bilit y, in t h is ca se Down s Syn dr om e, wh ich sh ows m u ch lower r a tes. Th e sa m e dispa r it y is t r u e of on e gen er a t ion ea r lier , a mon gst t h e gr a n dfa t h er s of ch ildr en wit h a u t ism or Asper ger Syn dr ome. On e wa y to in t er pr et t h is r esu lt is t h a t th is t a len t a t syst em isin g m a y r u n in fa m ilies. We’ve a lso fou n d t h a t th e difficu lt y wit h em pa t h y r u n s in fa m ilies: u sin g t h e sa m e t est of r ea din g em ot ion s fr om t h e eyes, th e r esu lts of fa t h er s of ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s sh ow t h ey scor e lower t h a n m en in t h e gen er a l popu la t ion , a n d m ot h er s of ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s a ga in scor e sligh t ly lower t h a n wom en in t h e gen er a l popu la tion . Th is illu st r a t es a gen et ic t en den cy.

So, we’r e seein g a pa t t er n t h a t ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e h a ve difficu lt ies in some a r ea s bu t m a y h a ve ta len t in ot h er s. Th is ca n be dem on st r a t ed by a n ot h er stu dy t h a t we con du cted a t Ca m br idge Un iver sit y a m on gst t h e st u den t s. We pa r t icu la r ly t a r get ed st u den t s stu dyin g ma t h em a t ics beca u se m a t h s, a s I’ve m en t ion ed, is a good exa m ple of a syst em , a n u m er ica l syst em . We sim ply a sked stu den t s a t Ca m br idge Un iver sit y a ver y dir ect qu est ion , ‘Do you h a ve a u t ism or Asper ger Syn dr om e?’, a n d wh a t we fou n d wa s t h a t th e r a t e of a u t ism a m on g t h e m a t h s st u den t s wa s sign ifica n tly h igh er t h a n

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st u den t s in t h e h u m a n ities. Th is h igh ligh t s t h a t a disa bility ca n som et imes be a ssocia t ed wit h a n a r ea of t a len t . It a lso sh ows t h a t for som e of t h e for t u n a t e people wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e t h eir dia gn osis isn ’t a ba r r ier to fu lfillin g t h eir edu ca tion a l pot en tia l; t h ey’r e get t in g in t o u n iver sit y to follow t h e su bject t h ey’r e in t er est ed in . An d th is lin ks qu it e n icely t o a n idea t h a t ca m e fr om t h e pa edia t r icia n H a n s Asper ger , wh ose n a me is n ow given t o t h is syn dr om e. H e wa s wr it in g in Vien n a in th e 1940s a n d a n ecdot a lly obser ved t h a t ‘for su ccess in scien ce … a da sh of a u t ism is essen t ia l’ a n d t h a t a ctu a lly a lit t le bit of a u t ism or Asper ger Syn dr om e m a y h a ve ben efit s, a n d t h is is r ea lly someth in g th a t I’m t r yin g t o explor e. H e sa id, ‘t h e n ecessa r y in gr edien t s m a y be a n a bilit y t o t u r n a wa y fr om t h e ever yda y wor ld’, by wh ich h e m ea n t t h e wor ld of socia lisin g, ‘wit h a ll a bilit ies ca n a lised in t o on e specia lit y’. I r ea lly like t h is wor d ‘ca n a lised’ - it wa s a wor d I h a dn ’t come a cr oss befor e r ea din g H a n s Asper ger - a n d it ’s t h e idea of ch a n n ellin g a bilities in to a ver y n a r r ow focu s. H a n s Asper ger a r gu ed t h a t per h a ps people wh o a r e t a len t ed in scien ce m igh t n eed a degr ee of a u t ism , or a degr ee of Asper ger Syn dr om e in or der t o su cceed. Th is idea wa s picked u p in 2003 in a ver y in t er est in g a r t icle by Ia n J a m es, a pr ofessor a t Oxfor d Un iver sit y, wh ich wa s pu blish ed in t h e Roya l Society of Medicin e J ou r n a l. J a m es wen t t h r ou gh t h e biogr a ph ies of six fa m ou s scien t ist s a n d h e a r gu ed t h a t if you look a t h ow t h ey lived, t h eir lifest yle a n d t h eir per son a lity fr om t h eir biogr a ph ies, in a ll of t h e six ca ses you cou ld m a ke th e ca se t h a t th ey h a d or h a d h a d Asper ger Syn dr om e. Th e scien t ist s h e r esea r ch ed wer e th e ea r ly ph ysicist s Isa a c Newt on a n d H en r y Ca ven dish - Newt on is a ssocia t ed wit h t h e discover y of gr a vit y a n d Ca ven dish wit h th e discover y of h ydr ogen – a n d fou r Nobel pr ize win n er s: Alber t E in st ein , wh o is a ssocia t ed wit h t h e discover y of r ela t ivity; Ma r ie Cu r ie, wh o discover ed r a diu m ; h er da u gh t er , Ir en e J oliot-Cu r ie, wh o wa s a wa r ded a Nobel P r ize for h er wor k in n u clea r fission ; a n d t h e ph ysicist P a u l Du r a ck, wh ose wor k is m ost ly a ssocia t ed wit h qu a n t u m m ech a n ics. J a m es a r gu ed th a t if you look a t wh a t t h ey wer e like a s people, t h ey fit t ed t h e pr ofile of Asper ger Syn dr om e.

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By wa y of exa m ple I will explor e on e in det a il: Alber t E in st ein . F r om a ccou n t s of h is ch ildh ood h e wa s descr ibed a s ver y isola t ed, wh a t we m igh t t h in k of t oda y a s a lon er . H e wa s ver y la t e t o t a lk - so per h a ps even fit t ed t h e pr ofile of a u t ism a n d wh en h e did t a lk, a ppa r en tly a t t h e a ge of five, so ver y la t e, a lot of h is speech wa s ‘ech ola lic’ or r epea t in g ba ck, so pa r r ot in g ot h er people’s speech . Obviou sly E in st ein , like t h e ot h er five scien t ist s, wa sn ’t h eld ba ck by h is pr ofile of ea r ly developm en t . H e sa id in la t er life, ‘I do n ot socia lise, beca u se socia l en cou n t er s wou ld dist r a ct m e fr om m y wor k, a n d I r ea lly on ly live for t h a t .’ H e a lso pla yed t h e violin for leisu r e, bu t n ot in gr ou ps, pr efer r in g t o pla y a lon e. H e sa id, ‘m u sic is a wa y for m e t o be in depen den t of people’. Th is gives u s som e in dica t ion s t h a t som e of ou r m ost dist in gu ish ed scien t ists ma y h a ve h a d t h is pr ofile of Asper ger Syn dr om e. Per son a lly I fin d it a lit t le du biou s to go in t o t h e h ist or y of people wh o a r e n o lon ger a live a n d post h u m ou sly t r y t o dia gn ose t h em beca u se biogr a ph ica l a ccou n t s ca n be u n r elia ble. Bu t ou r r esea r ch fr om ch ildr en a n d a du lt s wit h Asper ger ’s, wh o a r e a live a n d a va ila ble t o be test ed, is eviden ce of a n a ssocia t ion with a t a len t in syst em isin g.

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If I n ow r et u r n t o t h e m a in topic of im plica tion s for th e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m , wh a t we’ve seen is th a t ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e a r e ver y st r on g syst em iser s a n d I wa n t to a r gu e t h a t if you ’r e a str on g syst em iser it m ea n s t h a t you n a t u r a lly wa n t t o specia lise r a t h er t h a n gen er a lise.

Wh en you h a ve a st r on g dr ive t o u n der sta n d a syst em , you r ea lly wa n t t o u n der st a n d a ver y specific syst em . An exa m ple m igh t be t h a t you bu y a m obile ph on e: you don ’t wa n t t o u n der st a n d h ow a ll m obile ph on es wor k; you wa n t t o u n der st a n d you r pa r t icu la r m odel, you r pa r t icu la r syst em , like you r Nokia 6230. Syst em iser s don ’t t r y t o u n der st a n d a ll ph on es; th ey t r y t o u n der st a n d on e pa r t icu la r system , on e pa r t icu la r ph on e in det a il. E ven mor e, people wh o a r e st r on g syst em iser s, su ch a s I’ve a r gu ed ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s a r e, m igh t even r esist gen er a lisa t ion s t h a t a ll ph on es wor k in a pa r t icu la r wa y, or t h a t a ll compu t er s wor k in a pa r t icu la r wa y, beca u se t h e differ en ce or th e elem en t th a t is u n iqu e a bou t a pa r ticu la r m odel, or a pa r t icu la r syst em, m a y be m u ch m or e impor t a n t t h a n t h e comm on a lit ies. So t h ey r esist gen er a lisin g; t h ey a lso r esist su m m a r isin g or edit in g in for m a t ion beca u se it m a y be ver y im por t a n t n ot to lose in for ma tion a bou t h ow t h e pa r t icu la r syst em wor ks. Th e fin a l th in g a bou t bein g a st r on g syst emiser is th a t on ce you sta r t t o t r y t o u n der st a n d a specific syst em you wa n t t o u n der sta n d it in it s en t ir et y, u n der st a n d it complet ely. Th er efor e if you ’ve bou gh t a n ew ga dget a n d you ’r e a st r on g syst em iser , you don ’t ju st t r y t o u n der st a n d on e or t wo t h in gs a bou t t h e syst em , you t r y t o u n der st a n d t h e wh ole syst em .

Wh a t t h is m ea n s is t h a t you a void su per ficia lity a n d you pr ior itise dept h over br ea dth . As a r esu lt st r on g syst em iser s ma y n ot be su it ed t o t h e Na tion a l Cu r r icu lu m . Th ey h a ve fir st of a ll a n eed for sa m en ess, so th ey ca n ch eck over a n d over a ga in wh eth er t h e r u les t h a t t h ey’r e fin din g a n d u n der sta n din g a r e h oldin g t r u e. Th ey m a y h a ve excellen t mem or y a n d a t t en t ion t o det a il, bu t m a y go in t o t oo m u ch det a il wh en t h e t ea ch er is a skin g t h em t o lea ve on e su bject a n d
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m ove on t o a n ew su bject. Th ey m a y develop ver y n a r r ow in t er est s wh en t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m a sks for in t er est s t o be kept ver y br oa d. Ch ildr en wh o a r e st r on g syst em iser s, a s I t h in k ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s a r e, m a y h a ve a pr efer en ce for ver y bla ck-a n d-wh it e t h in kin g beca u se t h ey’r e r ea lly a ft er t r yin g t o est a blish h ow syst em s wor k ba sed on fa cts or seekin g t r u t h a n d m a y be ver y u n in t er est ed in sh a des of gr ey; so t h ey’r e r ea lly on ly ver y in t er ested in pr ecision r a t h er t h a n a m bigu it y. I’m goin g to give you on e exa m ple fr om a ch ild wit h Asper ger ’s wh o wa s in a m a in str ea m cla ssr oom a n d t h e t ea ch er a sked th e ch ildr en a s a ch a llen ge for th e lesson of th e da y t o pr a ctise est im a t ion in m a t h em a t ics. Th e t a sk t h a t t h e ch ildr en wer e set wa s t o t r y a n d est im a t e wh a t 12 x 13 equ a ls a n d th e t ea ch er kn ew t h a t t h e ch ildr en h a dn ’t been t a u gh t 12 x 13, so th e idea wa s ju st t o h a ve a go, t o est im a t e. Ch ildr en in th e cla ss wer e pu tt in g u p t h eir h a n d a n d sa yin g, 180, 200, ju st comin g u p wit h est ima t es a n d get tin g pr a ise for th is, bu t t h e ch ild wit h Asper ger ’s cou ldn ’t see t h e poin t of t h is lesson . H e kn ew t h a t th e a n swer t o 12 x 13 wa s 156, bu t it seem ed t h a t t h e a n swer t h e t ea ch er wa n t ed t o h ea r wa s 160 beca u se it seem ed like ot h er ch ildr en wer e a ddin g m or e n u m ber s t o t h e a n swer t h a n wa s a ctu a lly cor r ect. So wh en h is t u r n ca m e h e sa id 160, bu t la t er h e sa id, ‘I cou ldn ’t see t h e poin t of t h is lesson beca u se I kn ew t h e a n swer wa s 156, bu t wh a t t h e t ea ch er seem ed t o wa n t wa s for u s t o t a ke t h e cor r ect a n swer a n d a dd a few m or e.’ So it ’s a ver y good exa m ple of h ow a t ea ch in g st r a tegy t h a t is design ed for m a in st r ea m ch ildr en doesn ’t wor k for ch ildr en with Asper ger ’s.

Th ey a lso r esist a m bigu it y, a n d t h is ver y sa m e ch ild, wh en a sked th e qu est ion ‘wh er e do you live?’ wa s complet ely con fu sed by it . H e wa n t ed t o kn ow, ‘Well, wh a t do you m ea n ? Do you m ea n wh ich cou n tr y do I live in ? Wh ich cit y do I live in ? Wh ich st r eet do I live in ? Wh ich pa r t icu la r h ou se on t h e str eet do I live in ?’ Th e qu estion wa s so va gu e a s t o be u n a n swer a ble. Ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e like qu est ion s t o be well for mu la t ed a n d h igh ly pr ecise, beca u se t h ey’r e t r yin g t o u n der st a n d t h in gs in a ver y bla ck-a n d-wh it e, fa ctu a l wa y. It
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a lso m ea n s t h a t if you ’r e a st r on g systemiser you m a y h a ve difficu lt y wit h m u lti-t a skin g beca u se wh en you ’r e t r yin g t o u n der sta n d on e syst em it r ea lly pa ys t o focu s on ly on t h a t on e syst em a n d see wh a t r esu lt s you ’r e get t in g ever y t im e. Obviou sly, t h e Na tion a l Cu r r icu lu m expects ch ildr en t o be a ble t o r ea d a book wh ilst list en in g t o t h e tea ch er a n d th en ma ybe t h in k a bou t wh a t lesson is comin g n ext ; so t h ey’r e m u lt i-t a skin g r a th er t h a n focu ssin g exclu sively on on e syst em . If you ’r e a st r on g syst em iser you m igh t get ver y fr u st r a t ed if t h e t ea ch er a sk s you t o st op wh a t you ’r e doin g a n d switch fr om m a t h em a t ics t o F r en ch , ju st wh en you wer e gett in g in t o th e det a il of a pa r ticu la r m a t h em a tica l pr oblem .

I wa n t t o br in g ou t qu it e h ow fu n da m en ta lly st r on g a r ole system isin g pla ys in h ow we lea r n in or der t o illu st r a t e h ow ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e lea r n ver y differ en t ly. Wh en we t h in k a bou t lea r n in g, it is a ll a bou t a cqu ir in g con cept s: r ecogn isin g t h in gs in t h e wor ld a n d r ecogn isin g con cept s, or r ecogn isin g t h in gs, r ea lly comes down t o h ow we ‘ca t egor ise’. Th e fa n cy wor ds for ca t egor isin g a r e ‘for m in g a t a xon om y’ a n d t a xon om ies a r e a n ot h er kin d of syst em . So I’m goin g t o sh ow a s a n illu str a t ion t h e differ en ces bet ween h ow m ost of u s lea r n ca t egor ies, or lea r n h ow t o for m t a xon om ies, a n d h ow a per son

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wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e migh t do it . We’ll t a ke th e ca t egor y of fr u it , wh er e a t ea ch er is t r yin g to t ea ch ch ildr en a bou t t h e con cept of fr u it . Wh a t ’s been fou n d by psych ologist s is th a t t h er e a r e differ en t levels, or su per or din a t e levels, for a ca t egor y: t h er e is t h e su per or din a t e level, t h e pr ot ot ype level a n d t h en t h e su bor din a t e level. Most ch ildr en , a n d m ost of u s, will fa vou r t h e pr ot ot ype level. So, if th e su per or din a t e level in t h is ca se is fr u it , a n d we’r e lookin g a t exa m ples of fr u it , we’r e qu it e h a ppy t o lea r n th e n a m e, a pple (pr ot ot ype), bu t n ot r ea lly bot h er wit h t h e det a il of m or e fin e gr a in ed ca t egor ies (su bor din a te) th a t m igh t u n der lie t h is. Some of u s ma y lea r n t wo or t h r ee of th ese ca t egor ies a t t h e lower level; we m igh t , for exa m ple, lea r n t h a t som e a pples a r e Coxes or som e a r e Ru sset s or som e a r e Gr a n n y Sm it h s. It tu r n s ou t , h owever , t h a t th er e a r e 7,500 differ en t t ypes of a pples t h a t exist a n d a ch ild wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e will fin d it ver y fr u st r a tin g t o lea r n t h e wor d ‘a pple’ a n d lea ve it a t th a t . It ’s fu ll of a m bigu it y: do you m ea n t h e Br a ebu r n a pple? Do you m ea n t h e Gr a n n y Sm it h a pple? Th ey’r e wor lds a pa r t: t h ey ta st e differ en t a n d t h ey look differ en t . Wh y wou ld you gr ou p t h em a ll u n der t h e sa me h ea din g wh en t h ey migh t lea d t o ver y differ en t exper ien ces? So a ch ild wit h Asper ger ’s m igh t wa n t to lea r n a ll 7,500 exa m ples of differ en t t ypes of a pples lon g a ft er t h e t ea ch er h a s sa id, ‘Oka y, we’ve

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fin ish ed lea r n in g a bou t a pples; we’r e n ow lea r n in g a bou t som et h in g else.’ An ot h er exa m ple is t h e ca t egor y of ‘ca r ’. Usin g t h e sa m e st r u ctu r e of su per or din a t e levels, we kn ow t h a t ca r s a r e pa r t of t h e su per or din a t e fa m ily ca lled veh icles; m ost of u s a r e qu it e h a ppy wit h t h is con cept of ‘ca r ’. F or t h e su bor din a t e level, wh en I looked on t h e Web I fou n d a t lea st 900 differ en t ma kes of ca r s. We’r e a ll fa m ilia r wit h som e; some of u s ca n list m or e th a n ot h er s: I m igh t r u n ou t a ft er t wo or t h r ee like Ren a u lt , Mit su bish i a n d Volkswa gen . Bu t som eon e wit h Asper ger ’s m igh t wa n t t o lea r n th e wh ole set , beca u se t h ey’r e t r yin g t o u n der st a n d t h e syst em of ca r s. You cou ld even go t o a su b-su bor din a t e level, beca u se t h er e a r e specific m odels, even with in Ren a u lt or wit h in some of t h e ot h er m a kes: it t u r n s ou t t h a t t h er e a r e 44,000 differ en t specific m odels of ca r s. You cou ld even go fu r t h er a n d fu r t h er down in det a il so t h a t you ’r e lea r n in g people’s n u m ber pla t es a s a u n iqu e iden t ifier of t h e ca t egor y of ca r . Ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e t en d to go down t o t h e lowest level of det a il, r a t h er t h a n be h a ppy h over in g a t a r a t h er su per ficia l level. An d, ju st t o dem on st r a t e h ow th is a pplies r igh t a cr oss t h e Cu r r icu lu m , ju st sa y we wer e t r yin g t o t ea ch t h e h ist or y of Wor ld Wa r On e. We m igh t sa y t h a t th e h igh est level t h a t we’r e t a lkin g a bou t is t h e wa r ca lled Wor ld Wa r On e. Th e pr ot ot ype level is t h a t we m igh t be t ea ch in g ch ildr en th a t t h er e wer e pa r t icu la r ba tt les, bu t t h e su bor din a te level, t h e lower level, is t h a t th er e wa sn ’t ju st on e ba t t le, t h er e wer e a ctu a lly lot s of im por t a n t ba t tles. Aga in a br ief sea r ch on t h e Web t old m e th a t t h er e wer e a t lea st 32 im port a n t ba t t les in Wor ld Wa r On e. Well, a t ypica lly developin g ch ild m igh t be qu it e h a ppy o lea r n th e n a mes of ju st on e of t h ese ba t t les a n d lea ve it a t t h a t beca u se t h ey wa n t t o m ove on to t h eir n ext lesson , or go on t o t h e pla ygr ou n d a n d do ot h er t h in gs. A ch ild with Asper ger ’s wou ld wa n t t o focu s n ot on ju st on e ba t t le bu t on t h e n a mes of a ll t h e ot h er ba t t les, a n d t h ey m a y wa n t t o dr ill down t o t h e lowest level of det a il t o fin d ou t wh o a ll th e people wer e in t h e Ba t t le of Ypr es. Th ey m igh t wa n t t o kn ow t h e n a m es of a ll t h ese soldier s, on wh a t da y th ey died, h ow th ey died, wh a t r a n k t h ey wer e, ever y det a il of ea ch in dividu a l ba t ta lion : a ga in , lon g a ft er t h ey sh ou ld
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h a ve come t o a st op on t h is pa r t icu la r su bject, t h ey’r e st ill goin g. So obviou sly it’s ver y fr u st r a t in g for t h em if t h ey’r e t old, ‘I’m sor r y J oh n n y bu t we’r e n o lon ger st u dyin g t h is ba t tle; we’ve got t o do som et h in g else.’ You ca n see th e sen se of fr u st r a t ion t h a t wou ld develop in a ch ild wit h Asper ger ’s, wh o a ctu a lly begin s t o fin d t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m is a n t i-edu ca t ion a l: t h ese a r e you n g ch ildr en wh o wa n t t o specia lise a n d lea r n a s m u ch a s th ey ca n on on e t opic r a t h er t h a n ju st lea ve it wit h a h a lf-ba ked sen se of it .

So h er e I a m , r a ckin g u p t h ou gh t s t h a t t h er e a r e pr oblem s wit h t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m . Th e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m va lu es br ea dth over dept h . Th e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m a sks ch ildr en t o swit ch t h eir a t t en t ion wh en t h e bell r in gs, wh en ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s a n d a u t ism m a y wa n t t o focu s for h ou r s a n d h ou r s on ju st on e t opic. Th e Na tion a l Cu r r icu lu m in clu des su bjects th a t a r e n ot fa ctu a l, so t h ey’r e difficu lt t o system ise. Th e Na tion a l Cu r r icu lu m discou r a ges specia lisa t ion or even discou r a ges qu est ion in g h ow t h in gs wor k. Th e ch ild wit h Asper ger ’s wh o wa n t s t o kn ow a ll th e deta ils of wh o wa s in a pa r t icu la r ba t t le is t old, ‘St op a skin g a n n oyin g qu est ion s beca u se you ’r e h oldin g u p t h e r est of t h e cla ss.’ So t h eir qu est ion in g st yle is a ctu a lly discou r a ged.
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It ’s n ot a ll doom a n d gloom , h owever . We’ve been developin g som e edu ca t ion a l soft wa r e t o t r y a n d tea ch ch ildr en wit h a u t ism a n d Asper ger ’s a bou t a r ea s of em pa t h y u sin g t h eir syst em isin g t a len t s. In t h e soft wa r e we h a ve a ctor s sh owin g differ en t fa cia l expr ession s; so ch ildr en ca n pu t t h e DVD in t o t h eir compu t er a n d t a ke t h eir t im e t o lea r n wh ich fa ce ma t ch es ea ch em ot ion a n d lea r n in for m a t ion a bou t em pa th y systema t ica lly, r a t h er t h a n lea r n in g a bou t

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em ot ion s in t h e u su a l wa y. In t h e gr a ph t h e blu e lin e sh ows t h e per for m a n ce of ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e wh o a r e given t h e oppor t u n it y t o u se t h is DVD over a t en -week per iod a n d t h ey a ctu a lly im pr ove on t h eir a bilit y to r ecogn ise em ot ion s, compa r ed t o ch ildr en wit h Asper ger ’s wh o don ’t get t h is oppor t u n it y t o u se t a ilor ed edu ca t ion a l soft wa r e. We’ve a lso r ecen t ly developed a ch ildr en ’s a n im a t ion ca lled Th e Tr a n spor t er s, wh ich does som et h in g sim ila r even for pr e-sch ool ch ildr en wit h a u t ism or Asper ger ’s. Ch ildr en wit h a u t ism or Asper ger Syn dr om e love t o wa t ch mech a n ica l veh icles beca u se t h ey’r e ea sy t o syst em ise: t h ey m ove a lon g tr a cks a n d t h ey’r e h igh ly pr edicta ble. Wh a t we’ve don e is pu t em otion a l expr ession s on t o t h e veh icles so t h a t , even wit h ou t r ea lisin g it , wh en ch ildr en wit h a u t ism or Asper ger ’s a r e wa t ch in g t h e m ech a n ica l syst em s t h ey’r e im plicit ly lea r n in g a bou t t h e socia l wor ld a n d lea r n in g a bou t fa ces a n d em ot ion s. In th e gr a ph t ypica lly developin g ch ildr en a r e sh own on t h e gr een lin e, wh ile ch ildr en wit h a u tism or Asper ger ’s a r e sh own in r ed. Over a on e-m on t h per iod wh er e ch ildr en wit h a u t ism or Asper ger ’s wa t ch t h is DVD for on ly fift een m in u t es a da y, t h ey a ctu a lly ca t ch u p t ypica lly developin g ch ildr en . Th er efor e bot h t h ese t it les sh ow t h a t t h er e a r e edu ca tion a l m et h ods th a t ca n ca pit a lise on t h e ch ildr en ’s in t er est in syst em s to t r y a n d h elp t h em wit h t h eir a r ea s of difficu lt y.

So my con clu sion s a r e t h a t a u t ism a n d Asper ger Syn dr ome a r e ch a r a cter ised by st r en gt h s in syst em isin g a s well a s a r ea s of difficu lt y in em pa t h y. Th eir st r on g syst em isin g ch a r a cter ist ics lea d t o a desir e t o specia lise, wh ich is difficu lt wit h in t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m th a t expects ch ildr en t o st op specia lisin g a n d keep a br oa d ou t look. My fin a l poin t is t h a t t h er e m a y be m et h ods, edu ca t ion a lly, wh ich we ca n u se t o h a r n ess t h e st r en gt h s in syst em isin g of ch ildr en with Asper ger ’s t o h elp t h em wit h t h eir a r ea s of difficu lt y.

An d I wa n t t o close wit h a m odest pr oposa l to open t h e deba t e - beca u se t h is is r ea lly pa r t of wh a t th is ser ies of lectu r es is in ten ded t o do, to con t r ibu t e t o t h e
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edu ca tion a l deba t e - if ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e ca n cope in t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m , th a t ’s gr ea t a n d we sh ou ld su ppor t t h em t o follow t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m ; it h a s m a n y ben efit s. Bu t if t h ey ca n ’t cope th ey sh ou ld be a llowed t o specia lise, wh ich is wh a t we a llow a t u n iver sit y level. At u n iver sit y you ’r e n ot a sked t o do eigh t or t en su bject s; you ’r e a llowed t o pick ju st on e su bject a n d follow it in dept h . P er h a ps we sh ou ld a llow ch ildr en wit h Asper ger Syn dr om e t o do t h is, even a t pr im a r y sch ool, r a t h er th a n wa it u n t il t h ey dr op ou t wit h n o qu a lifica t ion s. An d fin a lly, a qu est ion : m igh t t h e ben efit s of su ch a specia lisa t ion ou t weigh t h e disa dva n t a ges of lea vin g th em t o flou n der in t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m ?

Do visit ou r websit e - www.a u tism r esea r ch cen t r e.com - if you wa n t a n y m or e in for ma tion a bou t a n y of t h e stu dies I’ve been descr ibin g.

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QU ESTION S
Audience Mem ber: I w ou ld lik e t o k n ow h ow you eva lu a t ed t h e a u t is t ic ch ild r en ’s a bilit y t o d o bet t er on t h e em p a t h y t es t ; h ow wa s it eva lu a t ed ? T h ey m a y h a ve d on e bet t er on t h e t es t , bu t d oes t h a t s a y s om et h in g a bou t t h eir a bilit y a ct u a lly t o u s e em ot ion s ?

S im on B aron-Cohen: T h is is a ver y im p or t a n t qu es t ion : h ow d o you eva lu a t e im p r ovem en t a ft er a n ed u ca t ion a l in t er ven t ion ? Wit h t h e t w o exa m p les I s h ow ed , t h e em ot ion s en cyclop a ed ia if you lik e, w h ich we ca ll ‘M in d r ea d in g’, a n d a ls o t h e ch ild r en ’s a n im a t ion T h e T r a n s p or t er s , we t es t ch ild r en a t va r iou s levels of gen er a lis a t ion t o s ee wh et h er t h ey’r e s im p ly lea r n in g w h a t t h ey w er e exp os ed t o, or w h et h er t h ey ca n t r a n s fer w h a t t h ey’ve lea r n t t o n ew m a t er ia l. S o w e h a d va r iou s levels of eva lu a t ion . T h e fir s t level is h a ve t h ey m a n a ged t o lea r n w it h m a t er ia l t h a t t h ey w er e given t o p r a ct is e a n d w e s ee im p r ovem en t s a t t h a t level. T h e s econ d level is ca n t h ey n ow r ecogn is e em ot ion s in m a t er ia ls t h a t w er e n ot p a r t of t h eir h om ew or k , if you lik e; s o w e give t h em n ew exa m p les . T h en t h e t h ir d level, wh ich w e ca ll d is t a n t gen er a lis a t ion , is w h er e w e give t h em exa m p les of em ot ion s t h a t w er e of a com p let ely d iffer en t for m a t ; s o t h ey a r e n ot p r es en t ed in t h e s a m e for m a t a s on t h e D VD . I h a ven ’t s h ow n you t h e d et a ils h er e, bu t a t a ll t h r ee levels we s ee im p r ovem en t . T h er efor e t h e op p or t u n it y t o s t u d y em ot ion s in t h is ver y a r t ificia l, s ys t em a t ic w a y s eem s t o h elp t h is p a r t icu la r gr ou p of ch ild r en .

Audience Mem ber: Ar e t h ey in a n y d a n ger fr om p eop le w h o m igh t m is in t er p r et w h a t you ’ve s a id a n d en d u p by r e-d efin in g in t ellect u a lis m a n d s ys t em is in g, w h ich s h ou ld be t h e a im s of ed u ca t ion , a s s u b-n or m a l? An d , follow in g t h a t u p , in or d er t o in clu d e a u t is t ic ch ild r en , s h ou ld n ’t t h e s ys t em a ct u a lly becom e m or e a bs t r a ct ? T h e p h r a s e u s ed a t t h e m om en t is ‘gift ed a n d t a len t ed ’, w h ich is n ot n eces s a r ily w h a t it m ea n s or w h a t it s a ys on t h e t in . S u r ely a good t ea ch er w ou ld en com p a s s t h e levels of cla s s ifica t ion t h a t you ’ve in t r od u ced a s a w a y of s h ow in g t h eir k n ow led ge a n d p os s ibly in clu d in g s u ch ch ild r en r a t h er t h a n fr u s t r a t in g t h em .

S im on B aron-Cohen: An s w er in g t h e s econ d p oin t fir s t , a good t ea ch er s h ou ld go d ow n t o t h a t s u bor d in a t e level of d et a il. R ea lly it ’s a bou t con s t r a in t s , w h a t t ea ch er s h a ve t o cover in a lim it ed n u m ber of les s on s a n d t h en m ove on . S o t h ey m a y n ot h a ve t h e t im e in t h e C u r r icu lu m

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t o go in t o t h e d ep t h t h a t t h e ch ild w it h As p er ger ’s w ou ld lik e. S o p er h a p s w e h a ve t o a llow ch ild r en w it h As p er ger ’s t o lea ve t h e m a in s t r ea m cla s s r oom a n d s p en d a lot lon ger t o lea r n exh a u s t ively t h e n a m es of a ll t h e ba t t les or t h e n a m es of a ll t h e ba t t a lion s or t h e n a m es of a ll t h e a p p le t yp es . It ’s n ot t h a t t ea ch er s w ou ld n ’t w a n t t o a llow ch ild r en t o go a s fa r a s t h ey ca n , it ’s ju s t a m a t t er of con s t r a in t s , of t im e-t a blin g it . You r ot h er qu es t ion w a s a bou t w h et h er , w h a t you ca lled in t ellect u a lis m , u n d er t h is wa y of look in g a t t h in gs m igh t be cla s s ed a s s u b-n or m a l. I t r ied t o s h ow in t h a t ea r ly gr a ph of t h e n or m a l d is t r ibu t ion , t h e bell cu r ve, t h a t w h en it com es t o s ys t em is in g, ch ild r en w it h As p er ger ’s w er e a bove a ver a ge; t h ey’r e n ot s u b-n or m a l, t h ey’r e k in d of s u p er n or m a l. It is t r u e t h a t t h ey h a ve a r ecogn is ed d is a bilit y bu t I t h in k p a r t of t h e m es s a ge is t h a t w h en you h a ve a d is a bilit y it d oes n ’t n eces s a r ily m ea n t h a t you ’r e globa lly d is a bled ; t h er e m a y be s om e a r ea s w h er e you ’r e eit h er n or m a l or even s u p er n or m a l a n d ot h er a r ea s w h er e - I t h in k s u b-n or m a l is a n u gly t er m – you ’r e below a ver a ge. S o I t h in k t h a t p a r t of t h is is a p lea t o p eop le t o look a t a va r iet y of p r ofiles : t h a t ch ild r en d on ’t ju s t s it in t h e m id d le of t h e s p ect r u m ; t h ey h a ve a va r iet y of p r ofiles a n d w e h a ve t o ca t er t o t h a t va r ia t ion .

Audience Mem ber: You ’ve s a id t h a t t h er e’s a n eed t o s ys t em is e s o w e n eed t o let t h e ch ild r en d o t h a t . T h er e’s a ls o t h e n eed for t ot a l con t r ol; wh er e d o you d r a w t h e lin e on let t in g t h e ch ild be in t ot a l con t r ol?

S im on B aron-Cohen: S t r on g s ys t em is er s h a ve a d es ir e for t ot a l con t r ol a n d I t h in k t h is is a p os it ive fea t u r e beca u s e if you h a ve t ot a l con t r ol over t h e s ys t em you ’r e t r yin g t o lea r n , you ca n lea r n it a s a com p let e s ys t em ; you ca n com p let ely m a s t er it . An exa m p le m igh t be you r com p u t er . If n obod y els e m es s es a r ou n d wit h you r com p u t er a n d lea ves it exa ct ly t h e w a y it w a s w h en you la s t t ou ch ed it , you ca n ca r r y on lea r n in g h ow you r com p u t er w or k s u n t il you ’ve com p let ely m a s t er ed it . T h a t ’s fin e if you ’r e in a s olit a r y w or ld wh er e n obod y els e im p a ct s on w h a t you ’r e d oin g. I s u p p os e t h e d ow n s id e of t h is d es ir e for t ot a l con t r ol is t h a t it m a y be d ifficu lt t o w or k in gr ou p s ; it w ou ld be d ifficu lt t o w or k a s p a r t of a t ea m beca u s e if you ’r e a s t r on g s ys t em is er you u lt im a t ely w a n t t o u n d er s t a n d t h e s ys t em for you , for you r s elf. O n e im p lica t ion of t h is m a y be t h a t ch ild r en w it h As p er ger S yn d r om e m a y d o bet t er t a k en ou t s id e of a gr ou p s o t h ey ca n w or k in a s olit a r y w a y, or on e t o on e. Wh en I fir s t s t a r t ed in t h is field I

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h a d t h e p r ivilege of w or k in g in a s m a ll u n it for a u t is t ic ch ild r en w h er e t h e t ea ch er t o ch ild r a t io w a s on e t o on e beca u s e it w a s r ecogn is ed t h a t t h es e ch ild r en m a y n ot d o w ell in gr ou p s . T h ey d o bet t er on e t o on e w h er e t h ey ca n h a ve t ot a l con t r ol. You ca n s ee t h a t beh a viou r eit h er in n ega t ive t er m s - t h a t a ch ild is n ot a t ea m p la yer - or you ca n s ee it in p os it ive t er m s - t h a t a ch ild ’s n eed for con t r ol ca n m ea n t h ey r ea lly excel if left in t h e t r a n qu illit y, if you lik e, of bein g a ble t o lea r n a s ys t em in it s en t ir et y.

Audience Mem ber: I’m a ch ild of t h e 1960s ; I h a ve been a t ea ch er a n d n ow I coa ch a d u lt s w it h As p er ger ’s . I w a s m u llin g a s you w er e t a lk in g a bou t t h e p u r p os e of ed u ca t ion a n d , a s a ch ild of t h e 60s , I’ve got a ver y w id e view of w h a t t h e p u r p os e is . I w a s t a lk in g t o s om eon e t od a y w it h As p er ger ’s a n d h e wa s s a yin g, ‘I h a t e t h a t it ’s a s ocia l w or ld . I h a t e it ’. Is it n ot t h a t t h e m or e you ca t er t o t h e n eed for in d ivid u a lit y, t h e h a r d er it is t o give t h em t h e cir cu m s t a n ces in w h ich t o lea r n h ow t o cop e w it h t h e s ocia l w or ld . I’m in t er es t ed in you r p oin t of view on t h a t .

S im on B aron-Cohen: I t oo a m a ch ild of t h e 60s , a n d cla s s r oom d es ign w en t t h r ou gh a big r evolu t ion in t h e 60s w h er e ch ild r en w er e m oved ou t of r ow s of d es k s a n d , in p r im a r y s ch ools , m oved in t o s m a ll gr ou p s w h er e you lea r n t in a m u ch m or e s ocia l for m a t : t a lk in g t o you r p a r t n er , t a lk in g t o you r n eigh bou r , lea r n in g by d is cu s s ion , lea r n in g by co-op er a t ion . T h er e w a s a m u ch m or e flu id d es ign t o t h e cla s s r oom . T h a t ’s fin e if you ’r e a s ocia ble ch ild ; you m igh t even en joy it . C h ild r en w it h As p er ger ’s a n d ch ild r en w it h a u t is m m a y flou n d er in a m u ch m or e s ocia l d es ign of t h e cla s s r oom a n d m a y h a ve a ct u a lly d on e m u ch bet t er wit h t h e m or e p r ed ict a ble, s t r u ct u r ed cla s s r oom d es ign , s it t in g qu iet ly a n d ju s t look in g a t in for m a t ion in bla ck -a n d -w h it e on t h e bla ck boa r d . N ow you r qu es t ion r ea lly is , if you wen t ba ck t o t h a t les s s ocia ble cla s s r oom for m a t , h ow a r e t h ey goin g t o lea r n s ocia l s k ills ? Well, s ocia l s k ills ca n be t a u gh t in a va r iet y of w a ys , or you fin d op p or t u n it ies for s ocia l s k ills in a va r iet y of w a ys , bu t it m a y be t h a t t r yin g t o m ix s ocia l s k ills w it h ot h er k in d s of lea r n in g is a ct u a lly goin g t o in t er fer e w it h lea r n in g for ch ild r en w it h As p er ger ’s . I s h ow ed you s om e exa m p les of t ea ch in g s ocia l s k ills t h r ou gh com p u t er s ; it ’s h igh ly a r t ificia l bu t it s eem s t o h a ve s om e ben efit for s om e ch ild r en . We’ve been r u n n in g s om et h in g ca lled ‘L ego C lu b’ in C a m br id ge w h er e w e get ch ild r en w it h As p er ger S yn d r om e t o com e in a n d p la y L ego in s m a ll gr ou p s w it h ot h er ch ild r en w it h As p er ger ’s beca u s e it ’s a ll a bou t m ech a n ica l s ys t em s . T h ey bu ild t h in gs t h r ou gh L ego a n d

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t h ey feel con fid en t beca u s e t h ey d on ’t h a ve t o ch a t , t h ey d on ’t h a ve t o s ocia lis e a n d t h ey ca n ju s t bu ild t h in gs lik e lit t le en gin eer s , yet in a dver t en t ly t h ey’r e lea r n in g t o s ocia lis e beca u s e t h ey h a ve t o s h a r e t h e m a t er ia ls . S o I t h in k t h er e a r e w a ys t o p r om ot e s ocia l s k ills wit h ou t it n eces s a r ily in t er fer in g w it h t h e w a y t h a t ch ild r en wit h As p er ger ’s m in d s w or k .

Audience Mem ber: M y qu es t ion con cer n s co-m obilit y w it h ot h er con d it ion s a n d I’m a s k in g a s a s p ecia lis t in d ys lexia , d ys p r a xia , a n d p er h a p s a t t en t ion d eficit d is or d er . H a ve you com e a cr os s a n y p a r t icu la r in t er a ct ion s , a s in Ven n d ia gr a m m od els con cer n ed w it h d ys p r a xia p er h a p s , beca u s e I h a ve com e a cr os s m a n y you n g p eop le w it h As p er ger ’s w h o a r e a ls o d ys p r a xic, a n d a ls o m a n y wit h AD D w h o over -focu s wh en t h ey’r e fa s cin a t ed a n d u n d er -focu s w h en t h ey’r e n ot fa s cin a t ed , a n d I’m in t er es t ed t o k n ow wh et h er you ’ve look ed in t o t h os e con d it ion s a t a ll?

S im on B aron-Cohen: Well, you m en t ion ed d ys p r a xia , a t er m w e u s e t o d es cr ibe clu m s in es s or d ifficu lt ies w it h m ot or co-or d in a t ion bu t it a ls o in clu d es s ocia l clu m s in es s , d ifficu lt ies w it h in t egr a t in g in gr ou p s , a n d it is m u ch m or e com m on in As p er ger ’s t h a n in m a n y ot h er con d it ion s ; s o it d oes over la p a lt h ou gh I d on ’t k n ow t h e exa ct figu r es . Wit h t h e m ot or clu m s in es s , I’ve w on d er ed w h et h er t h a t m igh t p a r t ly r ela t e t o t h e d es ir e t o s ys t em is e beca u s e if you r br a in is w or k in g in t h a t w a y, w h er e you w a n t t o lea r n s om et h in g ver y s ys t em a t ica lly, it m a y be t h a t even s im p le t h in gs lik e w a lk in g or ca t ch in g a ba ll m a y be ver y d ifficu lt u n t il you ’ve a ct u a lly a n a lys ed t h e a ct ion s in a h igh ly s ys t em a t ic fa s h ion . You even fin d ch ild r en or a d u lt s w it h As p er ger ’s s a yin g t h in gs lik e, ‘I’m n ot qu it e s u r e w h a t t o d o w it h m y a r m s w h en I’m w a lk in g. H ow d o I s win g m y a r m s w h ils t I’m m ovin g m y legs ?’ S o t h ey’r e con s ciou s ly t h in k in g a bou t t h e t im in g of w h a t com es n a t u r a lly t o m os t of u s ; we d on ’t r ea lly con s ciou s ly t r y a n d s ys t em is e it . S o it m a y be t h a t t h is d ifficu lt y w it h clu m s in es s or m ot or co-or d in a t ion a n d t h a t k in d of d ys p r a xia r ela t es t o t h is n eed t o s ys t em is e ever yt h in g. You a ls o m en t ion ed a t t en t ion d eficit a n d h yp er a ct ivit y d is or d er (ADH D ) a n d it s eem s t h a t t h er e is a n over la p t h er e t oo: a p p a r en t ly a bou t 50 p er cen t of ch ild r en on t h e a u t is t ic s p ect r u m a ls o h a ve AD H D a n d t h a t s eem s t o be a bit of a p a r a d ox beca u s e w h a t I’ve d es cr ibed is t h a t ch ild r en w it h As p er ger ’s lik e t o over -focu s on d et a il w h ile in AD H D oft en t h e p r oblem is t h a t t h eir a t t en t ion s p a n is t oo s h or t ; s o t h a t ’s r ea lly a p u zzle t h a t n eed s m or e r es ea r ch .

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Audience Mem ber: I’ve a qu es t ion in t w o p a r t s : t h e fir s t is , you m en t ion ed t h a t you ’d s u r veyed m a t h em a t ic a n d h u m a n it ies s t u d en t s a n d you s h ow ed u s s om e p er cen t a ges of s t u d en t s t h a t s a id t h a t t h ey h a d a u t is m or As p er ger ’s . H ow m a n y p eop le d id you a s k ?

S im on B aron-Cohen: I ca n t ell you t h a t br oa d ly: it wa s a bou t 400 s t u d en t s in m a t h em a t ics a n d a s im ila r n u m ber in t h e h u m a n it ies . S o it ’s n ot a la r ge-s ca le s t u d y, bu t you ca n s ee t h e r a t es w er e a bou t 2 p er cen t a m on gs t t h e m a t h em a t icia n s a n d a bou t 0.2 p er cen t a m on gs t t h e h u m a n it ies s t u d en t s . N ow , t h a t ’s a t en -fold d iffer en ce in t h e r a t e of a u t is m d ep en d in g on w h et h er you ’r e s t u d yin g m a t h s or s t u d yin g t h e h u m a n it ies . S o t h is t ells u s t h a t t h er e’s s om e a s s ocia t ion bet w een h a vin g a d ia gn os is on t h e a u t is t ic s p ect r u m a n d en d in g u p in on e k in d of s u bject r a t h er t h a n in a n ot h er .

Audience Mem ber: P a r t t w o of t h e qu es t ion is t h a t I’m a m en t or a n d a s p ecia lis t t r a in er a n d I’ve obviou s ly com e a cr os s a lot of p eop le w it h As p er ger S yn d r om e. O n e of t h e t h in gs I’ve fou n d is t h a t a s w ell a s p eop le en joyin g s cien ce a n d m a t h em a t ics , I’ve s t a r t ed t o n ot ice t h a t qu it e a lot a r e in t er es t ed in t h e a r t s - in m u s ic a n d a r t - a n d I ju s t w on d er ed w h et h er you h a d a n y t h ou gh t s on t h a t .

S im on B aron-Cohen: F ir s t of a ll, I’m d eligh t ed t o h ea r t h a t you a r e a m en t or , beca u s e it is n ow a r ecom m en d a t ion fr om t h e N a t ion a l Au t is t ic S ociet y t h a t ever y p er s on w it h a u t is m or As p er ger ’s s h ou ld h a ve t h eir own m en t or a n d it r ela t es t o t h e ea r lier qu es t ion a bou t p r om ot in g s k ills , in p a r t icu la r s ocia l s k ills : a m en t or ca n be a ver y good w a y for h elp in g s om eon e w it h a u t is m or As p er ger ’s in t er p r et t h e s ocia l w or ld t o m a k e it les s con fu s in g. T o you r s p ecific qu es t ion a bou t m u s ic a n d t h e a r t s , m u s ic is a r ea lly good exa m p le of a s ys t em . You ca n eit h er look a t m u s ic a s a lm os t a m a t h em a t ica l s ys t em w h er e you h a ve in t er va ls bet w een n ot es or s ys t em a t ic r u les or r egu la r it ies of w h a t h a p p en s a cr os s a p iece: s o for exa m p le you m igh t get a k ey ch a n ge in a ver y la w fu l w a y. You get t h e s a m e k ey ch a n ge ever y t im e you h ea r t h a t p iece of m u s ic a n d t h e w h ole p iece of m u s ic is id en t ica l ever y t im e you h ea r it s o you ca n lis t en t o it over a n d over a ga in a n d k n ow exa ct ly w h a t t o exp ect . S o, if you ’r e a s t r on g s ys t em is er , you h a ve As p er ger S yn d r om e a n d you love s ys t em s , you m igh t exp ect t h a t m u s ic w ou ld be a n a r ea t h a t you w ou ld be a t t r a ct ed t o. S o it ’s n ot ju s t a bou t m a t h em a t ics a n d it ’s n ot ju s t a bou t

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s cien ce; m u s ic is a n ot h er ver y good exa m p le. In t h e a r t s , in fin e a r t you n eed t ech n iqu e a n d I m en t ion ed ea r lier h ow you ca n r efin e t ech n iqu e in a n s w er t o t h e d ys p r a xia qu es t ion . Wh et h er it ’s in a r t s a n d cr a ft s or w h et h er it ’s in s p or t a n d m ovin g, you r efin e t ech n iqu e by p r a ct ice, r ep et it ion a n d r ea lly fin e t u n in g t h e r u les t h a t gover n t h a t t ech n iqu e. S o a ga in I’m n ot s u r p r is ed t h a t s om e ch ild r en or a d u lt s w it h As p er ger S yn d r om e r ea lly en joy t h e r ep et it ion of t r yin g t o get t h e effect t h a t t h ey w a n t in a r t .

Audience Mem ber: I’m ju s t w on d er in g, m igh t Op p os it ion a l D efia n ce D is or d er be lin k ed a s w ell? Als o, you t a lk ed a bou t m ot h er s a n d fa t h er s , wer e t h ey p a r en t s of t h e s a m e ch ild r en ? Ar e t h ey a t t r a ct ed t o ea ch ot h er ?

S im on B aron-Cohen: Op p os it ion a l D efia n ce D is or d er is a t er m t h a t s om e p h ys icia n s u s e a n d it d es cr ibes exa ct ly a s it s ou n d s : ch ild r en w h o a r e d ifficu lt t o m a n a ge. F r om w h a t I’ve s a id a bou t As p er ger S yn d r om e, you cou ld ea s ily im a gin e h ow a ch ild m a y be m is d ia gn os ed a s h a vin g O p p os it ion a l D efia n ce D is or d er if t h ey’r e con s t a n t ly a s k in g ‘Wh y d o I h a ve t o d o t h is ?’, ‘Wh y a r e t h in gs d on e t h a t w a y r a t h er t h a n t h a t wa y?’, a n d t h ey r efu s e t o con for m t o s ocia l n or m s . S o I t h in k t h er e’s p len t y of s cop e for m is d ia gn os is a n d t h e u s e of s om e of t h es e ot h er t er m s . T a k in g you r qu es t ion a bou t t h e p a r en t s , in t h e p a r t icu la r s t u d y I s h ow ed , w e w er e ju s t look in g a t fa t h er s of ch ild r en w it h As p er ger ’s a s a gr ou p a n d m ot h er s of ch ild r en w it h As p er ger ’s a s a gr ou p , w h ich s h ow ed t h a t t h er e w er e d iffer en ces in h ow t h ey s cor ed on t h e p a r t icu la r t es t s . B u t w e a r e t r yin g t o in ves t iga t e t h e in t er es t in g id ea t h a t you ’ve ju s t m en t ion ed , w h ich is wh et h er m ot h er s a n d fa t h er s of ch ild r en w it h a u t is m m igh t be a t t r a ct ed t o on e a n ot h er beca u s e t h ey s h a r e s im ila r ch a r a ct er is t ics ; t h is m igh t be t r u e r igh t a cr os s t h e p op u la t ion , t h a t lik e is a t t r a ct ed t o lik e. Bu t it m a y be t h a t in t h e ca s e of As p er ger S yn d r om e, t h a t t h ey’r e been a t t r a ct ed t o s om eon e w it h a s im ila r m in d , a s im ila r w a y of t h in k in g a n d a s im ila r w a y of beh a vin g, a n d t h is m a y be a ga in p a r t of t h e gen et ics of a u t is m a n d As p er ger ’s : is it t h e ca s e t h a t t h e gen es t h a t r es u lt in t h is p a r t icu la r d ia gn os is h a ve com e fr om bot h p a r en t s a n d is it a p a r t icu la r m ix of t h os e gen es t h a t ca u s e t h e con d it ion ?

Audience Mem ber: D es cr ibin g a u t is m , you ’ve p r eviou s ly u s ed t h e won d er fu l p h r a s e ‘t h e ext r em e m a le br a in ’, s o I w on d er ed fir s t , w h a t is t h e gen d er p r ofile? An d t h en , a s ligh t ly

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in vid iou s s ou n d in g qu es t ion , bu t I m ea n it com p let ely s er iou s ly, d o you t h in k ou r p r im e m in is t er , G or d on B r ow n exh ibit s a n y of t h e s ym p t om s of As p er ger ’s ?

S im on B aron-Cohen: In a n s wer t o t h e fir s t of you r qu es t ion s , a bou t t h e gen d er p r ofile, I s h ou ld h a ve m en t ion ed a t t h e begin n in g t h a t a u t is m a n d As p er ger ’s a ffect boys m u ch m or e oft en t h a n gir ls : for cla s s ic a u t is m it ’s a bou t 4 boys for ever y 1 gir l, for As p er ger S yn d r om e it ’s 9 boys for ever y 1 gir l. I h a ven ’t s h ow n you t h e evid en ce for t yp ica l d iffer en ces bet w een m a les a n d fem a les in t h e p op u la t ion bu t a lm os t a ll of t h os e t a s k s t h a t I w a s s h ow in g you , t h e p s ych ologica l m ea s u r es , s h ow s ex d iffer en ces a n d boys t en d in g t o be m or e in t er es t ed in t h e s ys t em s a n d gir ls t en d in g t o be m or e in t er es t ed in t h e w or ld of feelin gs a n d em ot ion s in t h e gen er a l p op u la t ion . S o it ’s a s ep a r a t e lect u r e r ea lly t o t h in k a bou t a u t is m or As p er ger ’s a s s im p ly a n ext r em e of t h e t yp ica l m a le p r ofile. F or t h e s econ d qu es t ion a bou t ou r p r im e m in is t er , I t h in k you m a y be p ick in g u p on t h e fa ct t h a t in t h e m ed ia in 2007 s om ebod y m a d e t h is a llega t ion in t h e for m of t h e qu es t ion ‘D oes G or d on B r own h a ve a for m of a u t is m ?’ w a s a bit ou t r a ged t h a t t h is wa s even a lleged a ct u a lly, beca u s e w e’ve got t o be ca r efu l h a t t h e t er m ‘a u t is m ’, or ‘As p er ger ’s ’, is n ’t u s ed s o ligh t ly t h a t it becom es m ea n in gles s . P a r t of w h a t I w a s t r yin g t o con vey ea r lier w a s t h a t ch ild r en w it h a u t is m or As p er ger S yn d r om e h a ve a r ea s of s t r en gt h bu t t h ey a ls o ca n s u ffer . T h e con d it ion s a r e a d is a bilit y t h a t ca n lea d t h em t o h a vin g gr ea t ever yd a y d ifficu lt ies , a n d ch ild r en a n d a d u lt s a r e d es cr ibed a s s u ch on ly a ft er d ia gn os is : you go t o a clin ic a n d t h e d ia gn os is is on ly m a d e if t h er e’s ver y clea r evid en ce for s u ffer in g, a n d t h a t t h e ch ild or in d eed t h e a d u lt is in t r ou ble. We m igh t a ll u s e t h e t er m ver y loos ely, s a yin g t h a t t h is p er s on is ‘a bit a u t is t ic’ or t h is p er s on is ‘a bit As p er ger -y’, bu t t h a t ’s a d ilu t ion of t h e t er m . S o we s h ou ld n ’t r ea lly s p ecu la t e a bou t ‘d oes G or d on Br ow n h a ve s om e of t h es e ch a r a ct er is t ics ?’, beca u s e t h es e ch a r a ct er is t ics ca n on ly be a s s es s ed t h r ou gh a d ia gn os t ic p r oces s . T h e d ia gn os t ic p r oces s t yp ica lly t a k es h a lf a d a y w h er e you go in d et a il in t o a n in d ivid u a l’s h is t or y, in clu d in g t h eir ch ild h ood , s o it w ou ld be w r on g t o s p ecu la t e a bou t a n y of u s , in clu d in g h is t or ica l fa m ou s s cien t is t s or fa m ou s p olit icia n s , w it h ou t r ea lly goin g t h r ou gh t h e d u e p r oces s of h ow a d ia gn os is is m a d e.

Audience Mem ber: I a m t h e h ea d t ea ch er of a s p ecia l s ch ool t h a t h a s t h e a bilit y t o a d a p t t h e C u r r icu lu m for ou r p u p ils , t h a n k good n es s . We offer a lot of s er vices t o m a in s t r ea m s ch ools

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w h o a r e d ea lin g w it h you n g ch ild r en w it h As per ger S yn d r om e a n d I’m ver y excit ed t o s ee t h a t you ’ve a ct u a lly got r es ea r ch t o ba ck u p w h a t you ’r e s a yin g n ow a bou t h ow ch ild r en wit h As p er ger ’s lea r n . T o h elp t ea ch er s in m a in s t r ea m s ch ools a n d a d vis e t h em a bou t s om et h in g t h a t w e k n ow, a n d t h a t you ’ve n ow got r es ea r ch t o ba ck u p , d o you t h in k w e s h ou ld be t ellin g t h em w h a t you ’r e t ellin g u s h er e, t h a t t h ey s h ou ld n ’t be a d h er in g t o t h e N a t ion a l C u r r icu lu m for m u la ?

S im on B aron-Cohen: Well, I’m n ot a la w yer a n d I d on ’t k n ow w h a t t h e la w s a ys a bou t t h e r equ ir em en t for ch ild r en t o a d h er e t o t h e N a t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m , s o, h er e, I a m r ea lly op en in g t h e d eba t e. I’m d eligh t ed t o h ea r t h a t in t h e s p ecia l s ch ools you ’ve a lr ea d y r eject ed a s p ect s of t h e N a t ion a l C u r r icu lu m for ch ild r en w it h As p er ger ’s . M a ybe in t h e s p ecia l s ch ools you h a ve m or e fr eed om t o d evia t e fr om w h a t t h e gover n m en t s a ys . H ow ever , w e k n ow t h er e a r e m a n y ch ild r en w it h As p er ger ’s in m a in s t r ea m s ch ools ; t h ey a r e exp ect ed t o follow t h e N a t ion a l C u r r icu lu m a n d t h ey a r e r u n n in g in t o d ifficu lt ies a n d , a s I m en t ion ed , becom in g d ep r es s ed , s u icid a l a n d d r op p in g ou t of s ch ool. S o I t h in k m a in s t r ea m s ch ools h a ve a lot t o lea r n fr om s p ecia l s ch ools a n d I’m op en in g t h e d eba t e s o t h a t ch ild r en w it h As p er ger ’s a r e n ot ju s t left t o flou n d er .

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Are schools still relevant?
Tuesday 10 June 2008 Professor David Hopkins

In t r odu ction by Pa u l Br et t David Hopkins is t h e in a u gu r a l H SBC Ch a ir in In t er n a t ion a l Lea der sh ip, wh er e h e su ppor t s th e wor k of iNet , t h e In t er n a t ion a l a r m of t h e Specia list Sch ools Tr u st a n d t h e Lea der sh ip Cen t r e a t t h e In st itu t e of E du ca t ion , Un iver sit y of Lon don . H e is a lso a P r ofessor ia l F ellow a t t h e F a cu lt y of E du ca tion , Un iver sit y of Melbou r n e. Between 2002 a n d 2005 h e ser ved th r ee Secret a r ies of St a t es a s t h e Ch ief Adviser on Sch ool St a n da r ds a t t h e (t h en ) Depa r t m en t for E du ca t ion a n d Skills. Pr eviou sly, h e wa s Ch a ir of t h e Leicest er Cit y P a r t n er sh ip Boa r d a n d Dea n of t h e F a cu lt y of E du ca t ion a t th e Un iver sit y of Not t in gh a m . Pr ior t o t h a t h e wa s a t u t or a t t h e Un iver sity of Ca m br idge In stit u t e of E du ca t ion , a secon da r y sch ool t ea ch er a n d a n ou t wa r d bou n d in st r u ctor . Da vid is a lso a n in t er n a t ion a l mou n ta in gu ide wh o st ill clim bs r egu la r ly in th e Alps a n d H im a la ya s. H e is t h e a u t h or of a n u mber of books in clu din g, E ver y Sch ool a Gr ea t Sch ool (2008) a n d Sch ool Im pr ovem en t for Rea l (2001).

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Befor e I exa m in e t h is qu est ion of ‘Ar e Sch ools Releva n t ?’, I t h in k I sh ou ld n a il m y colou r s t o t h e m a st : I’m a gr ea t believer , a gr ea t a dvoca te, of pu blic sch ool edu ca tion . I believe t h a t societ ies will wit h er u n less th ey h a ve r obu st, pu blicly fu n ded sch ool syst em s a n d, a lt h ou gh I t h in k t h er e a r e m a n y t h in gs wr on g wit h

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ou r sch ools a s t h ey cu r r en t ly a r e a n d I will su ggest h ow t h ey ca n be r efor m ed, I a m a st r on g a dvoca te of pu blic edu ca t ion .

Th is pa ssion for pu blic edu ca t ion h a s a ver y per son a l ba ckgr ou n d. I come fr om coa l m in in g st ock in Sou t h Wa les. My fa t h er wa s bor n in t o a min in g villa ge ju st a bove Clyda ch , n or th of Swa n sea , a n d h e wa s th e on ly su r vivin g ch ild ou t of seven con fin em en t s. It’s h a r d t o believe; h is m ot h er wa s pr egn a n t seven t imes a n d on ly m y fa th er su r vived beyon d a yea r . I t h in k m y gr a n dpa r en t s wa n ted t h e ver y best t h ey cou ld for m y fa t h er a n d a t t h a t poin t in t im e in Sou t h Wa les edu ca tion wa s t h e on ly wa y ou t of t h e pit. Also, in Sou th Wa les we h a ve a ver y pr ou d t r a dit ion of a t r em en dou s in ter -con n ectedn ess between left -win g polit ics a n d Ca lvin ist ic r eligion a n d edu ca t ion , a n d I’ve t r ied t o r em a in fa it h fu l t o it du r in g t h e va r iou s r oles I’ve h eld in m y ca r eer . Th a t m a y sou n d a little bit r om a n t ic bu t it is cer t a in ly deeply felt .

Dr a win g on a n oth er per son a l even t fr om m y life, I’m st a r t in g t h is lectu r e wit h a pictu r e of Mou n t E ver est a n d I’m st a n din g wit h m y eldest son , J er om e, on t h e Nor th Col of Mou n t E ver est , a t a bou t 7,050 m et r es (or a bou t 23,150 feet ), wh en

h e wa s
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the
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you n gest per son t o r ea ch th e Nor t h Col of Mou n t E ver est . My r ea son for sh owin g t h is ph ot ogr a ph is n ot ju st t o celebr a t e t h is won der fu l m om en t for a fa t h er a n d son , bu t t o celebr a t e t h e fa ct th a t I wa s t h er e in m y ca pa cit y a s a pr ofession a l m ou n t a in gu ide t o wor k wit h a you n g m a n ca lled P a u l Sillet oe. P a u l is a ser vice u ser wit h McIn t yr e Ca r e, t h e biggest ch a r it y in t h e UK for m en t a lly disa bled people. H e exh ibit s t h e fu ll a u t ist ic spectr u m ; wh et h er h e is t ech n ica lly a u tist ic or n ot is a m a t t er for deba t e bu t t h a t is h ow h e pr esen t s. H e h a s, h owever , a n obsession wit h m ou n t a in eer in g a n d a t ot a l fixa t ion for clim bin g

Mou n t E ver est . I h a ve clim bed wit h P a u l n ow for a n u mber of yea r s a n d fou r yea r s a go, wh en t h is pictu r e wa s t a ken , we h a d r ea ch ed th e Nor t h Col, wh ich is r ega r ded a s a m ou n t a in eer in g objective in it s own r igh t , a n d it wa s a gr ea t pr ivilege for m e t o be wit h h im on t h a t lovely da y. Now I t ell you t h is n ot on ly beca u se I t h in k it ’s a st or y wor t h t ellin g in it s own r igh t , bu t a lso beca u se it dem on st r a t es wh er e m y m ou n t a in eer in g ca r eer a n d my edu ca tion a l ca r eer come t oget h er - a n d I su ppose it a lso u n der pin s m y pa ssion for pu blic edu ca t ion . Th is ph otogr a ph a ctu a lly r ecor ds a r em a r ka ble m om en t : it m a r ks t h e wor ld r ecor d for a m en t a lly disa bled per son clim bin g E ver est a n d it dem on str a t es th a t u n der t h e r igh t con dit ion s even som eon e wit h a disa bilit y like Pa u l’s ca n do qu it e
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ext r a or din a r y t h in gs. If we ca n get t h e con dit ion s r igh t , if we ca n get t h e r igh t su ppor t in pla ce, th en even someon e wit h a ba ckgr ou n d sim ila r t o P a u l’s ca n exceed beyon d m ost people’s wildest dr ea m s. An d it seem s t o m e th a t t h a t ’s r ea lly wh a t we’r e a ll a bou t in pu blic edu ca t ion . Th e t est I believe t h a t sch ools h a ve t o a n swer in t h is cou n tr y is n ot n ecessa r ily a r e t h ey m eetin g t h e n or m a t ive st a n da r ds t h a t we r ea d a bou t in ou r n ewspa per s, im por t a n t a s t h ose a r e, bu t ca n t h e lea der s of t h e sch ools t h a t h a ve been vilified pu t t h eir h a n ds on th eir h ea r t s a n d sa y: ‘We a r e crea t in g t h e con dit ion s in ou r sch ools wh er e ever y you n g per son ca n r ea ch t h eir pot en t ia l.’ If t h e a n swer to th a t qu estion is ‘yes’, t h en I believe t h a t pu blic edu ca t ion is in good h a n ds a n d t h a t sch ools a r e r eleva n t . If t h e a n swer t o t h a t qu est ion is ‘n o’, th en I t h in k we h a ve a cr isis on ou r h a n ds. F or m e t h a t is t h e t ou ch st on e a n d in t h is lectu r e I will descr ibe som e of t h e con dit ion s we n eed t o pu t in t o pla ce t o en su r e th a t ever y you n g per son ca n r ea ch t h eir pot en t ia l.

St a yin g wit h t h e m ou n t a in eer in g t h em e for a momen t, I wa n t t o t a ke you ba ck t o t h e su m mer in 1971 wh en I wa s in Ch a mon ix, a t th e ba se of Mon t Bla n c in t h e F r en ch Alps, dr ea m in g of m ou n t a in s t o climb wh ile feelin g fr u st r a t ed a s I
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la y in my lit t le t en t wit h t h e r a in dr u mmin g down . As a n ewly qu a lified t ea ch er I t u r n ed t o t h e book Desch oolin g Societ y by Iva n Illich . F or m y gen er a t ion it wa s m a n da t or y r ea din g (a n d I wa s even m or e n a ïve th a n I a m n ow) a n d I r ea d t h is gr ea t book wit h a dea l of en t h u sia sm. Now, Illich wa s ver y pessim ist ic a bou t t h e fu t u r e of edu ca t ion in t h e la t e 1960s a n d ea r ly 1970s:

‘Un iver sa l edu ca t ion t h r ou gh sch oolin g is n ot fea sible. It wou ld be n o m or e fea sible if it wer e a t t em pt ed by m ea n s of a lt er n a t ive in st it u t ion s bu ilt on t h e st yle of pr esen t sch ools. Neith er n ew a t tit u des of tea ch er s t owa r d t h eir pu pils n or t h e pr olifer a t ion of edu ca t ion a l h a r dwa r e or soft wa r e (in cla ssr oom or bedr oom ), n or fin a lly t h e a t t em pt t o expa n d t h e peda gogu e’s r espon sibilit y u n t il it en gu lfs h is pu pils’ lifet im es will deliver u n iver sa l edu ca tion .

Th e cu r r en t sea r ch for n ew edu ca t ion a l fu n n els m u st be r ever sed in t o t h e sea r ch for t h eir in st it u tion a l in ver se: edu ca t ion a l webs wh ich h eigh t en t h e oppor t u n it y for ea ch on e t o t r a n sfor m ea ch m om en t of h is livin g in t o on e of lea r n in g, sh a r in g, a n d ca r in g.’ Desch oolin g Societ y (1971)

At t h a t t im e, I wa s u n der t h e t h r a ll of h is a r gu m en t s. H a vin g ju st left a boy’s gr a mm a r sch ool in Sou t h Wa les, I pa r t icu la r ly wa n t ed sch ools t o be de-sch ooled a n d societ ies t o be de-sch ooled a n d, wit h a br a n d n ew P GCE in m y pocket , I wa s expecta n t t h a t over t h e ea r ly yea r s of m y t ea ch in g ca r eer sch ools a s we kn ew t h em wou ld disa ppea r , t h a t we wou ld a ctu a lly r ea ch in t o t h e n ir va n a a n d en t er a br igh t n ew wor ld. Of cou r se, t h a t is n ot wh a t h a ppen ed. Sch ools r em a in , in som e wa ys sa dly, st u bbor n ly t h e sa m e. Befor e m y ca r eer en ds, I wou ld ver y m u ch lik e t o go in to a sch ool a n d be su r pr ised by wh er e I a m , bu t sch ools seem t o h a ve a r em a r ka ble degr ee of con t in u it y a bou t t h em . Toda y I disa gr ee wit h som e of Illich ’s views. I felt h e wa s a pr ecise com m en t a t or on t h e socia l con dit ion , yet
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I believe h is a r gu m en t s t h a t t h e a t t it u des of t ea ch er s do n ot h a ve a n y im pa ct on st u den t s t o be pr ofou n dly wr on g; I t h in k we n ow r ea lise t h a t t h e a t t itu de of ou r t ea ch er s h a s a r em a r ka ble impa ct u pon th e lives of you n g people a n d t h a t ’s a poin t I wa n t t o a r gu e h er e.

Wh en t h in kin g ba ck t o th a t t en t in Ch a mon ix a lmost for t y yea r s a go I r ea lised t h a t my ca r eer in pu blic edu ca t ion h a s spa n n ed a lm ost fou r deca des a n d I t h ou gh t it m a y be u sefu l t o t ea se ou t some of th e ch a n ges we’ve m a de in pu blic edu ca tion du r in g t h a t t im e. My collea gu e, fr ien d a n d pr edecessor in t h e Depa r t m en t of E du ca t ion , Sir Mich a el Ba r ber , h a s pr odu ced a r a t h er elega n t m a t r ix t o descr ibe t h e h istor y of t h e pa st fou r deca des of sch ool edu ca t ion . H e con t r a st s t wo dim en sion s: kn owledge poor a n d kn owledge r ich , a n d pr ofession a l ju dgem en t a n d n a t ion a l pr escr ipt ion . In t h e t op r igh t -h a n d cor n er we ca n see h e describes t h e 1970s a s a t im e of u n in for med pr ofession a l ju dgemen t , a t im e wh en t h e pr ofession of edu ca t ion wa s fr ee fr om a ll con st r a in t s. Th e t h en pr im e m in ist er , J im Ca lla gh a n , elega n t ly sa id, t h er e wa s a ‘secr et ga r den ’ of t h e cu r r icu lu m , t h a t t h e wh ole of t h e cu r r icu lu m wa s in t h e h a n ds of t ea ch er s. Ba r ber ’s view wa s t h a t t h e 1970s wa s a tim e of a h igh degr ee of pr ofession a lism ,

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bu t n ot a gr ea t degr ee of in t elligen ce or pr ofession a l kn owledge. Th er e wa s good pr a ctice in t h e cou n t r y a s t h ose of u s t ea ch in g th en will a t t est to, bu t th er e wa sn ’t a con cer t ed a t t em pt t o bu ild a kn owledge ba se of edu ca t ion t h a t cou ld h a ve syst emic im pa ct. As a r esu lt , r efor ms wer e in t r odu ced in t h e 1980s, described h er e by Ba r ber a s ‘u n in for m ed pr escript ion ’. Th e gover n m en t a ccru ed t o itself a h igh degr ee of power , bu t did n ot r ea lly kn ow wh a t t o do wit h it : it pu t in t o effect it s own pr iva t e idea s, bu t a ga in system ic im pa ct didn ’t r ea lly occu r . Now, you will see t h a t Mich a el Ba r ber descr ibes t h e 1990s, t h e t im e wh en h e ca m e in t o power , a s a t im e of in for m ed pr escript ion : t h e gover n m en t wor ked ou t wh a t t o do a n d h ow t o im pa ct u pon sch ools a t a syst emic level. I’m su r e Ba r ber wa s t h in k in g of t h e Na t ion a l Lit er a cy St r a t egy a s a pa r a digm ca se, a n exa m ple of in for m ed pr escr ipt ion , wh er e t h e gover n men t kn ew h ow t o t ea ch r ea din g a n d h ow t o pr escr ibe it , a n d we sh ou ldn ’t demu r e fr om t h e im pa ct th a t it h a s h a d on pr im a r y sch ool st a n da r ds. Wh er e I en t er t h is pictu r e or m a t r ix is wh en I wen t in t o gover n m en t in t h e 2000s. Wh a t we t r ied t o do, pa r t icu la r ly in t h e secon d Bla ir ter m , wa s t o en gin eer a m ovem en t fr om t op-down ch a n ge t o ch a n ge t h a t is loca ted m or e in t h e pr ofession a l ju dgem en t of t ea ch er s. Th is br in gs me ba ck t o m y ea r lier qu est ion : ‘Does t h e pr ofession n ow h a ve t h e ca pa cit y t o pu t in pla ce t h ose con dit ion s wh er e ever y you n g per son ca n r ea ch t h eir pot en tia l?’ I believe t h e r ea l ch a llen ge for edu ca t ion a l syst ems a r ou n d t h e wor ld, n ot ju st in t h is cou n t r y, is h ow we m a ke a sh ift fr om in for m ed pr escr ipt ion , wh ich is n ow t h e st a t u s qu o in m ost societ ies, t o a n edu ca tion a l syst em wh er e we fu lly exploit wh a t we m ea n by in for m ed pr ofession a l ju dgem en t .

In or der t o t r y a n d give a cou n t er poin t t o t h is a r gu m en t I’d ju st like t o t ou ch on a m or e fu t u r istic a n a lysis of wh er e edu ca t ion a l syst em s a r e goin g. As I m en t ion a bove, I believe t h is ch a llen ge t o m ove fr om in for m ed pr escript ion t o in for med pr ofession a l ju dgem en t is on e t h a t we’r e on t h e cu sp of m a kin g in t h is cou n tr y, bu t I t h in k it is a ch a llen ge for a ll m a t u r e edu ca t ion a l syst em s a n d it is impor t a n t t h a t we a sk ou r selves, wh a t do we kn ow a bou t t h e con t ou r s of fu t u r e
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edu ca tion ? Th e OE CD (Or ga n isa t ion for E con om ic Co-oper a t ion a n d Developmen t ), ba sed in P a r is, h a s m a de a n u m ber of a n a lyses of th is su bject. Wh ile t h e OE CD is a n econ om ic or ga n isa t ion , t h ey h a ve a n edu ca tion a l a r m a n d a r e in a pa r t icu la r ly st r on g posit ion t o pr oject econ om ic a n a lyses t h a t h a ve been m a de of t h e globa l econ om ic st a t e in t er ms of edu ca t ion a l scen a r ios. Th e OE CD iden t ified a n u m ber of t r en ds: th e im por ta n ce of t h e n a t u r e of ch ildh ood a n d ext en ded a dolescen ce; th e va lu e of th e kn owledge econ om y; t h e ch a llen ge of in equ a lit y a n d exclu sion ; a n d ch a n gin g com m u n it y a n d fa mily lives, wh ich we a r e seein g in m ost societ ies. Lin ked t o th ese elem en t s is t h e qu ite a la r m in g in cr ea se in in equ a lit ies bet ween r ich a n d poor cou n t r ies, a n d t h e dr a ma t ic ch a n ges in t h e pa t t er n s of popu la t ion gr owt h . Ba sed u pon th ese t r en ds th e OE CD iden t ified six scen a r ios for t h e fu tu r e of sch oolin g. Th ey a r e in wh a t m a y be descr ibed a s a ‘pu r e’ st a t e a n d t h ey a r e n ot wh a t th e OE CD sa ys will h a ppen bu t r a t h er wh a t cou ld h a ppen ba sed u pon t h e t r en ds.

I t h in k it ’s im por t a n t t o t a ke t h e con cept of a scen a r io ver y ser iou sly, beca u se if we ca n t h in k of a scen a r io in qu it e pr a ctica l t er m s, if we ca n th in k of a fu t u r e posit ion , a n d t h en if we im a gin e t h a t a n d t h en sor t of ba ck t r a ck fr om t h a t, we begin t o set in t o t r a in a ser ies of sequ en ces or a ction s t h a t we n eed t o commit t o if we a r e t o r ea lise ou r pr efer r ed scen a r io. Th e six scen a r ios a r e in th r ee pa ir s a n d a r e ca lled by t h e OE CD: Ma in t a in in g t h e St a t u s Qu o, Re-sch oolin g a n d De-sch oolin g.

Th e fir st pa ir of th e scen a r io Ma in ta in in g th e St a t u s Qu o is on e t h a t t h e Bu r ea u cr a tic Sch ool System s Con t in u e. In th e UK, we a r e u sed t o h a vin g a bu r ea u cr a t ic sch ool syst em wh er e t h er e a r e st r on g pr essu r es t owa r ds u n ifor m it y; wh er e sch ools a r e kn it t ed t oget h er by complex a dm in ist r a t ive a r r a n gem en t s a n d wh er e m edia comm en t a r ies (t h is does n ot a pply t o E n gla n d, of cou r se!) a r e fr equ en t ly cr it ica l in t on e, bu t r a dica l ch a n ge is r esist ed. Th er e’s a feelin g t h a t

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t h er e’s a st r on g comm itm en t t o m a in t a in in g th e st a t u s qu o, t o m a in t a in in g a st r on g bu r ea u cra t ic syst em . Th e secon d scen a r io of t h is pa ir is descr ibed by t h e OE CD a s t h e Melt down Scen a r io wh er e th e sta t u s qu o is m a in t a in ed bu t n ot t h e

commit m en t of t h e tea ch in g pr ofession . As a con sequ en ce t ea ch er s flee t h e syst em ; it is n ot possible t o r ecr u it en ou gh sch ool lea der s of su fficien t compet en ce a n d t h e pu blic sch ool syst em im plodes in to it self. Alt h ou gh we ca n
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see elem en t s of t h is pr ojection in t h e UK a n d in ot h er syst em s a r ou n d t h e wor ld, it is n ot m y pr efer r ed scen a r io a n d it is on e t h a t I wou ld a r gu e a ga in st ver y st r on gly. Th e pa ir of scen a r ios u n der Re-sch oolin g is m u ch closer t o m y view of t h e wor ld. Th e fir st of t h e pa ir ca lls sch ools ‘Cor e Socia l Cen t r es’ a n d sch ools for m a m u ch gr ea t er a n d im por t a n t elemen t in societa l r en ewa l. Th e m ovem en t in t h is cou n t r y t owa r ds t h e ‘E ver y Ch ild Ma t t er s’ a gen da , t owa r ds ext en ded sch oolin g a n d th e in cr ea sin g secu la r isa t ion of societ y, a r e elem en t s of t h is tr en d.

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Th e pa ir of t h is scen a r io is wh er e t h e sch ool is a Focu sed Lea r n in g Or ga n isa t ion , a n d I h a ve seen exa m ples of su ch sch ools t h a t a r e power fu l in ter m s of pr odu cin g ou t comes for t h e you n g people, n ot on ly in ter m s of a ca dem ic r esu lt s bu t a lso in

t er m s of lea r n in g ca pa bilit y a n d pr odu cin g people wh o a r e well r ou n ded a n d r ea dy t o t a ke t h eir pla ce in t h e kn owledge societ y. Th e De-sch oolin g scen a r ios

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describe Lea r n in g Net wor ks, wh ich a r e mor e in t u n e wit h Illich ’s idea of lea r n in g, or edu ca tion a l h u bs wh er e we begin t o m a xim ise t h e poten t ia l of th e In t er n et a n d we get m u ch m or e in dividu a lised for m s of in st r u ction . Sch ool syst em s become complet ely de-in stit u t ion a lised a n d edu ca t ion a l h u bs begin t o gr ow u p u sin g t h e oppor t u n it ies of ICT. I sh ou ld a lso a dd t h e im por t a n ce of va r iou s cu lt u r a l, r eligiou s a n d comm u n ity voices in t a kin g con tr ol of edu ca t ion in t h is scen a r io. Th e secon d of t h e De-sch oolin g scen a r ios is E xt en ds t h e Ma r ket Model by in cr ea sin gly pr iva tisin g edu ca tion . Th is m a y well in cr ea se efficien cy in som e r espects bu t it h a s t h e pr oblem of in cr ea sin g in equ a lit y a s well.

So, a s we look to t h e fu t u r e, t owa r ds t h e sh ift fr om t h e la st cen t u r y t o t h e cu r r en t cen t u r y in t er m s of sch oolin g a n d edu ca t ion , we a r e fa ced wit h a r a n ge of pot en t ia l possibilities. Of cou r se t h e fu tu r e will n ot ju st compr ise t h e scen a r ios a s t h e OE CD h a s iden t ified t h em ; it will compr ise a combin a t ion of t h em . Given wh a t I’ve a lr ea dy sa id, you ’ll n ot be su r prised t h a t m y own scen a r io is a br ea k wit h t r a dit ion , cer t a in ly a br ea k wit h t h e st a t u s qu o, t o cr ea t e a n ew model ba sed u pon lea r n in g, su ppor t ive pr ofession a lism , on n etwor kin g a n d socia l cen t r es. It ’s t h is vision of t h e fu t u r e t h a t I n ow wa n t t o explor e.

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Wh en I m oved in to gover n m en t in 2002 I wa s ver y con cer n ed with wh a t I r ega r ded a s t h e over ly in st r u men t a l n a t u r e of Ton y Bla ir ’s fir st gover n m en t . Th er e wa s a n eed to r a ise st a n da r ds, bu t I wa s wor r ied it wa s bein g ca r r ied t h r ou gh in qu it e a pr escr ipt ive wa y wit h ou t su fficien t a t t en t ion t o t ea ch er s’ pr ofession a lism a n d st u den t s’ lea r n in g ca pa bilit y a n d a u t on om y. I wa s a lso

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con cer n ed wit h wh a t I ca ll ‘t h e m or a l pu r pose of edu ca t ion ’, ou r a bility t o cr ea t e a sit u a t ion wh er e ever y you n g per son ca n r ea ch th eir pot en tia l a n d t a ke con t r ol over t h eir own lea r n in g h ist or ies. So, ea r ly in m y t im e in gover n m en t I bega n t o pla y a r ou n d wit h a fr a mewor k, wh ich I u sed a s a m ot if t o expla in t h e t r a n sit ion I wa s t r yin g t o m a ke in gover n m en t t owa r ds a m or e per son a lised view of lea r n in g. Th is wa sn ’t t o sa y t h a t sta n da r ds a r e n ot impor t a n t , bu t t h a t t h e impor t a n ce lies in st a n da r ds a n d ot h er t h in gs, wh er e ‘a n d’ is a u t on om y in lea r n in g a n d developin g lea r n in g ca pa bilit y.

I believe th is t h ou gh t is on e t h a t is sh a r ed by a ll t h e ou t st a n din g edu ca t or s I a m pr ivileged t o meet in m y cu r r en t pr ofession a l r ole. In October 2006 I h ost ed a wor k sh op in t h e Na t ion a l Aca dem y of E du ca t ion Admin ist r a t ion (N AE A) in Beijin g, Ch in a , for 100 of t h e lea din g pr in cipa ls a n d h ea d tea ch er s in t h e wor ld. Th ey ca m e fr om 14 differ en t cou n t r ies - som e wit h a h igh GDP , som e with a low GDP - bu t th ey a ll h eld a st r on g con sen su s a bou t t h e m or a l pu r pose of sch oolin g. Th ey con clu ded t h eir G100 comm u n iqu é wit h a commit m en t t o t r y a n d en a ble ever y you n g per son t o do a s well a s t h ey possibly ca n :

‘We n eed t o en su r e th a t m or a l pu r pose is a t t h e for e of a ll edu ca t ion a l deba t es wit h ou r pa r en t s, ou r st u den t s, ou r t ea ch er s, ou r pa r t n er s, ou r policy m a ker s a n d ou r wider commu n it y.

We defin e m or a l pu r pose a s a compellin g dr ive t o do r igh t for a n d by st u den t s, ser vin g t h em t h r ou gh pr ofession a l beh a vior s t h a t ‘r a ise t h e ba r a n d n a r r ow t h e ga p’ a n d th r ou gh so doin g dem on str a t e a n in t en t , t o lea r n wit h a n d fr om ea ch ot h er a s we live t oget h er in t h is wor ld.’

It t oo wa s m a t ch ed by a st r on g degr ee of con sen su s a bou t t h e t ypes of t ea ch in g a ppr oa ch es a n d lea der sh ip pr a ctices t h a t cou ld en su r e t h is h a ppen s. I believe t h a t a n a lm ost globa l cu r r icu lu m a n d a globa l a ppr oa ch t o sch ool r efor m a r e n ow
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developin g. Of cou r se con t ext a n d cu ltu r e a r e im por ta n t , bu t t h e pr a ctices a n d pr in ciples r em a in con sisten t despit e bein g en a cted differ en t ly a ccordin g t o t h e pa r t icu la r cu lt u r e or con t ext in wh ich you fin d t h em . I’m a lso begin n in g t o see a commit m en t t o sch oolin g th a t m oves beyon d t h e sch ool.

I’ve a lr ea dy m en t ion ed in pa ssin g th e ‘E ver y Ch ild Ma t t er s’ a gen da wh er e sch ools in t h is cou n t r y n ow h a ve a br oa der comm it m en t t o t h e r egen er a tion of t h eir societ ies a n d comm u n it ies. Wh en I wa s tr yin g t o fin d a gu idin g t h ou gh t for m y book E ver y Sch ool a Gr ea t Sch ool, I ca m e a cr oss th e wor k of t h e gr ea t Am er ica n sociologist Amit a i E t zion i, wh er e h e set s ou t a t h ir d wa y t o a good society:

‘We a spir e t o a societ y th a t is n ot m er ely civil bu t is good. A good societ y is on e in wh ich people t r ea t on e a n ot h er a s en ds in t h em selves. An d n ot m er ely a s in st r u m en t s; a s wh ole per son s r a t h er t h a n a s fr a gmen t s; a s m em ber s of a comm u n it y, bon ded by t ies of a ffection a n d comm it m en t , r a th er t h a n on ly a s em ployees, t r a der s, con su m er s or even a s fellow cit izen s.

Th e vision of a good societ y is a t a blea u on wh ich we pr oject ou r a spir a t ion s, n ot a fu ll ch ecklist of a ll t h a t deser ves ou r dedica t ion . An d t h e vision is oft en r efor m u la t ed a s th e wor ld a r ou n d u s ch a n ges, a n d a s we ch a n ge.

Th e Th ir d Wa y is a r oa d t h a t lea ds u s t owa r d t h e good societ y. H owever , it sh ou ld be a ckn owledged a t t h e ou t set th a t t h e Th ir d Wa y is in deed fu zzy a t t h e edges, n ot fu lly et ch ed.’ Th e Th ir d Wa y t o a Good Societ y (2000)

A good societ y is on e in wh ich people t r ea t on e a n oth er a s en ds in t h em selves,

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a s wh ole per son s, a s m em ber s of a commu n it y bon ded by t ies of a ffection a n d commit m en t , a n d I believe t h a t wh en we get pu blic sch oolin g r igh t it im pa cts n ot ju st on t h e m em ber sh ip of t h a t sm a ll sch ool comm u n it y bu t spr ea ds ou t a cr oss t h e comm u n it ies a n d t h e fa m ilies a n d t h e societ y t h a t t h ose you n g people come fr om . So t h e poten t ia l for pu blic sch oolin g, it seem s to me, is ver y power fu l, n ot ju st in ter m s of th e in dividu a l lives of you n g people bu t for t h e comm u n it ies a n d society t h a t t h ey a ctu a lly ser ve.

So th is t a kes m e, t h en , t o som e of t h e a r gu m en t s in my book E ver y Sch ool a Gr ea t Sch ool a n d to t h e h ea r t of som e of t h e policy deba t es I h a d wh en I wa s in gover n m en t . It seem s t o m e th a t t h e goa l of policy is a ctu a lly ver y sim ple, t h a t ever y sch ool sh ou ld be a gr ea t sch ool or a t lea st a good sch ool. I believe t h a t wh a t pa r en t s wa n t is for t h e loca l sch ool t o be good so t h a t t h ey ca n feel con fiden t t o sen d t h eir you n g per son t o it. Bu t t h is r equ ir es, I th in k, a ver y differ en t view on policy. It r equ ir es a st r on g discu ssion of m or a l pu r pose a n d socia l ju st ice. It r equ ir es a n edu ca t ion a l syst em th a t en a bles ever y you n g per son t o r ea ch t h eir pot en t ia l a n d en h a n ce t h eir lea r n in g skills. It r equ ir es a focu s on t ea ch in g qu a lity r a th er t h a n on st r u ctu r a l ch a n ge a n d it r equ ir es t r yin g to impr ove t h e wh ole syst em r a th er t h a n focu ssin g on in dividu a l sch ool impr ovem en t s by, sa y, cr ea t in g a n a ca dem y h er e or a n a ca dem y t h er e. Un less we do th a t we will in evita bly cr ea t e in equ a lit ies in ou r pr ovision .

So th ose wer e t h e t h ou gh t s t h a t I t ook in t o gover n m en t wit h m e in 2002, a n d ver y qu ickly I h a d som e a r gu m en t s beca u se a t t h e en d of t h e fir st La bou r t er m wit h t h e lit er a cy r esu lt s goin g u p towa r ds th e sky t h er e wa s a gr ea t feelin g of ch u t zpa h in gover n men t a bou t a t lea st t h e su ccess of pu blic sector r efor m in edu ca tion . H owever , t h e r esu lts wer e begin n in g t o pla t ea u a n d I h a d, in a sen se, t o dea l wit h th e fa llou t of t h is won der fu l su ccess of New La bou r begin n in g t o become a lit t le bit of a n em ba r r a ssm en t . Now t h e deba tes t h a t wer e goin g on wer e ‘We n eed m or e t op-down ch a n ge’, ‘We n eed t o dr ive t h e lit er a cy st r a t egies
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h a r der a n d h a r der a n d h a r der a n d m a ke t h ose t ea ch er s do a s t h ey’r e t old’, wh er ea s I felt th a t per h a ps we h a d r ea ch ed t h e ma r gin of wh a t t op-down ch a n ge ca n a ctu a lly pr odu ce a n d t h a t we n eeded t o ch a n ge t o a differ en t st r a t egy. If we r efer t o th is dia gr a m , t h e fr om it is t h a t n eit h er t op-down n or bot t om -u p ch a n ge ca n a ctu a lly fir st poin t t o be ta ken r efor m a pu blic sch ool system by t h em selves. Th ey bot h h a ve to wor k in som e degr ee of ba la n ce a n d in some degr ee of colla bor a tion . It m a y well be t h a t in 1997 t h e syst em wa s su ch t h a t we n eeded a lot mor e t op-down ch a n ge, a lot m or e pr escr iption , t h a n bot tom -u p ch a n ge a n d in m a n y wa ys t h is is n ot a ba d por t r a ya l of wh er e New La bou r policies a ctu a lly wer e. In t h e 2000s, h owever , m y a r gu m en t wa s t h a t a s we bega n t o bu ild compet en ce in side ou r syst em , we n eeded t o m ove in cr ea sin gly fr om t h e left side of t h e dia gr a m t owa r ds t h e r igh t . We r ea lly n eeded t o r e-ba la n ce, t o give t h e pr ofession fa r m or e a u t on om y, so t h a t a s compet en ce in cr ea ses a u t on om y in cr ea ses a s well. Th e pr oblem , h owever , is t h a t if you a r e u sed t o bein g in a pr escr ipt ive sit u a t ion it m ea n s you m ove t owa r ds pr ofession a lism with som e degr ee of difficu lt y, beca u se if you h a ve been t r a in ed t o be th e per son wh o r egu r git a t es som ebody else’s lesson pla n s t h en it becomes ver y difficu lt for you t o cr ea t e power fu l, per son a lised lea r n in g sit u a t ion s for you n g people. If you a r e a
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sch ool m a n a ger , a n d I u se t h e ter m a dvisedly, wh o h a s been t a u gh t h ow t o cou n t t h e din n er m on ey ext r em ely well, t h en lea din g a la r ge, complex or ga n isa t ion wit h a vision of t h e fu t u r e is a fa r m or e difficu lt a n d complex t a sk. So a s we m ove fr om t h e left side t o t h e r igh t we n eed t o bu ild ca pa cit y in side t h e syst em . My a r gu m en t h a s been t h a t it is t h e qu a lit y of lea der sh ip in ou r sch ools wh ich en a bles u s t o do t h is. Th er efor e, if we a r e ser iou s a bou t pu blic edu ca tion a n d if we a r e ser iou s a bou t sch ools bein g r eleva n t , I believe t h e qu estion becomes wh a t a r e t h e k ey dr iver s t h a t we n eed t o focu s on t h a t will a ctu a lly en a ble u s t o con t in u e t o r a ise st a n da r ds a n d do t h ese ot h er t h in gs a s well?

In con sider in g edu ca t ion a r ou n d t h e wor ld, t h er e seem t o m e t o be fou r key dr iver s t h a t h a ve a n im pa ct on t h e qu a lity of edu ca t ion t h a t con t r ibu t es t o t h e for m of pu blic edu ca t ion t h a t I t h in k m ost of u s wou ld wa n t t o see:

1. Per son a lisin g Lea r n in g 2. Pr ofession a lisin g Tea ch in g 3. Bu ildin g In t elligen t Accou n t a bilit y 4. Net wor kin g a n d Colla bor a t ion

E a r lier I u sed a r a t h er loose ph r a se ‘per son a lised lea r n in g’. On e of t h e gr ea t est bu g-bea r s of edu ca t ion is th a t t h er e is a gr ea t dea l of con cept u a l plu r a lism a ssocia t ed wit h a lot of t h e ph r a ses t h a t we u se in edu ca t ion so I will n ow defin e it. I u sed t h e ph r a se wit h Da vid Miliba n d wh en h e wa s on e of m y m in ist er s t o den ote a sh ift fr om t h e focu s on pu r ely gettin g a ca dem ic r esu lt s t o a view of h elpin g st u den t s lea r n h ow t o lea r n a n d t o a cqu ir e t h e per son a l cogn it ive a n d em ploya bilit y skills t o en a ble t h em t o become effective cit izen s in t h e 21st cen t u r y. Wh en Ch a r les Cla r ke wa s Secr et a r y of St a t e for E du ca t ion , I a sked h im : ‘Wh a t does it m ea n t o be edu ca t ed in E n gla n d in 2004? Wh a t a t t r ibu t es do you wa n t 14-yea r -olds t o h a ve lea vin g Key St a ge 3?’ H e wa s clea r t h a t exa m r esu lt s a lon e wer en ’t im por t a n t ; h e wa n ted you n g people t o h a ve a t t r ibu tes t h a t
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in clu ded lea r n in g skills, em ploya bilit y skills a n d a r a n ge of exper ien ce, a n d for t h em t o h a ve t h e oppor t u n ity t o m a ke somet h in g t h ey a r e pr ou d of. I believe we n eeded t o con sider : a r e we en a blin g ou r you n g people t o lea r n fr om t h eir

su ccesses a n d t h eir fa ilu r es, a n d do t ea ch er s h a ve t h e skills t o en a ble you n gst er s t o cr ea t e t h eir own lea r n in g pa t h wa ys ba sed u pon in for m a t ion of t h eir pr eviou s su ccess? Also, a r e we t a kin g you n g people ser iou sly in ou r crea t ion of t h e or ga n isa t ion we kn ow a s ‘sch ool’? Th ese a r e som e of t h e elem en t s of per son a lised lea r n in g th a t I t h in k a r e vita l if we a r e t o h a ve a pu blic edu ca t ion ser vice t h a t ’s fit for pu r pose in t h e 21st cen t u r y.

H owever , t h is objective r equ ir es t ea ch er s t o h a ve a br oa der a n d r ich er a r r a y of pr ofession a l compet en cies t h a n t h e pr eviou s syst em a n d r a ises t h ese qu est ion s: do t ea ch er s t oda y h a ve a r eper t oir e of t ea ch in g a n d lea r n in g st r a tegies t h a t en a ble t h em t o per son a lise lea r n in g for you n g people? Do t h ey u se eviden ce t o disciplin e t h eir pr a ctice? Do t h ey wor k collegia lly wit h oth er collea gu es? Do we h a ve a n a ccou n t a bilit y syst em t h a t is in telligen t ?

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Alt h ou gh we h a ve m oved ou r edu ca t ion a l system a lot by h a vin g exter n a l for m s of a ccou n t a bility, it ’s wh en sch ools a ctu a lly u se da t a a s a n en gin e t o dr ive per for m a n ce th a t a ccou n t a bilit y r ea lly begin s t o im pa ct u pon t h e lea r n in g of you n g people. H a ve we got th e ba la n ce r igh t bet ween ext er n a l a ccou n t a bilit y a n d in ter n a l a ssessm en t ? (If we don ’t get it r igh t t h en we’r e n ever goin g t o h a ve a sch ool syst em th a t ’s a ctu a lly fit for pu r pose.) An d fin a lly, a r e ou r sch ools

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n et wor k in g a n d colla bor a tin g effectively wit h ea ch ot h er ? It ’s been qu it e fa sh ion a ble t o h a ve for ms of colla bor a t ion in t h e r ecen t pa st , bu t my wor r y is t h a t it h a s been n et wor kin g a s a n en d in it self r a t h er t h a n a s a m ea n s t o a n en d. Th e r ea l pu r pose of n et wor kin g a n d colla bor a tion is t o en su r e th a t wh en

in n ova t ive idea s h a ve been developed, t h en t est ed a n d pr oved, t h a t t h ey a r e m oved a r ou n d t h e syst em in a r a pid wa y.

I believe th ese fou r dr iver s h old u p pr et t y well t o r obu st exa m in a t ion s of sch ool syst em s a r ou n d t h e wor ld a n d of wh a t in dividu a l sch ools a r e doin g. H owever , wh ile I’ve ou t lin ed t h e pr in ciples u n der pin n in g ea ch of t h e fou r dr iver s, a n d t h ese a r e impor t a n t , t h ey will of cou r se look differ en t depen din g on wh et h er you ’r e t ea ch in g in a tou gh in n er cit y sch ool or in on e in a m or e pr ivileged u r ba n or r u r a l sit u a t ion . In a ddit ion , we m u st con sider sch ool lea der sh ip sin ce it is t h e sch ool lea der t h a t m ou lds t h ese dr iver s to t h e con t ext .

I su ppose t h a t if t h er e is on e silver bu llet for edu ca t ion , t h en I believe t h a t it is t h e qu a lit y of lea der sh ip in side ou r sch ools. I h a ve n ot seen a n y r a pidly
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impr ovin g sch ool or a n y ou t sta n din g sch ool t h a t does n ot h a ve a n ou t st a n din g sch ool lea der . Th is is on ly a cor r ela t ion ; I a m n ot im plyin g ca u sa lit y n ecessa r ily,

yet I fin d it st r a n ge t h a t you ’r e n ot goin g t o get a n im pr oved sch ool or a n ou t st a n din g sch ool wit h ou t h igh -qu a lity lea der sh ip, wh ich over t h e la st t h r ee yea r s h a s led m e t o begin t o t h in k a lot mor e a bou t t h e im por t a n ce of lea der sh ip in t h e r egen er a t ion of sch oolin g.

As a ll a ca dem ics do, I h a ve coin ed m y own ph r a se for t h e qu a lit y of lea der sh ip t h a t seem s t o m e t o be t h e fu t u r e of pu blic edu ca tion : ‘syst em’ lea der sh ip:

‘Syst em lea der s’ ca r e a bou t a n d wor k for th e su ccess of ot h er sch ools a s well a s t h eir own . Th ey m ea su r e th eir su ccess in t er m s of im pr ovin g st u den t lea r n in g a n d in cr ea sin g a ch ievem en t , a n d str ive t o bot h r a ise t h e ba r a n d n a r r ow t h e ga p(s). Cr u cia lly t h ey a r e willin g t o sh ou lder syst em lea der sh ip r oles in t h e belief th a t in or der t o ch a n ge t h e la r ger syst em you h a ve t o en ga ge with it in a m ea n in gfu l wa y.’

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I’m u sin g t h e wor d ‘syst em ’ in t wo differ en t wa ys h er e. F ir st ly, it describes t h e in t er n a l syst em of a sch ool: do sch ool lea der s ta ke a bsolu t e r espon sibility for wh a t goes on in side t h eir sch ool, a n d do th ey ju dge t h em selves on ly by t h e im pa ct t h a t th ey h a ve u pon you n g people? If t h a t is n ot th e ca se, t h en I su ggest t h e sch ool lea der s a r e n ot ta kin g a ppr opr ia t e r espon sibilit y for t h eir own wor k. Alt h ou gh h om e ba ckgr ou n d is im por t a n t, we n ow kn ow t h a t a sch ool con t r ibu t es a t lea st 30% of t h e a ch ievem en t of a you n g per son a n d t h a t m a kes a sign ifica n t differ en ce. Bu t t h ese sch ool lea der s a r e n ot on ly con cer n ed a bou t t h eir own sch ool, t h ey a lso r ea ch ou t beyon d th eir own sch ool in t o t h e syst em a s a wh ole. I h a ve been st r u ck over th e pa st five yea r s t o see t h e sh ift in ou r sch ool syst em fr om on e of a vid compet it iven ess in t h e mid-1990s t o on e t h a t is m u ch mor e pr edica t ed on colla bor a t ion . Th is is n ot to sa y t h a t a ll h ea d t ea ch er s a r e open in g t h eir door s, bu t I see t h is a s bein g t h e t r en d a mon g t h e lea din g h ea d t ea ch er s in ou r cou n t r y. Th ey a r e n ot con cer n ed on ly a bou t t h eir own pa t ch ; t h ey a r e con cer n ed a bou t sh a r in g t h eir own pa t ch wit h ot h er s a n d I’ll ou t lin e ver y br iefly t h e t ypes of r oles ou r best lea der s a r e t a kin g on .

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So th ese a r e t h e t h r ee ch a r a cter ist ics of th e in t er n a l sch ool syst em a n d I’d ju st lik e t o a dd a few m or e wor ds a bou t t h e in ter n a l sch ool syst em . We a r e ju st complet in g a m a jor r esea r ch st u dy on t h e impa ct of sch ool lea der sh ip on st u den t a ch ievem en t , a n d a s pa r t of t h is wor k, we con du cted a m a jor su r vey of t h e r esea r ch a r ou n d t h e wor ld. Th e r esu lt s ca n be r edu ced in t o seven st r on g cla im s a bou t sch ool lea der sh ip.

Th e fir st poin t is th a t sch ool lea der sh ip is secon d on ly t o cla ssr oom in st r u ction a s a pr edictor of st u den t a ch ievem en t . Th is of cou r se is n ot a dir ect effect; it ’s a n in dir ect effect, in t er m s of h ow th e sch ool lea der cr ea t es th ose con dit ion s in side t h e sch ool th a t will im pa ct posit ively u pon you n g people. Th er e a r e a lso a fa ir ly con sist en t set of pr a ctices t h a t sch ool lea der s ca n en ga ge in if t h ey do wa n t t o m a k e a differ en ce t o t h e lea r n in g of t h eir you n g people a n d I’ll det a il th ese sh or t ly. Secon dly, t h er e a r e a lso a sm a ll h a n dfu l of per son a l t r a it s t h a t expla in a h igh pr opor t ion of t h e va r ia t ion of lea der sh ip effectiven ess: ch a r a cter ist ics su ch a s bein g open -m in ded, flexible, per sisten t a n d opt im ist ic, wh ich fly in t h e fa ce of t h e h er oic, ch a r ism a t ic h ea d t ea ch er im a ge t h a t we see in t h e m edia so oft en . H owever , t h e ba sic pr a ctices th a t dir ectly lin k lea der sh ip t o lea r n in g a r e t h ese: do t h e sch ool lea der s set a dir ection ? Do t h ey h a ve a vision , a m or a l pu r pose t h a t t h eir sch ool is a ll a bou t? Do t h ey m a n a ge t h e t ea ch in g a n d lea r n in g pr ocess? Do t h ey develop t h eir st a ff? Do t h ey develop th e comm u n it y in side t h e sch ool? An d do t h ey r edesign t h e or ga n isa t ion ?

Th is br in gs m e on t o th e su bject of m a n a gin g t ea ch in g a n d lea r n in g, beca u se wh a t we wa n t a r e sch ool en vir on m en t s t h a t pr om ot e t h is t ype of en ga gem en t a n d sch ools t h a t a r e ver y clea r a bou t wh a t lea r n in g m ea n s.

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Wh en I’m m a kin g pr esen t a t ion s on t h is su bject t o sch ool lea der s, I a sk t h em ‘Do you h a ve a m a n ifesto for lea r n in g in side you r sch ool? Do you h a ve a view of lea r n in g, sh a r ed a m on g you r sta ff, you r pa r en ts a n d you r stu den t s, t h a t a s a

sch ool comm u n it y a you n gst er h a s t h ese lea r n in g en t it lemen ts: t h a t we a s t ea ch er s h elp t h em in t egr a t e pr ior a n d n ew kn owledge, th a t a s t ea ch er s we h elp ou r st u den t s a cqu ir e a n d u se a r a n ge of lea r n in g skills, t h a t a s a sch ool we h elp
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ou r st u den t s solve pr oblem s in dividu a lly a n d in gr ou ps t o h elp t h em t h in k ca r efu lly a bou t t h eir su ccesses a n d fa ilu r es a n d a ccept a t t imes t h a t lea r n in g in volves u n cer t a in t y a n d difficu lt y? An d do you r you n gst er s a ctu a lly a cqu ir e t h ose u n der st a n din gs a s well?

Th is r a ises a n ot h er qu estion : even if you r sch ool h a s su ch a m a n ifesto, h ow do you go a bou t doin g it ? Th is is wh er e lea der sh ip is so im por ta n t beca u se it set s a m oda lit y in t er ms of wh a t t ea ch in g a n d lea r n in g a ctu a lly looks like in side t h e sch ool. I wr ot e a book wit h Br u ce J oyce, P r ofessor a t t h e Un iver sit y of Ch ica go a n d Tea ch er s College, Colu m bia Un iver sit y, a n d E m ily Ca lh ou n , a specia list in la n gu a ge a r t s a n d sch ool-wide a ction r esea r ch , a n d in t h a t we sa id:

‘Lea r n in g exper ien ces a r e composed of con t en t , pr ocess a n d socia l clim a t e. As tea ch er s we cr ea te for a n d wit h ou r ch ildr en oppor t u n ities t o explor e a n d bu ild im por t a n t a r ea s of kn owledge, develop power fu l t ools for lea r n in g, a n d live in h u m a n izin g socia l con dit ion s.’ Models of Lea r n in g, Tools for Tea ch in g (3r d edn , 2008)

Th is is wh a t sch ools do; sch ools t ea ch in t h r ee wa ys: by wh a t t h ey t ea ch , by h ow t h ey t ea ch a n d by t h e kin d of pla ce t h ey a r e. It ’s t h e t ea ch er ’s a bilit y t o bu ild impor t a n t a r ea s of cu r r icu lu m kn owledge, develop power fu l t ools for lea r n in g wit h t h eir you n g people a n d to h elp t h em live in h u m a n isin g socia l con dit ion s t h a t defin es, for m e, wh a t a h igh -qu a lit y pu blic sch ool syst em is a bou t . Now, h ow do we get ou r t ea ch er s t o do t h is? We get ou r t ea ch er s to a cqu ir e a br oa d a r r a y of t ea ch in g st r a t egies th a t a ctu a lly en a ble th em t o lin k t oget h er th e n a t u r e of t h e cu r r icu lu m con t en t , t h e lea r n in g st r a t egies a n d t h e a r r a n gem en t s for socia l in t er a ction t h a t crea te t h e lea r n in g con t ext for t h eir st u den t s. Th e ch a llen ge for

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t h e pr ofession , a n d t h is is wh y Illich wa s pr ofou n dly wr on g a bou t t h is, t h e ch a llen ge t o t h e pr ofession is do t h ey h a ve a su fficien t r eper t oir e of t ea ch in g st r a t egies in t h eir so-ca lled ‘t ool boxes’ t h a t en a bles t h em t o h elp t h eir st u den t s ext r a ct in for m a t ion a n d idea s, t o m em or ise in for m a t ion , t o bu ild h ypot h eses, t o a t t a in con cept s, to u se m et a ph or s to h elp t h em t h in k cr ea tively a n d t o wor k effectively in sm a ll gr ou ps? Of cou r se ou r tea ch er s n eed t o h a ve str on g cu r r icu lu m kn owledge a bou t wh a t m a t h em a t ics, ph ysics a n d biology, t o n a m e a few, a r e a n d t h a t h a s a lwa ys been t h e st r en gt h of ou r sch ool syst em . Bu t , do t h ey h a ve t h e peda gogica l skills to a ddr ess t h e r a n ge of lea r n in g ou tcomes I’ve m en t ion ed? E a ch is legitima t e in it s own r igh t yet ea ch r equ ir es a differ en t t ea ch in g st r a t egy in or der t o a tta in it . Th e im por t a n t poin t a bou t th is, of cou r se, is t h ey a r e n ot ju st t ea ch in g skills, t h ey a r e a lso lea r n in g skills. If I a m tea ch in g a you n gst er in a n in du ctive m a n n er , I a m a lso t ea ch in g t h em h ow t o t h in k in du ctively, t o bu ild t h eir own h ypoth eses a n d t h eor ies. I a m t ea ch in g you n g people to become power fu l lea r n er s a t t h e sa m e t ime a s tea ch in g th em power fu l k n owledge. Tea ch er s wit h t h is r a n ge of tea ch in g st r a t egies a r e fa r m or e power fu l in t er m s of t h eir edu ca t ive a bilit y wit h you n g people, a s sh own by som e popu la r r esea r ch on t h e edu ca t ion of 8-11 yea r olds. If you t a ke a n 8-yea r -old wh o h a s a
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t ea ch er wh o is h igh per for m in g, a t t h e en d of th r ee yea r s of edu ca t ion h e’ll be per for m in g a t t h e 90t h per cen t ile level. Sa dly, if a you n g per son st a r tin g a t t h e sa m e level goes wit h a low-per for m in g tea ch er , a t ea ch er with ou t t h e r a n ge of a t t r ibu tes t h a t I h a ve ou tlin ed, by th e a ge of 11 t h ey will be a t t h e 37th per cen t ile level. Th is is wh er e I believe Illich wa s pr ofou n dly wr on g beca u se it is t h e qu a lit y of in st r u ction t h a t im pa cts in su ch a dr a m a t ic wa y on t h e lea r n in g of ou r you n g people.

So, if ou r sch ool lea der s a r e ser iou s a bou t im pr ovin g t h eir sch ools a n d ma kin g t h em or ga n isa t ion s t h a t a r e fit for pu r pose, let u s con sider t h e im pa ct t h ey ca n h a ve on t h e syst em a s a wh ole. I’ve a lr ea dy discu ssed t h e mor a l pu r pose of sch ool lea der s a n d t h eir r ole in per son a l developm en t; t h e effective on es a lso h a ve a h igh degr ee of st r a t egic a cu men sin ce t h is is essen t ia l to pu t t h eir idea s in t o pr a ctice. Th ey wor k in t h e t h r ee dom a in s I m en t ion a bove - m a n a gin g, tea ch in g a n d lea r n in g, developin g t h e or ga n isa t ion a n d developin g people - a n d in cr ea sin gly t h ey a r e t a kin g a r ole in societ a l r efor m . Ou r r esea r ch of 3,000 h ea d t ea ch er s in 2007 sh owed t h a t ou r lea din g h ea d t ea ch er s a r e a lso t a kin g on a va r iet y of r oles t h a t I descr ibed a bove. Th er e a r e h ea d tea ch er s wh o a r e lea din g
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su ccessfu l pa r tn er sh ips a n d decidin g t o ta ke on ch a llen gin g sch ools. Th ey a r e pa r t n er in g wit h a sch ool t h a t is u n der -per for m in g, a n d th e effect of t h is is n ot sim ply on e wa y. If a n ou t st a n din g sch ool pa r t n er s wit h a sch ool wit h ch a llen gin g sit u a t ion s th en with in eigh t een m on t h s to t wo yea r s bot h sch ools will be t r a n sfor m ed: t h e sch ool wit h difficu lt y will h a ve ch a n ged qu ite dr a m a t ica lly a n d t h e m or e effective sch ool will be doin g bet t er t oo. H igh -per for min g sch ool lea der s

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a r e becomin g cu r r icu lu m a n d peda gogic in n ova t or s, or t h ey’r e wor kin g a s ch a n ge a gen ts: t h is is a lm ost a ccepted n ow a s pa r t of t h e sch ool lea der ’s r ole.

I will con clu de by t a kin g t h is t r en d a n d br iefly pr ojectin g it on t o t h e sch ool syst em by r et u r n in g to m y ea r lier a n a lysis of t h e syst em , fr om t h e t op-down a ppr oa ch of New La bou r t o t h e syst em wh er e sch ools a r e lea din g r efor m . Th e fir st poin t is t h a t a ll sch ools ir r espective of t h eir posit ion r equ ir e some str a t egy in or der t o im pr ove; even a lea din g sch ool ca n become bet t er sin ce you don ’t h a ve t o be ill t o become bet ter . In t h e t a ble of impr ovem en t str a t egies I h a ve sta r t ed t o t ea se ou t st r a t egies for lea din g sch ools a n d sch ools wit h ot h er va r ia t ion s in t er m s of t h eir per for m a n ce cycle. Now wh a t ’s fa scin a t in g a bou t t h is is t h a t t h ese st r a t egies a r e n ot don e by a n or ga n isa t ion th a t is ext er n a l t o t h e sch ool; t h ese a r e t h in gs sch ools ca n do for a n d wit h ea ch oth er to en ga ge in a vir t u ou s cir cle of impr ovem en t . I br iefly m en t ion ed a bove t h e a ppr oa ch to pa r t n er sh ip, or t o feder a tion , wh er e a h igh per for m in g sch ool lin ks wit h a low per for m in g sch ool a n d ver y r a pidly t h a t sch ool im pr oves bu t a lso t h e h igh per for m in g sch ools sh oot s u p th e sca le. So wh a t we h a ve h er e is t h e pot en t ia l for sch ools t o colla bor a t e wit h on e a n ot h er in a n im pr ovem en t pr ocess.
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In t h e old da ys we wou ld sen d in t h e in spector s, we wou ld sen d in t h e a dvisor s; we wou ld spen d va st a mou n t s of m on ey to in depen den t or ga n isa t ion s t o go in a n d do a job for sch ools. Now t h e r ole of loca l a u t h or it ies is n ot t o go in t o sch ools a n d impr ove t h em bu t t o comm ission sch ools t o su ppor t ot h er sch ools. Th is, I believe, is h ow we m a ke t h e tr a n sit ion fr om t h e left side t o t h e r igh t of m y dia gr a m of syst em r efor m . An d it lea ves u s wit h a ch a llen ge: ca n we a ctu a lly pu t in t o pla ce policies th a t will en a ble sch ools t o h elp ea ch ot h er ? Wh en we do t h a t I t h in k we owill be a ble to m ove m or e r a pidly t owa r ds a self-for m in g syst em , wh er e ever y sch ool ca n become a gr ea t sch ool.

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QU ESTION S

P aul B rett I a ccep t you r a r gu m en t t h a t w e n eed s ch ools , bu t is it a coin cid en ce t h a t fa ilin g s ch ools a ls o a p p ea r t o be la r gely in t h e m os t econ om ica lly d ep r ived a r ea s , a n d a r e t h ey p er p et u a t in g t h a t s ocia l d eclin e?

D avid H opkins : Well, yes , I t h in k you ’r e a bs olu t ely r igh t t h a t a p r ep on d er a n ce of low-p er for m in g s ch ools t en d t o be in a r ea s of fa ir ly low s ocio-econ om ic s t a t u s a t t a in m en t , a n d I t h in k t h er e a r e t w o r ea s on s for t h is . T h e fir s t is t h e s ch ool effect . We ca n d eba t e w h a t it is in qu a n t it a t ive t er m s , bu t let ’s s a y t h a t it ’s r ou gh ly a bou t 30%. T h a t lea ves 70% of a t t a in m en t t o be d et er m in ed by in n a t e fa ct or s or s ocio-econ om ic ba ck gr ou n d . F or a s ociet y t h a t believes in s ocia l ju s t ice, I believe t h e im p lica t ion is t h a t w e n eed t o in ves t fa r m or e h ea vily in t h e ed u ca t ion of t h e you n g p eop le w h o com e fr om t h os e ba ck gr ou n d s . I t h in k t h is is wh a t gover n m en t p olicy s h ou ld be d oin g a n d I h a ve a s ligh t d is a p p oin t m en t t h a t p r im e m in is t er G or d on B r ow n is n ot in ves t in g m or e op en ly in ch a n gin g t h os e con t ext u a l is s u es t h a n p er h a p s h e h a s in t h e p a s t .

Audience Mem ber: I a m a t ea ch er in s ou t h L on d on . H ow d o you gu a r d a ga in s t t h e bu r ea u cr a t is a t ion of you r ow n a n t i-bu r ea u cr a t ic in it ia t ives ? T a k e a s s es s m en t for lea r n in g. It s ou n d s gr ea t , bu t a s a t ea ch er wh a t a n n oys m e is t h a t I a m s u bject ed t o com m en t s lik e, ‘As s es s m en t for lea r n in g is t h e n ew h oly gr a il.’ It is n ot p r es en t ed t o m e a s a for -or -a ga in s t in it ia t ive, w h ich I m a y h a ve m y ow n op in ion on . S o I ca n a p p r ecia t e t h e in s igh t s t h a t you gen er a t e in t h e p u r e for m , bu t w h en t h ey com e in t o s ch ool t h ey m a y be lik e a n ot h er loa d of in it ia t ives . D o you h a ve a n a n s w er ? Or is it ju s t s om et h in g you h a ve t o gu a r d a ga in s t ?

D avid H opkins : B u r ea u cr a t is a t ion is a fr u s t r a t ion t h a t I s h a r e w it h you . T h e p r oblem ca n be exp la in ed a lit t le in t h e d ia gr a m I s h ow ed ea r lier . If you s t a r t w it h t h e left -h a n d s egm en t w it h a h igh d egr ee of t op -d ow n p r es cr ip t ion , t h a t im p lies a h igh d egr ee of bu r ea u cr a t is a t ion . T h e d ia gr a m is s u p p os ed t o im p ly t h a t in m ovin g t o s ch ool-led r efor m t h a t level of bu r ea u cr a t is a t ion becom es fa r , fa r les s , w it h gover n m en t fa r les s in t r u s ive a n d fa r lea n er . I t h in k you ca n s ee t h is in s om e w a ys in h ow m od er n loca l a u t h or it ies h a ve ch a n ged . B u t , w h a t d oes n ot s eem t o be

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h a p p en in g, d es p it e w h a t w e’ve h ea r d , is t h a t cen t r a l gover n m en t is r ed u cin g it s elf in s ize a s m u ch a s it s h ou ld . P eop le h a ve t o h a ve jobs t o d o a n d , for m e, t h eir jobs s eem t o be cr ea t in g p r oces s es for ot h er p eop le. O n e of t h e s a d t h in gs , I t h in k , is t h a t good id ea s w e h a d in gover n m en t w er e n eu t er ed beca u s e of t h e w a y in w h ich t h ey h a ve been t r a p p ed in s om e s or t of bu r ea u cr a t ic for m . S o, a lt h ou gh I w ou ld n ’t a gr ee w it h Illich t h a t w e s h ou ld d e-s ch ool s ociet y, w e cer t a in ly s h ou ld d e-bu r ea u cr a t is e s ociet y. If w e a r e gen u in ely m ovin g t ow a r d s t h e r igh t -h a n d s id e of m y d ia gr a m I wou ld h op e bu r ea u cr a t is a t ion w er e n ot t h e ca s e a n d w e cou ld r ely on t h e p r ofes s ion a l ju d gem en t s of t ea ch er s fa r m or e.

Audience Mem ber: In t er m s of t h e p r ofes s ion a lis a t ion of t ea ch in g a n d of t ea ch er s , is it r ea lly fea s ible t o h a ve a P G C E s ys t em t h a t gives t ea ch er s on e yea r t o becom e s er iou s t ea ch in g p r ofes s ion a ls ?

D avid H opkins : I t h in k t h e m ove t ow a r d s a t w o-yea r t ea ch in g p r ogr a m w it h a m a s t er ’s d egr ee a t t h e en d is t o be welcom ed . I’m a ls o begin n in g t o w on d er w h et h er t h e t r a d it ion a l u n iver s it y-ba s ed P G C E is t h e wa y t o t r a in t ea ch er s t o h a ve t h e r a n ge of p r ofes s ion a l s k ills I h a ve r efer r ed t o h er e. O n e of t h e t h in gs t h a t C h r is Wood h ea d a n d I colla bor a t ed on w a s t o in t r od u ce a S C IT T s ch em e (a S ch ool C en t r ed In it ia l T ea ch er T r a in in g s ch em e) in s id e a u n iver s it y w h en I w a s t h e fir s t D ea n of E d u ca t ion . (M y collea gu es d id n ’t s p ea k t o m e for m a n y a yea r for d oin g t h a t !) I d o t h in k t h a t lon ger p r ogr a m m es , a t w o-yea r p r ogr a m m e w it h m or e S C IT T s or t h e p r ofes s ion a l gr a d u a t e t r a in in g s ch em e, t h a t t h es e s or t s of s ch em es a r e fa r bet t er t u n ed t o p r od u cin g t h e t yp e of p r ofes s ion a l s k ills t h a t I ou t lin e, w h ile in a s en s e a on e-yea r P G C E is s u it a ble for t h e left -h a n d s id e of m y d ia gr a m r a t h er t h a n t h e r igh t -h a n d s id e.

Audience Mem ber: I a m a t ea ch er in s ch ools a n d I felt t h a t a lot of w h a t you s a id w e d o a lr ea d y; lea r n in g t o lea r n , p er s on a lis ed lea r n in g a n d a s s es s m en t for lea r n in g a r e a ll t h in gs t h a t w e a r e t r a in ed t o d o. I h a ve been m or e s u r p r is ed t h a n s h ock ed in m y few yea r s in t ea ch in g h ow p r ofes s ion a l t ea ch er s a r e, a n d h ow m a n y t ea ch er s a ct u a lly d o t r y t o en ga ge k id s a n d a r e n ot t h e t ir ed old ‘fu d d y-d u d d ies ’ you m igh t im a gin e in fa ilin g s ch ools . Wh en you t a lk a bou t ‘n on -p r ofes s ion a l t ea ch er s ’ it s eem s t o m e t h e bigges t p r oblem in s ch ools is t h a t t ea ch er s a r en ’t given t h e t im e t o d evelop a n in n ova t ive cu r r icu lu m . We k n ow h ow t o d o it , bu t w e s p en d a ll ou r

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t im e ou t s id e t h e les s on s p la n n in g, m a r k in g a n d follow in g u p beh a viou r a s w ell a s evid en cin g for t h e n ew O fs t ed s ys t em . I d on ’t r ea lly s ee h ow t h er e ca n be a n y t r a n s for m a t ion u n t il w e a d d r es s t h e w or k loa d of t ea ch er s beca u s e t h er e is n ’t en ou gh t im e t o d o s er iou s in n ova t ive p la n n in g a s it s t a n d s . We a ls o n eed t o a d d r es s t h e beh a viou r cr is is in L on d on s ch ools , w h ich you h a ven ’t m en t ion ed a n d w h ich im p ed es u s fr om d oin g t h e cr ea t ive t ea ch in g t h a t we k n ow h ow t o d o given t h e op p or t u n it y.

D avid H opkins : S a y a bit m or e a bou t t h e beh a viou r is s u e, beca u s e I d id n ’t r ea lly m en t ion beh a viou r .

Audience Mem ber: I t h in k on e of t h e big p r oblem s for t ea ch er s I k n ow in t h e s ch ools I’ve been in is t h a t t h er e is n ot a s ys t em a n y m or e in a lot of s ch ools wh er e a h ea d t ea ch er a n d t h e s en ior lea d er s h ip t ea m a r e figu r es of a u t h or it y. T h er e is a n exp ect a t ion t h a t if t ea ch er s a r e h a vin g t r ou ble w it h t h e beh a viou r of s t u d en t s in cla s s es , t h ey s h ou ld d o w h a t t h ey ca n by t r yin g t o k eep t h em for d et en t ion s , t a lk in g a n d w or k in g w it h t h e k id s a n d com m u n ica t in g w it h t h e p a r en t s . If t h e s t u d en t s t ill fa ils t o com m u n ica t e, t h ey s h ou ld get ba ck u p , bu t t h e s en ior lea d er s h ip t ea m is ver y p r eoccu p ied w it h m a n a gem en t is s u es a n d bu r ea u cr a cy - O fs t ed u s u a lly, evid en cin g, s t r a t egies - a n d t h ey’r e n ot t h er e t o ba ck u p t ea ch er s . T h is is n ot on ly m y exp er ien ce; it ’s a ls o t h e exp er ien ce of a lot of t ea ch er s t h a t I k n ow in m a n y s ch ools . S o, a s t ea ch er s , w e’r e op er a t in g in a n en vir on m en t w h er e t h e exp ect a t ion s for beh a viou r a n d t h e s it u a t ion s t h a t we’r e d ea lin g w it h on a d a y-t o-d a y ba s is a r en ’t w h a t t h ey s h ou ld be, a n d t h er e’s n ot t h e lea d er s h ip in t h e s ch ools t o s or t t h em ou t . I a gr ee w it h you t h er efor e t h a t lea d er s h ip is of p a r a m ou n t im p or t a n ce.#

D avid H opkins : I d on ’t k n ow you r s ch ool s o I ca n ’t com m en t p er s on a lly, bu t in m y exp er ien ce you p u t you r fin ger on it w h en you t a lk a bou t t h e qu a lit y of lea d er s h ip . S om e s ch ools in qu it e d ifficu lt s it u a t ion s ca n becom e r ela t ively ca lm or ga n is a t ion s a n d t h a t ’s a bou t t h e cu lt u r e a n d exp ect a t ion s t h a t a r e cr ea t ed in s id e t h em , a n d a r e con s is t en t ly a p p lied r igh t a cr os s t h e p iece. I d on ’t w a n t t o s a y t h a t beh a viou r is n ’t a p r oblem ; it is a n d you ’ll a lw a ys h a ve you n gs t er s w h o for w h a t ever r ea s on br in g t h eir ou t s id e p r oblem s t o s ch ool, bu t I’m a bs olu t ely con vin ced t h a t t h e r igh t lea d er s h ip ca n a d d r es s a lot of t h e m or e low er level beh a viou r a l p r oblem s t h a t you ’ve been

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a llu d in g t o. O bviou s ly, w h en t h a t ’s n ot bein g d on e, a lot of t im e a n d en er gy is t a k en a w a y fr om t h os e p r ofes s ion a l t a s k s you ’r e t a lk in g a bou t .

Audience Mem ber: It d oes s eem t h a t t h er e h a s been a lot of r h et or ic in t h e p a s t a bou t t h e em p h a s is t h a t n eed s t o be given t o t h e 0-5 a ge gr ou p . T h er e h a s been t h in k in g given t o t h a t a r ea , a n d t h a t h a s r es u lt ed in m a s s ive p r ovis ion , n ot n eces s a r ily w it h t h e qu a lit y ou r you n g on es s h ou ld exp ect n or t h e s u p p or t t h a t p a r en t s n eed t o h a ve, w h ich cou ld a llevia t e s om e of t h e m or e en t r en ch ed beh a viou r t h a t s ch ool lea d er s h a ve d ifficu lt y in d ea lin g w it h w h en it em er ges fu r t h er u p t h e s ch ool s ys t em . I t h in k t h a t wh ile w e’ve h a d a n en or m ou s a m ou n t of m on ey s p en t on t h e 0-5 a ge gr ou p , w e’r e n ot p u t t in g en ou gh em p h a s is on t h e s t r a t egic d a t a t h a t w e h a ve a bou t t h em , a r ou n d t h eir cogn it ive a bilit y a t eigh t een m on t h s a n d t w o yea r s . If we d id , we cou ld begin t o h a ve a d iffer en t ia t ed s ys t em in t h is a ge gr ou p , w h ich m igh t h elp t o r es olve t h e s it u a t ion r a t h er t h a n p u t t in g a s t ick in g p la s t er on it fu r t h er u p t h e s ys t em .

D avid H opkins : I a gr ee w it h you in t h a t , a n d it ’s a ls o in t er es t in g lis t en in g t o E d B a lls , S ecr et a r y of S t a t e for S ch ools a n d F a m ilies , t a lk a bou t on e-t o-on e s u p p or t for you n gs t er s in t h e m id d le yea r s of s ch oolin g a n d K ey S t a ge 3. In F in la n d t h ey u s e on e-t o-on e in t er ven t ion s m u ch lower d ow n t h e s ch ool a t ver y ea r ly a ges t o en s u r e t h a t t h e coh or t p r ogr es s es effect ively t h r ou gh t h eir yea r s of s ch oolin g. As you s a y, w e u s e it a s a ba n d a id , a s a r em ed ia t ion a p p r oa ch , r a t h er t h a n p a r t of t h e n a t u r a l en t it lem en t ea r ly on .

Audience Mem ber: I n ot iced t h a t you h a d in you r s lid e p r es en t a t ion m en t ion of IC T a n d t ech n ology, a n d I s ee a n d h ea r t im e a n d a ga in t h e exp ect a t ion s of t ech n ology a s s om e k in d of a gen t of ch a n ge w it h in s ch ools bot h for t ea ch er s a n d s t u d en t s a r e ver y h igh , yet I’m n ot s u r e I s ee ver y effect ive u s es of t ech n ology a t t h e m om en t . I w on d er ed if you h a d a n y t h ou gh t s a bou t t h a t beca u s e it ’s a lw a ys t h er e, it ’s s een a s a wa y of n et w or k in g, for t ea ch er s t o com m u n ica t e, t o p r ovid e r es ou r ces t o p er s on a lis e lea r n in g, bu t I t h in k cu r r en t u s a ge is a m illion m iles a wa y fr om t h e r h et or ic.

D avid H opkins : Well, in t er es t in gly I m en t ion ed D es ch oolin g S ociet y t h a t I’d r ea d on a ca m p s it e in C h a m on ix 40 yea r s a go a n d of cou r s e Illich w a s goin g on t h en a bou t t h e ben efit s of IC T . I’m

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qu it e cyn ica l a bou t t h a t a n d I s h a r e you r con cer n s . I d on ’t t h in k w e’ve begu n t o exp loit it a t a ll. You fin d p ock et s of gr ea t p r a ct ice bu t a s a s ys t em w e h a ven ’t begu n t o exp loit it . T h e on ly op t im is t ic n ot e is t h a t w h en ou r ch ild r en becom e t ea ch er s t h ey’ll s olve t h e p r oblem .

Audience Mem ber: C a n I ju s t a s k you a qu es t ion a bou t colla bor a t ion ? I t h in k colla bor a t ion is im p or t a n t a n d is t h e w a y a h ea d , bu t it ’s been ver y com p et it ive a n d d ivis ive u p u n t il n ow . T h e H a r r is S ch ool clu s t er in Wa r w ick s h ir e is a ver y in t er es t in g on e. It ’s t h e on ly on e of it s k in d in t h e cou n t r y a n d I t h in k it m a y w ell h a ve a good ch a n ce of w or k in g beca u s e of t h e clos en es s a n d it ’s a clu s t er . We’ve been in volved in in t er ven t ion w or k w it h ot h er s ch ools , bu t t h e is s u e I t h in k w e w ou ld bot h a gr ee is t r u s t . T h e ot h er s ch ools d on ’t r ea lly lik e ot h er s com in g in t o a s s is t , a n d I k n ow t h a t you s a y t h er e ca n be k n ock -on effect s a n d ben efit s t o bot h t h e h igh -a ch ievin g s ch ool a n d t h e u n d er p er for m in g s ch ool, bu t t r yin g t o m a k e t h a t a lon g-la s t in g lin k is d ifficu lt . I ju s t w on d er ed w h a t you r id ea s w er e beca u s e if it ’s t h e w a y a h ea d it n eed s t o be p r ogr es s ed .

D avid H opkins : Well, I t h in k t h er e a r e a cou p le of t h in gs t h er e a n d I t h in k you a r e r igh t t h a t t h er e is a feelin g, ‘We d on ’t w a n t you t o com e in a n d h elp . We’r e a lr igh t ’. In t h e s it u a t ion s t h a t I’ve been d es cr ibin g ba s ed u p on h er e w h er e a lea d in g s ch ool s u p p or t s a low er -p er for m in g s ch ool, w h a t w e fou n d is t h a t t h er e is a n in it ia l r elu ct a n ce t o en ga ge bu t t h a t d is s ip a t es qu it e qu ick ly for a cou p le of r ea s on s . F ir s t , in a s en s e t h ey’ve got t o d o it , beca u s e t h er e’s a m a n d a t e t h er e. S econ d ly, w h en it w or k s w ell, t h e lea d s ch ool t a k es in a cu r r icu lu m p r ogr a m m e, a beh a viou r p r ogr a m m e a n d a s s es s m en t -for -lea r n in g p r oces s es t h a t a r e a lr ea d y s or t ed ou t a n d d ebu gged . S o t h ey’r e t ools t h a t t ea ch er s ca n u s e p r et t y qu ick ly. Als o, wh en it wor k s w ell t h e p r oces s is a t t en d ed by a h igh level of p r ofes s ion a l d evelop m en t w h er e t ea ch er s in bot h s ch ools a r e wor k in g t oget h er a n d w or k in g colla bor a t ively. It is t h is t h a t s eem s t o d is s ip a t e t h e in it ia l r elu ct a n ce beca u s e t h e low-p er for m in g s ch ools a r e im p or t in g good id ea s , ba s ic id ea s t h a t a ct u a lly w or k a n d in a lot of t h es e s ch ools t h os e s ys t em s a r e m is s in g. S o, yes , I s ee w h a t you m ea n , bu t I t h in k t h e p ot en t ia l t h a t t h e H a r r is gr ou p of s ch ools h a s is t h a t it h a s a com m on t ea ch in g p r ogr a m m e, a com m on beh a viou r a l a p p r oa ch , a com m on lea r n in g a p p r oa ch , w h ich ea ch s ch ool ca n t a k e t h e ba s ic s p ecifica t ion s of a n d p u t t h eir ow n cu lt u r e a n d s t a m p on t h em , a n d t h a t a llow s for bet t er d egr ees of colla bor a t ion .

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Audience Mem ber: I t h in k you p a in t ed a r a t h er p os it ive p ict u r e of, a s you s a y, t h e gr ea t s ch ools a n d t h e gr ea t s ch ool s ys t em t h a t w e cou ld h a ve. H ow d o you t h in k w e’ll k n ow w h en w e’ve got it ? C a n we h a ve a m et h od of a s s es s in g t h a t ’s u s efu l t o p olit icia n s , p a r en t s a n d t ea ch er s t h a t d oes n ’t ju s t com e ba ck t o exa m r es u lt s ?

D avid H opkins : T h a t ’s a ver y good qu es t ion a n d it ’s a d ifficu lt on e t o a n s w er . D es p it e w h a t I’ve s a id , I t h in k t h a t m os t p r oba bly exa m r es u lt s a r e n ot t oo ba d a p r oxy for ot h er a s p ect s of t h e s ch ool. Wh a t we h a ve s in gu la r ly fa iled t o d o, h owever , is t o d evelop m et r ics t h a t a ct u a lly p r ize t h e ot h er elem en t s of s ch oolin g t h a t w e t h in k a r e im p or t a n t . O n e of t h e in n ova t ion s I d id in t r od u ce w h en I w a s in gover n m en t w a s s om et h in g ca lled a ‘s ch ool p r ofile’, wh ich I wa s ver y p lea s ed t o get on t o t h e la w book s , bu t I d on ’t k n ow h ow s t r on g it s im p a ct h a s been . T h e id ea of a s ch ool p r ofile is ju s t t h r ee or fou r s id es of p a p er , or t h e equ iva len t , w h ich d o h a ve t h e exa m r es u lt s a n d t h eir t r en d s , bu t a ls o gives t h e s ch ool t h e op p or t u n it y t o t a lk a bou t h ow it p er s on a lis es lea r n in g, w h a t d egr ee of ext r a -cu r r icu la r a ct ivit ies it gives , h ow it d ea ls w it h in clu s ion a n d s o on . I t h in k t h a t if w e begin t o m ove t owa r d s m or e econ om ic for m s of p or t r a yin g t h e r ich er a s p ect s of s ch ools t h e bet t er . M y wor r y, t h ou gh , is t h a t given t h e n a t u r e of t h e m ed ia in m os t d evelop ed cou n t r ies t h ey w ill t en d t o focu s on t h e t op -lin e r es u lt s r a t h er t h a n t h e ot h er is s u es a n d I t h in k t h a t ’s a r ea l p r oblem .

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The national curriculum is outdated and no longer fit for purpose
Tuesday 10 June 2008 Professor Alison Wolf

Th is lect u r e wa s spon sor ed by Sover eign Ca pit a l

In t r odu ction by Pa u l Br et t Professor Alison Wolf is th e Sir Roy Gr iffit h s Pr ofessor of pu blic sector m a n a gemen t a t Kin g’s College Lon don . Pr ofessor Wolf specia lises in t h e r ela tion sh ip bet ween edu ca t ion a n d t h e la bou r m a r ket a n d in fa ct is a specia list a dvisor t o Th e H ou se of Common s’ select comm it t ee on edu ca t ion a n d skills. Sh e h a s wide-r a n gin g exper ien ce, bot h in h igh er edu ca t ion a n d on gover n m en t bodies a ddr essin g edu ca t ion m a t ter s.

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Th e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m is a t th e cen t r e of ever yt h in g we do. It wa s fir st in t r odu ced a ft er deca des of qu ite im pa ssion ed discu ssion a bou t wh a t a Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m sh ou ld be, wh a t it sh ou ld do a n d wh y we sh ou ld h a ve it . It wa s or igin a lly ch a m pion ed by left -lea n in g a ca dem ics wh o sa w it a s a mea n s of pr ovidin g u n iver sa l en t it lemen ts for a ll ch ildr en , bu t it t h en beca m e a wea pon in t h e figh t by gover n m en t t o t a ke con t r ol of th e sch ools. P a r a doxica lly, t h e st or y of t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m is on e of u n in t en ded con sequ en ces: it h a s become som et h in g wh ich u n der pin s a n d in deed pr om ot es a n d secu r es t h e sor t of t a r get -dr iven , qu a lifica t ion -obsessed edu ca tion syst em t h a t h a s developed over t h e la st deca des; it h a s become less a n d less con cer n ed wit h wh a t ch ildr en a r e a ctu a lly lea r n in g. In ot h er wor ds it h a s become a m ea n s of t est in g r a t h er t h a n a m ea n s of edu ca t in g. Th e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m h a s a ctu a lly become a n en em y of
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cu r r icu lu m a n d a n en em y of edu ca tion . Twen t y yea r s on t h is is som et h in g we n ow h a ve t o r ecogn ise.

An y of u s wh o a ctu a lly wor k in edu ca t ion a n d, pa r t icu la r ly, a n y of u s wh o wor k s in a sch ool, is by n ow u sed to t h e en dless delu ge of in it ia t ives a n d pla n s a n d st a n da r ds a n d gu ida n ce a n d or der s a n d mor e in itia t ives a n d m or e gu ida n ce a n d m or e or der s t h a t come r a in in g down ever y t im e t h er e’s a n ew Secr et a r y of St a t e. So mu ch so t h a t you m a y h a ve t h ou gh t it wa s a lwa ys like t h is. Bu t for m ost of t h e 20t h cen t u r y, in clu din g m ost of t h e post -wa r per iod, cen t r a l gover n m en t in t h is cou n t r y (a n d I a m m ost ly ta lkin g a bou t E n gla n d a n d Wa les beca u se Scotla n d a n d Nor t h er n Ir ela n d a r e differ en t in some key a spects) h a d n o dir ect r ole in t h e cu r r icu lu m . In fa ct it h a d ver y lit t le dir ect r ole in a n yt h in g t o do wit h sch ools a n d edu ca t ion . On th e con t r a r y, it pr ided it self on its a bst en t ion a n d t h er e wa s a t en den cy t o m ock cou n t r ies wh ich h a d a cen t r a lised cu r r icu lu m ; people wou ld m a k e jok es a bou t h ow ever y ch ild in F r a n ce wa s lea r n in g a bou t t h e m u scle of a m u ssel on t h e sa m e da y a t t h e sa m e t im e. I don ’t th in k t h a t wa s ever t r u e bu t I t h in k it ’s wor t h bea r in g in m in d t h a t t oda y wh a t goes on in E n glish cla ssr oom s is sign ifica n t ly m or e cen t r a lly dir ected t h a n wh a t goes on in th e cla ssr ooms of F r a n ce.

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Bu t of cou r se edu ca t ion is a n en or m ou s in du st r y, we spen d a ver y la r ge pr opor tion of GDP on it a n d t h a t ’s been in cr ea sin g in r ecen t yea r s. Wh a t h a ppen s of cou r se wh en t h in gs st a r t t o go wr on g (a s t h ey h a ve don e in t h e pa st few deca des), is t h a t Gover n m en t decides t h a t it is fa r t oo impor t a n t t o be left t o t h e con t r ol of t h e pr ofession a ls – in ot h er wor ds it decides t o t a ke con t r ol it self. In m a n y wa ys r igh t ly so.

A brief history In t h e 1970s t h er e wa s a gr owin g bi-pa r tisa n con viction (‘bi-pa r t isa n ’ in t h e sen se t h a t it in volved bot h pa r t ies bu t it didn ’t in volve ever ybody in bot h m a jor pa r t ies) t h a t sch ools’ fr eedom a llied wit h a (pr ogr essive) edu ca t ion a l policy, wa s lea din g t o in t oler a bly low gen er a l st a n da r ds of a ch ievem en t . At t h is tim e t h er e wa s ver y lit t le cen t r a l con t r ol of t h e cu r r icu lu m , ver y little power for Th e Depa r t m en t of E du ca tion a n d Scien ce (a s it wa s t h en ca lled t h r ou gh t h e 60s a n d 70s) a n d cr u cia lly t h e E leven P lu s exa m wa s pr ogr essively bein g ph a sed ou t .

Th e disa ppea r a n ce of t h e E leven P lu s exa m h a d qu ite a sign ifica n t bea r in g on t h e cu r r icu lu m in Pr im a r y Sch ools. As t h e syst em a s a wh ole m oved t owa r ds compr eh en sivisa t ion a n d t h e E leven P lu s sta r t ed t o disa ppea r , t h e foca l poin t of pr im a r y edu ca t ion st a r t ed t o fa de a n d con cer n s over st a n da r ds m ou n t ed. Th is con cer n cu lm in a t ed in t h e 1976 Ru skin College speech given by t h e t h en pr im e m in ist er J im Ca lla gh a n . Th e speech wa s pr om pt ed by a sch ool wh ich wa s t r u ly n ot or iou s for a wh ile: t h e Willia m Tyn da le sch ool in Islin gt on . Ru n by a gr ou p of t ea ch er s wh o ba sica lly didn ’t believe t h a t th er e sh ou ld be a n y in str u ction t o ch ildr en a bou t wh a t th ey sh ou ld lea r n or wh a t t h ey sh ou ld do; in deed, a s fa r a s t h ey believed in a n yt h in g, it wa s t h e destr u ction of ca pit a lism , or ga n ised sch oolin g a n d a ll t h e r est of it ! Th e pa r en t s of Willia m Tyn da le pu pils got ext r em ely u pset ; it wa s a cla ssic ca se in wh ich th e t ea ch er s, t h e h ea d a n d t h e people wh o wor ked wit h t h em (a ll of wh om wer e edu ca t ed a n d h a d a llies in pa r t s

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of t h e ext r em e left ) wer e in crea sin gly a t da gger s dr a wn with t h e pa r en t s – m ost of wh om ca m e fr om pr et t y depr ived est a tes in th e Islin gt on a r ea .

Th is ba t t legr ou n d wa s on e of t h e t r igger s t h a t led t o Ca lla gh a n ’s decision t o set in m ot ion wor k towa r ds t h e developm en t of a n idea of t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m , or wh a t h e ca lled a ‘compu lsor y cor e cu r r icu lu m’. Wit h th e victor y of t h e Con ser va t ives a t t h e n ext election in 1979 a n d t h e begin n in g of t h e Th a t ch er a dmin ist r a t ion s, t h er e ca m e a det er m in a t ion to wr est con t r ol fr om t h e t ea ch er s, fr om t h e LE As (Loca l E du ca t ion Au t h or ities) a n d t o a sser t cen tr a l gover n m en t in flu en ce. In 1987 th e Con ser va t ives wen t in t o t h e gen er a l election wit h a m a n ifest o comm it m en t to est a blish a Na tion a l Cu r r icu lu m ; a t t h e t im e, t h er e wa s a lot of gen er a l a gr eem en t . Th er e’d been a n en or m ou s a m ou n t of wr it in g a bou t it – t h er e a r e sh elf-fu ls of ea r n est discu ssion a bou t wh a t sh ou ld go in t o a Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m in t h e Na t ion a l Ar ch ive. Ken n et h Ba ker , t h e Secr et a r y of St a t e a t t h e t im e, got st r a igh t in wit h cu r r icu lu m wor kin g pa r t ies a n d in n o t im e a t a ll, a lbeit wit h som e wa lkou t s, especia lly on t h e h ist or y a n d m a t h s pa n els ( th ey’r e a lwa ys t h e wor st!) we h a d a Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m . In fa ct we h a d a n en or m ou s Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m , we h a d a Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m wh ich wa s n ot on ly som et h in g wh ich wa s su bject-ba sed, wh ich wa s itself t h e su bject of qu it e a lot of discu ssion , bu t it cover ed ever y su bject a n d vir t u a lly ever y h ou r of t h e sch ool yea r for pu pils in m a in t a in ed compu lsor y edu ca t ion . Th a t va st edifice wh ich Ken n et h Ba k er cr ea t ed h a s squ a tted, t oa d-like, in th e cen tr e of ou r edu ca t ion syst em ever sin ce.

Consequences Beca u se t h is h u ge a n d over bea r in g en t it y wa s so polit ica lly effective a n d h a d been cr ea t ed wit h su ch speed, we h a ve, a s a cou n t r y, given r em a r ka bly a n d t er r ifyin gly lit t le t h ou gh t t o wh a t edu ca tion sh ou ld a ctu a lly be a bou t ever sin ce. H a vin g gon e t h r ou gh t h e t r a u m a of set t in g u p t h e cu r r icu lu m , we som eh ow seem t o h a ve fou n d ou r selves sin ce t h en complet ely u n a ble t o t h in k in a n y coh er en t or
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widespr ea d fa sh ion a bou t wh y we a r e keepin g ch ildr en in sch ool; wh a t t h ey a r e t h ey t h er e for , wh y we im pr ison t h em t h er e week a ft er week, m on th a ft er m on t h a n d wh a t we a r e a ctu a lly t r yin g t o a ccomplish by doin g so. We spen d su ch h u ge a m ou n t s of t im e wor r yin g a bou t a n d discu ssin g ‘deliver y’ a n d ‘ma n a gem en t ’ a n d h ow t o k eep r ecor ds a n d a bove a ll h ow t o a ssess th in gs, t h er e is n ever r oom for m or e fu n da m en ta l issu es to be a ir ed. In fa ct if you compa r e t h e r ea m s of pa per bein g ch u r n ed ou t by t h e gover n m en t n ow wit h t h e st u ff t h a t h a s been comin g ou t in t h e n in et een th a n d t wen t iet h cen tu r ies, m u ch of t h e pr ose is u tt er ly in t er ch a n gea ble.

Th e poin t is t h a t ou r t h in kin g a bou t t h e r ea son s for edu ca tion h a ve n ot developed a n d t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m a n d th e t on n a ge of pa per a n d in it ia t ives it cr ea t es ever y yea r , in h ibit a n y r a tion a l deba t e a bou t th e fu n da men t a l poin t of edu ca t ion . In fa ct t h e la st t im e we a ctu a lly h a d a ser iou s cu r r icu lu m deba t e, in my opin ion , wa s ba ck in t h e 1980’s wit h TVE I (Tech n ica l a n d Voca t ion a l E du ca t ion In it ia t ive). It wa s it self en or mou sly con tr over sia l a t th e t ime pa r tly beca u se t h e fu n din g for it bypa ssed bot h th e LE As (wh o wer e deemed t o be u n t r u st wor th y) a n d t h e DE S (wh ich h a d ‘gon e n a t ive’) a n d so Mr s Th a t ch er ’s gover n men t

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ch a n n elled t h is m on ey t h r ou gh t h e Ma n power Ser vices Com m ission . Bu t, a ga in , if you look a t h ow people felt a bou t it , t h e disa gr eem en t s wer en ’t split a lon g pa r ty lin es: n ot a ll Con ser va t ives wer e for , n ot a ll La bou r a ga in st , it wa s fa r m or e complex t h a n t h a t – t h er e wer e a lot of people wh o wer e pa ssion a t ely dedica t ed to t h e idea s t h a t wer e in h er en t in it . TVE I wa s in deed a m a jor a t t em pt ba sed on cu r r icu lu m t h in kin g – it a t t em pt ed t o a ddr ess t h e idea of wh a t sor t of societ y we n eeded by ch a n gin g t h e r ela t ive st a t u s of t h eor y a n d pr a ctice (t h e a ca dem ic a n d t h e a pplied if you will) in th e sch ool cu r r icu lu m . Wh et h er or n ot on e t h in ks it wa s a su ccess in it self, wh et h er it wa s a good idea , t h er e wa s a ver y, ver y ser iou s n a t ion a l deba t e a bou t wh et h er or n ot th is wa s wh a t we sh ou ld be doin g. Wh en you look for som et h in g sin ce t h er e is r ea lly n ot h in g compa r a ble - it wa s a gen u in e cu r r icu lu m in it ia t ive, a n a t tem pt t o t h in k a bou t wh a t t h e cu r r icu lu m sh ou ld be a n d a n a t t em pt to ch a n ge t h e wa y t h a t h ier a r ch ies a n d st a tu s oper a t ed with in t h e sch ool syst em . Th e in ter est in g t h in g is t h a t it left ver y lit t le tr a ce in it s wa k e a n d sin ce 1988 we h a ve h a d fr en etic a ctivity bu t n o ser iou s deba t e a bou t t h e cu r r icu lu m . Th er e h a ve been qu a lifica t ion s, m or e qu a lifica t ion s, we’ve r eor ga n ised ou r test s a n d r eor ga n ised ou r exa ms a n d t h en we’ve r eor ga n ised ou r t est s a n d t h en we’ve r eor ga n ised ou r exa m s a ga in , we’ve h a d t a r get s a n d m or e

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t a r get s a n d we a r e n ow pr oposin g to keep ever ybody in for ma l compu lsor y edu ca tion even lon ger th a n ever befor e. Yet we don ’t r ea lly st op a n d t h in k a bou t wh y we’r e doin g t h is a n d wh a t it is t h a t we’r e r ea lly tr yin g t o a ch ieve especia lly a t secon da r y level.

Th e st ock r espon se t o t h is a r gu m en t is ‘wh a t a bou t t h e Tom lin son Review?’ Som e sa y it wa s a m issed oppor tu n it y. I will a r gu e th a t in fa ct fa r fr om bein g a m issed oppor t u n it y it en ca psu la t ed ever yt h in g t h a t ’s wr on g wit h t h e wa y we a ppr oa ch edu ca tion a t t h e m om en t .

Bu t befor e I do t h a t I wa n t t o t a lk a bou t som et h in g wh ich is in a sen se m u ch m or e fu n da m en ta l: wh y h a s t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m been so st u lt ifyin g a cr ea t ion ? Sim ply, a side fr om t h e speed with wh ich it wa s in t r odu ced, it wa s a bsolu t ely en or m ou s. Th e or igin a l docu men t is h u ge: it h a s deta iled pr ogr a m m es of st u dy, a t t a in m en t t a r get s, ou t comes, t h emes a n d ever y bit of ja r gon t h a t ’s weigh ed u s down ever sin ce. I’m in debted to th e Lib Dems a n d Nick Clegg for doin g som e cou n t in g for m e beca u se a ccor din g t o th em even in it s a ppa r en t ly n ew slim m ed down for m t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m r u n s to a m in im u m of 635 pa ges if you lea ve ou t a ll of t h e a ppen dices. Th e Swedes a lso h a ve a Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m a n d it weigh s in a t 21 pa ges. So I t h in k th e fir st th in g to u n der st a n d a bou t t h e wa y we a ppr oa ch th e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m is t h a t we r ea lly did go for br oke: we wen t fr om m in im a l con t r ol t o la yin g down in u n pr eceden t ed a n d in compa r a ble det a il exa ctly wh a t sh ou ld go on in ever y ch ild’s sch ool, in ever y ch ild’s cla ssr oom a n d on ever y su bject. We t h en , of cou r se, tied t h a t t o t est s. Test in g a t seven , t est in g a t eleven , t est in g a t fou r t een a n d t est in g a t sixteen . Ma n y people will sa y t h a t we a r e n ow in a situ a t ion wh er e we t est ch ildr en m or e t h a n a n ywh er e else in t h e wor ld. I’m n ot su r e t h a t’s t r u e, I t h in k a ctu a lly t h a t t h er e’s a lot of test in g t h a t goes on in a lot of cou n t r ies bu t wh a t we do is we set , r ecor d a n d u se for con t r ol pu r poses a n ext r a or din a r y n u mber of officia l cen t r a lly set t est s wh ich em a n a t e fr om gover n m en t a n d a r e u sed by gover n m en t for a ccou n t a bility
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pu r poses. Th a t wa s pa r t of t h e E du ca t ion Refor m Act, it wa s a n in t r in sic pa r t of t h e wa y t h ey a ppr oa ch ed t h e wh ole idea of a Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m a n d I t h in k t h a t th er e a r e n ow pr oba bly ver y few people wh o don ’t feel t h a t t h e r esu lt of t h is h a s been t o t r ivia lise t h e wa y m a n y su bjects a r e t a u gh t .

Wh a t we’ve n ow got is a tigh t lin k bet ween a ver y deta iled Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m a n d a cen t r a lly dr iven t est in g pr ogr a m me. So, for exa m ple, GCSE s a r e ver y clea r ly ba sed on Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m r equ ir em en ts a n d t h is lin k, beca u se of it s st r en gt h h a s cr ea t ed a dyn a m ic wh ich is a t t h e h ea r t of th e pr oblem wit h t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m . Th is r equ ir es some expla n a n t ion . Wh en t h e Key Sta ge t est s wer e fir st in t r odu ced in t o sch ools I th in k t h ey r ea lly didn ’t h a ve t h a t m u ch impa ct. Cer t a in ly m y exper ien ce is t h a t t h ey wer e a n ‘a dd-on ’: a ft er th e fir st yea r or t wo of u tt er ch a os in ever y in fa n t sch ool in t h e la n d, t ea ch er s coped wit h t h em ; bu t gr a du a lly a s th e t ests wer e r eor ga n ised, a s t h e t a r get s cu t in on t h e impor t a n ce of t h ese a n d th eir wa sh ba ck on a ctivity in t h e cla ssr oom gr ew, so t h e impa ct beca m e m or e a ppa r en t . An d t h is is wh er e t h e dyn a m ic comes in . P olicies h a ve a dyn a m ic; wh a t h a ppen s in t h e fir st yea r is n ot n ecessa r ily wh a t ’s goin g t o h a ppen five yea r s down th e r oa d. So t h e situ a t ion wa s t h a t beca u se we’d in t r odu ced a Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m , we cou ld in tr odu ce n a t ion a l t est s th a t wer e
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ver y t igh t ly lin ked t o it a n d beca u se we h a d a deta iled cu r r icu lu m we cou ld a lso in sist t h a t GCSE s wer e ver y tigh t ly lin ked t o it. Th e pr ogr ession fr om t h a t st a t e of a ffa ir s wa s t h a t ‘we’, a n d in t h is sen se I’m lookin g a t it fr om a gover n men t ’s poin t of view ‘we’ t h e gover n m en t , cou ld effectively t a ke over con tr ol fr om t h e sch ools t ea ch er s a n d t h e LE As wh om we n o lon ger t r u st ed t o deliver t h in gs. F r om t h e ou t set , t h e fa ct t h a t t h e str u ctu r e of th e syst em wa s ver y t igh tly lin ked a n d t h e fa ct t h a t t h e cu r r icu lu m wa s so ver y la r ge m ea n t t h a t th e t wo bits fed in t o ea ch ot h er , t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m a n d t h e t est in g a r e sym biotica lly lin k ed. Th e poin t of wh ich is of cou r se, t h a t ch a n ge becomes less a n d less desir a ble a s t ea ch er s a n d in stitu t ion s a da pt t o t h e syst em .

I r em em ber bein g deeply sh ocked t h e fir st tim e I ta lked t o som e m a t h s t ea ch er s wh o wer e doin g a m a st er s degr ee I wa s t ea ch in g a n d discover ed t h e degr ee t o wh ich t h ey m on it or ed in extr em e det a il th e t est qu est ion s yea r on yea r a t Key St a ge 2 a n d a t Key St a ge 3. If t h er e wa s on e t h in g t h a t h a d ch a n ged t h ey r u sh ed t h e wh ole cla ss off for a specia l r evision session beca u se t h e ch a n ge in dica t ed t h a t t h e n ext pa per wou ld be bou n d t o cover th a t n ew a r ea . If you ’r e a sch ool t h a t ’s doin g well, if you ’r e a compet en t t ea ch er , if you kn ow wh a t ’s comin g you don ’t a ctu a lly pa r t icu la r ly wa n t it t o ch a n ge ver y m u ch beca u se t h en t h er e’s a r ea l r isk t h a t you will do ver y ba dly.

Th er e is a n ot h er a n ecdot e a bou t t h is pr edica t a bilit y – it ma y be a pocr yph a l bu t t h e st or y goes t h a t if you t a ke over a s a su per in t en den t of sch ools in th e Un it ed St a t es a n d you ’r e r u n n in g you r loca l sch ool syst em , t h e fir st t h in g you do is ch a n ge t h e st a n da r dised t est s. In t h e US you ca n bu y differ en t t est s off t h e sh elf, so if you ch a n ge t h e on e t h a t th e dist r ict is u sin g you gu a r a n t ee t h a t you ca n sh ow th e wor ld h ow ba dly you r pr edecessor did. An d of cou r se a cou ple of yea r s down t h e r oa d wh en t h ey’ve got u sed t o th e t est t h a t you ’ve in t r odu ced t h ey’r e pr edicta bly doin g m u ch bet t er .

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Th e wa y t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m wa s developed a n d t h e wa y it wa s lin ked so closely t o t est in g, wa s n ot a pr edicta ble or det er m in a te pr ocess. A lot of it ca m e a bou t beca u se we h a d a ver y a m bit iou s Secr et a r y of St a t e (Ken n et h Ba ker ) a n d a lso t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m h a ppen ed a t a t ime wh en t h ose civil ser va n t s wor k in g a t Depa r t m en t of E du ca t ion wer e deem ed t o be in a complet e ba ckwa t er of gover n m en t . Wh en so m u ch power a n d in flu en ce su dden ly ca m e t h eir wa y, t h ey t h ou gh t t h a t fift y Ch r ist m a ses h a d com e a t on ce! It t r a n sfor med t h e job a n d t h e depa r t m en t in t o a key pla yer in gover n m en t .

Bu t , I k n ow for a fa ct, t h a t th is wa s n ot wh a t Mr s Th a t ch er wa n t ed. Sh e wa n t ed pen a n d pa per t est s for E n glish , m a t h s a n d scien ce a t eleven ; in st ea d, wh a t sh e got wa s t h is va st edifice. An ot h er fa ctor (a pa r t fr om Ken n et h Ba ker ) t h a t m a de t h e cu r r icu lu m in to t h e m on st er it is, wa s t h e m om en t in wh ich it h a ppen ed. F ive yea r s ea r lier t h e cu r r icu lu m wou ld n ot h a ve t a ken th is for m beca u se a lt h ou gh we wer e n ot yet in t h e a ge of br oa dba n d, we wer e in t h e a ge of wor d pr ocessor s a n d we wer e in t h e a ge of ph otocopyin g bu t if it h a d h a ppen ed five yea r s ea r lier , t h e t ech n ology wou ld n ot h a ve equ ipped u s to pr odu ce t h is h u ge complex syst em .

An d of cou r se sin ce t h en beca u se we do h a ve br oa dba n d it h a s got bigger a n d bigger a n d bigger . It ’s ver y sta ble, it ’s ver y la r ge a n d we h a ve a ll got in st it u t ion a lised by it. Below is t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m t h en a n d n ow for Key St a ge 3. Th er e h a s on ly been on e t h in g a dded to it sin ce it s in cept ion : cit izen sh ip. Th er e h a s been som e ot h er fiddlin g a r ou n d (with m oder n la n gu a ges) bu t ba sica lly wh en you t h in k t h a t t h is wa s som et h in g t h a t wa s r u sh ed in u n der a lot of cr it icism wit h ver y lit t le r ea l t h ou gh t or discu ssion t wen ty yea r s a go, it is r ea lly st r ikin g t h a t it ’s st ill t h er e, a ll of it. An d t h e r ea son s for t h a t a r e, a s a bove: we’ve a ll in m a n y wa ys got a n in cen t ive to con tin u e wit h it ; we’ve a ll become in st it u t ion a lised by it, we’ve a ll become u sed t o it , we kn ow h ow t o deliver it , a n d fin a lly h ow do you dism a n t le su ch a complex a n d t igh t ly in t er con n ected t h in g?
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As I sa id it ’s got ever yt h in g, it ’s got key con cept s, key pr ocesses, it ’s got r a n ge a n d con t en t , it ’s got cu r r icu lu m oppor t u n ities, it ’s got a ll t h a t even a ft er it wa s t h in n ed down .

Let me expla in fu r t h er by u sin g t h is a n a logy: we u sed t o h a ve H ea t h r ow a n d we n ow h a ve Ch a r les de Ga u lle. H ea t h r ow Air por t is a lwa ys t a ken a s a sym bol of t h is cou n t r y in a ver y n ega t ive wa y, you pick u p th e n ewspa per a n d som ebody’s ju st la n ded fr om H ea t h r ow a n d wr it t en a bou t h ow t h e wa lkwa y wa s br oken a n d t h e ba gs didn ’t come a n d ever yt h in g wa s gr u bby a n d n ot h in g qu it e wor ked, a ll of wh ich is per fectly t r u e. Bu t t h er e a r e some ext r a or din a r y t h in gs a bou t H ea t h r ow: it s size, th e speed a t wh ich it h a s gr own , h ow m a n y people it h a n dles a n d t h e fa ct t h a t it fu n ction s a t a ll. Ch a r les de Ga u lle, on t h e ot h er h a n d, wh ich is t h e m a in a ir por t for P a r is wa s, wh en it fir st open ed, a n a r ch it ectu r a l icon . It wa s a n icon ic a ir por t , ever ybody t h ou gh t it wa s a bsolu t ely fa n t a st ic; it wa s tigh t , n ea t , bea u t ifu l a n d ever yt h in g wa s in t er con n ected a n d br illia n t ly design ed. Th e t r ou ble is t h a t beca u se it wa s per fectly design ed you cou ldn ’t a ctu a lly ch a n ge a n yt h in g. Ch a r les de Ga u lle is a ctu a lly n ot a n y m or e a plea sa n t a ir por t t o u se beca u se it ’s ver y over cr owded. In th e en d wh a t h a d t o h a ppen wa s beca u se t h ey cou ldn ’t expa n d it t h ey h a d t o bu ild a complet ely sepa r a t e secon d t er m in a l,
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t ota lly sepa r a t e, a n d t h e on ly wa y you ca n get t o it is by a n in cr edibly u n -m oder n , ba dly or ga n ised bu s r ide; if you a ctu a lly t h in k th a t t r a n sitin g a t H ea th r ow is ba d you sh ou ld t r y a skin g a n y n on -E U cit izen wh a t it’s like t o tr a n sit in P a r is a t Ch a r les de Ga u lle, it ’s a n a bsolu t e n igh tma r e. Th e wh ole poin t of t h is is: wh a t we cr ea t ed in t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m wa s Ch a r les de Ga u lle a n d n ot H ea t h r ow; Befor e t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m we h a d H ea t h r ow a n d n ow we’ve got Ch a r les de Ga u lle; it ’s m on olit h ic, it ’s in ter con n ected, it ’s in flexible a n d on e of t h e r esu lt s of t h is is t h a t we pu t a ll of ou r en er gy in to ever yt h in g ot h er t h a n gr a pplin g wit h t h e cu r r icu lu m beca u se t h e idea of r ea lly ch a n gin g t h e cu r r icu lu m is som et h in g wh ich is simply in con ceiva ble. Th e m omen t you pu ll on e bit , ever yt h in g else comes a pa r t .

As eviden ce of t h is, we h a ve a ctu a lly h a d a r eview of t h e secon da r y pa r t of t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m r ecen t ly. Now I wor k in edu ca t ion a n d I didn ’t even n ot ice, it sor t of slid by, t h er e wer e n o fa n fa r es, th er e wa s n o n a t ion a l con ver sa t ion , t h er e wer e n o a r t icles of a n y ser iou sn ess a bou t it in th e Gu a r dia n E du ca t ion su pplem en t or t h e TE S n ever min d a n ywh er e else. Th e t ea m a t th e QCA wh o wer e r espon sible sa w it a s th eir m a in job t o ju st t r y a n d get a bit m or e flexibilit y in ; t igh t en it u p a bit , slim it down a bit , ju st m a ke it a bit ea sier for ever ybody, a n d I t h in k t h ey did t h a t ver y effectively. So, fr om on e poin t of view it wa s won der fu l: m in im a l disr u pt ion ever ywh er e, n o n eed t o r ewr it e a ll t h e t ext books, slide t h e bit s in th a t m in ist er s h a d sign ed u p for , bu t looked a t fr om a n ot h er poin t of view t h is is a ctu a lly cr a zy. Th is is a cou n t r y wh er e t h er e is r ea lly widespr ea d dissa t isfa ction wit h t h e edu ca tion syst em a t t h e m omen t , it ’s n ot ju st a few people like me or like t h e Lea r n in g Skills Fou n da t ion , it’s r ea lly ver y clea r t h a t a lot of people a r e ver y u n h a ppy with it ; a n d yet t h e m a in a m bit ion of Wh it eh a ll, wh en t h ey t h ou gh t it wa s time to r eview t h e secon da r y cu r r icu lu m , wa s t o slide it t h r ou gh wit h m in im a l disr u pt ion , m in im a l discu ssion , wit h ou t a n ybody n ot icin g, a n d ju st m a ke life a litt le bit ea sier bu t a bove a ll, plea se n ot

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u n pa ck t h is ext r a or din a r y object t h a t we h a ve cr ea t ed. It ’s en t ir ely u n der st a n da ble fr om a bu r ea u cr a t ic poin t of view of cou r se.

So in st ea d of h a vin g a n a t ion a l con ver sa tion a bou t wh a t edu ca t ion is a bou t , wh a t we do is we t a lk a bou t qu a lifica t ion s. Now befor e 1988 we h a d a ver y decen tr a lised syst em bu t a lso, a n d I t h in k th is is t h e ot h er r ea son wh y we’ve got ou r selves in t o su ch a locked syst em , we h a d a qu a lifica t ion -led syst em . Th is n eeds som e m or e expla n a tion . If you look a t edu ca t ion syst em s you ca n , on t h e wh ole, descr ibe t h em a s qu a lifica t ion -led or cu r r icu lu m-led. It is n ot u su a l for t h em t o be bot h a t on ce. So, for exa m ple, t h e Un it ed St a tes is ver y m u ch cu r r icu lu m -led a n d t h e u n ifyin g for ce is text books wh ich en su r e t h a t t h e cu r r icu lu m in differ en t sta t es a n d differ en t a u t h or it ies t en ds t o be m or e sim ila r t h a n you m igh t expect; Sweden t oo is ver y m u ch cu r r icu lu m led. We wer e t r a dit ion a lly ver y qu a lifica t ion -led; we h a d a ver y decen t r a lised syst em wit h wh ich people wer e per fectly h a ppy u n til t h in gs sta r t ed goin g ver y wr on g visibly in a n u m ber of pla ces, in clu din g Islin gt on . Th e t h in gs t h a t u n der pin n ed t h e syst em , ga ve it st r u ctu r e a n d comm on u n der st a n din g, wa s for good or ill t h e E leven P lu s beca u se it ga ve a clea r set of ou t comes, a n d t h e pu blic exa m in a t ion s.

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Th e set -u p befor e 1988 compr ised a lot of differ en t bodies in n o ver y t igh t r ela tion sh ip - th ey wer e join ed t oget h er in a wh ole lot of differ en t wa ys - wh o wer e in volved in set t in g u p a n d set t in g exa m in a t ion s a n d oft en doin g so in a ver y in n ova t ive a n d decen t r a lised fa sh ion , a ll of t h ese bodies wer e in volved mor e or less h ea vily in cr ea t in g secon da r y level qu a lifica tion s. I’m n ot t r yin g t o a r gu e t h a t th e qu a lifica t ion s st r u ctu r e pr e-1988 wa s n ecessa r ily per fect bu t t h e poin t I wa n t t o a r gu e is t h a t t h e cu r r icu lu m a n d ou r cu r r icu lu m discu ssion s wen t on wit h a ll of t h ese people in volved. Th ese bodies in clu ded t h e su bject a ssocia t ion s, t h e exa m boa r ds of wh om t h er e wer e fa r m or e th a n t h er e a r e t oda y, fou n da t ion s wer e in volved (N u ffield for exa m ple), t h e LE As a n d ILE A.

P ost -1988 t h e n ea t n ess a gen da cu t t h r ou gh t h is a n d r epla ced it wit h a ver y st r u ctu r ed, ver y cen t r a lised a n d r igid syst em t h a t we see t oda y. So in t h is cou n t r y t oda y you ca n h a ve t h e m ost won der fu l a n d pr oven popu la r cu r r icu lu m idea s im a gin a ble bu t if you ’r e tr yin g t o wor k a n d get t h e idea s over in t h e m a in t a in ed sector (a n d in fa ct in m ost of t h e in depen den t sch ools t oo), you h a ve zer o ch a n ce of th e idea s bein g a dopt ed u n less th ey’r e in a n a ppr oved qu a lifica t ion .

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E ver ybody, in clu din g by n ow t h e exa m boa r ds, h a s a st r on g in t er est in n ot get tin g a n yt h in g ch a n ged. Look a t t h eir r ea ction ever y t im e t h e gover n men t h a s a n ew idea for a n ot h er voca tion a l qu a lifica t ion wh ich it sla ms in , t h ey go m a d beca u se it ’s in cr edibly expen sive, t h ey don ’t kn ow wh et h er it will st a y, t h er e a r en ’t a n y t ext books ou t t h er e a n d t h e a ssessm en t cost s u su a lly wa y ou t weigh wh a t t h ey’r e a llowed t o ch a r ge. H owever , t h e Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m set -u p is ver y cosy, it m a y n ot be ver y in t er est in g, it m a y be fr u st r a t in g, you m a y feel like you ’r e a m iddle m a n a ger a t best if n ot a t t h e ver y bot t om of t h e h ea p bu t you ca n m a k e a lot of m on ey ou t of it , if you ’r e a n exa m boa r d, a n d a bove ever yon e kn ows wh er e t h ey a r e. Th e m a jor loser s h a ve been t h e u n iver sit ies, t h e su bject a ssocia t ion s wh o a r e ju st m u ch less in eviden ce, a n d mu ch less im por t a n t t h a n t h ey u sed t o be. Th e exa m boa r ds h a ve lost t h eir in depen den ce a n d I t h in k t h ey’ve become m u ch less a ppea lin g pla ces t o wor k, t h ey’ve been pu sh ed t oget h er a n d I wou ld sa y t h e ot h er m a jor loser s h a ve been t h e sch ools a n d in deed t h e ch ildr en . Now t h a t ’s of cou r se n ot h ow it sou n ds wh en you look a t t h e gover n m en t websit e.

I ju st t h ou gh t I’d pu t u p on e qu ot e fr om QCA wh en t h ey a n n ou n ced t h e en d of t h eir n ew r eview, a n d I t h in k it ’s pa r t icu la r ly in t er est in g beca u se on e of t h e t h in gs I like a bou t it is t h a t t h er e a r e n o ‘ma ys’: ‘lea r n er s will exper ien ce a cu r r icu lu m , t h eir en ga gem en t wit h lea r n in g will in cr ea se, th ey will m a ke bet t er pr ogr ess a n d a ch ieve h igh er st a n da r ds’, ‘t h ey will en joy sch ool m or e’ a n d ‘t h eir pr ogr ess th r ou gh sch ool will be sm oot h er ’.

So, a s I sa id, t h a t ’s wh er e we a r e t oda y, we’ve got t h is ext r a or din a r y syst em set u p a n d I th in k t h er e a r e t wo oth er th in gs t h a t a r e wor t h u n der lin in g: t h e fir st is t h a t th er e a r e ot h er people wh o see t h is syst em a s som et h in g en t ir ely t o be desir ed, som et h in g in wh ich ever yt h in g is bea u t ifu lly in t er con n ected a n d t r a n spa r en t in wh ich pu pils ca n m ove sea m lessly fr om on e bit t o a n ot h er a n d in wh ich t h er e’s n o con fu sion a n d t h er efor e gr ea t er efficien cy. Th e ot h er t h in g a n d
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t h is is, if you like, t h e t h ir d leg of a st ool, is t h a t wh en you ’ve got th is syst em it wor k s ver y well a t on e level if you a r e a lso, a s ou r gover n m en t is, ver y, ver y det er m in ed t o h old t h e syst em h igh ly a ccou n t a ble a n d ver y deter m in ed to do t h a t t h r ou gh t a r get s; beca u se a ll of t h is is pr edicta ble, beca u se it is con t r olled, beca u se it is t ied in t o t est s a t ever y poin t , it is a lso a n idea l syst em for oper a t in g a t ype of a ccou n t a bilit y m ech a n ism wh ich in volves cou n t in g t est s a n d qu a lifica t ion s. So wh a t we’ve a lso h a d in t h e la st 20 yea r s is en dless a ctivit y on t h e a ccou n t a bilit y side of it ; we’ve h a d ver y lit t le a ction in th e cu r r icu lu m , a lm ost n on e; we’ve h a d a lot of a ctivit y in design in g qu a lifica t ion s a n d we’ve h a d a lot of a ctivit y u sin g t h ose qu a lifica tion s t o set t a r get s, m eet ta r get s a n d r egu la t e wh a t’s goin g on - a ll of t h is goin g on wh ile we’ve been n ot been t h in kin g a bou t cu r r icu lu m , ou r gover n m en t , h a ve been en dlessly in ven t ive set t in g t a r get s.

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In fa ct, t a r get s ca m e in cou r t esy of t h e CBI in th e ea r ly 90s a n d t h ey wer e m ost ly a bou t get t in g people qu a lified, a s t h ey still a r e, a n d t h ey wer e for mu la ted in t er m s of NVQ levels. NVQs wer e a big gover n m en t r efor m of t h e 80s a n d ea r ly 90s; a n d on e a spect of t h em wa s ver y in t er est in g: t h ey wer e set in a ver y clea r h ier a r ch y t ypica l of a cen t r a l gover n m en t in it ia t ive: ever yt h in g wa s set a t a level fr om on e on wa r ds a n d sin ce t h en we h a ve m oved pr ogr essively t o pu t t in g ever y qu a lifica t ion in t h e cou n t r y in on e of t h ese levels; if you wor k in gover n m en t you k n ow a ll a bou t t h em a n d if you wor k in fu r t h er edu ca t ion you cer ta in ly kn ow a ll a bou t t h em . My exper ien ce is t h a t a lm ost n obody else kn ows a n yt h in g a bou t t h em bu t t h ey a r e a ctu a lly t r em en dou sly impor t a n t in t er m s of wh a t people a r e a llowed t o t a ke, wh a t ’s pa id for a n d t h ey a r e cen t r a l to t h e wa y t h a t th e depa r t men t oper a tes beca u se t h ey a r e wh a t a r e t ied in t o P SAs. (‘P u blic Ser vice Agr eemen t s’ a r e wh a t you sign with t h e Tr ea su r y if you a r e a gover n m en t depa r t men t a n d woe bet ide you if you don ’t deliver .) Wh a t h a s h a ppen ed is t h a t over t h e yea r s t h e n u m ber of t a r gets h a s in cr ea sed t h e wa y t h a t t h in gs do. In 1991 we h a d r ela t ively str a igh tfor wa r d ta r get s, good or ba d, t h ey wer e qu it e st r a igh tfor wa r d a n d qu it e sim ple. Toda y we h a ve a n en or mou s n u m ber of t h em ; a bove a ll for sch ools we h a ve 12 t a r get s pa cked in to t wo P SAs, ea ch of wh ich h a s six in dica t or s, ea ch of t h ose in dica t or s h a s a t lea st on e t a r get set for 2011. On e r em a r k a ble t h in g a bou t t h ese t a r get s is th a t t h ey a r e for t h e m ost pa r t ‘con ten t-em pt y’ by wh ich I m ea n : it doesn ’t m a t t er wh a t you t a ke it on ly m a t t er s wh et h er you t a ke a cer t a in n u m ber a t a given level a n d t h is is ver y, ver y impor t a n t t o r ecogn ize a s it gives a n impor t a n t in sigh t in t o th e wa y we con cept u a lise ou r edu ca t ion syst em a t t h e mom en t a n d t h e wa y th e gover n m en t set s t a r get s. Un t il ver y r ecen t ly, for exa mple, E n glish a n d ma t h s wer e n ot cou n t ed in a n y of th e t a r get s on wh ich sch ools wer e m ea su r ed; it wa s ju st five GCSE s wit h A-C gr a de. In or der t o get E n glish a n d m a th s in t o t h e t a r get t h er e wa s t h e m ost a lm igh t y ba t t le wit h in Wh it eh a ll beca u se im m edia t ely t h ey wer e in clu ded lot s of people fell down t h e Ta ble. Bu t t h e m a in poin t t o st r ess is t h a t

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wh a t we h a ve got h er e is som et h in g wh ich is con ten t-fr ee; it’s a ll a bou t levels a n yt h in g a t t h a t level will do.

At t h is poin t I wa n t t o come ba ck t o diploma s a n d Tom lin son . Diplom a s a r e a pr odu ct of t h e Tom lin son Repor t a n d t h e poin t a bou t th em is t h a t t h ey a r e a bsolu t ely n ot in t h e lea st a bou t con t en t . If you look a t t h e Tom lin son Repor t it h a s a lm ost n ot h in g t o sa y a bou t wh a t people sh ou ld lea r n a n d ever yt h in g t o sa y a bou t h ow you pa cka ge lea r n in g in t er m s of cr edit s, lea r n in g h ou r s, pa t h wa ys a n d levels. Now you m igh t sa y, oka y, so it ’s u p t o you t o pu t t h e m ea n in g in bu t I a ctu a lly defy a n ybody to keep t h ese t h in gs st r a igh t in t h eir h ea d a s t h ey go t h r ou gh t h ese docu m en t s, pa ges a n d pa ges a n d pa ges of t h em a n d a t t h e en d ever yt h in g is in a comm on cu r r en cy; it’s n ow in gu ided lea r n in g h ou r s a n d t h en t h a t tr a n sla t es in t o cr edit s a n d t h e idea is th a t ever yth in g tr a n sla t es in t o ever yt h in g else a n d n ever m in d wh a t it is a s lon g a s it ’s pa r t of a st r u ctu r e. Th er e is n ot h in g a bou t con ten t a t a ll.

Also, t h ey a r e n ot coh er en t ; somebody doin g a con st r u ction diplom a cou ld be doin g a n yt h in g fr om a Cer t ifica t e in h ea tin g a n d ven t ila t ion s in sta lla t ion t o a n A-Level in E n vir on men t a l St u dies. Bot h of t h ose cou ld go in t o a diplom a in a n equ a lly va lid fa sh ion , t h e t wo people wh o did t h a t wou ld h a ve t h e sa me qu a lifica t ion , wou ld h a ve t h e sa m e n u m ber of cr edit s, t h e sa m e n u m ber of gu ided lea r n in g h ou r s. I’m n ot sa yin g t h a t on e is good a n d on e is ba d, I’m sa yin g t h a t t o sa y t h a t t h ose a r e t h e sa m e t h in g is a ctu a lly t o sa y t h a t we h a ven ’t t h ou gh t a bou t wh a t t h a t sh ou ld be. It ’s a pa cka ge in to wh ich you ca n pu t a n yt h in g a s lon g a s it ca r r ies t h e a ppr opr ia te cu r r en cy. It seems t o m e t h a t som ebody wh o is lea r n in g t o do h ea tin g a n d ven t ila t ion in st a lla t ion is n ot doin g t h e sa m e sor t of th in g a s som ebody wh o is doin g a n A-Level in E n vir on m en ta l St u dies, wh ich is en t ir ely t ext ba sed. It is fu ll of per son a l lea r n in g a n d t h in kin g skills wh ich h a ve t o be r ecor ded - ver y r em in iscen t of GNVQ wh er e t h er e wer e en dless, en dless list s of

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t h in gs t h a t h a d t o be r ecor ded a n d t icked a n d su pposedly a ssessed by t h e t ea ch er in or der t o fill in t h e cr edit fr a m ewor k in or der t o get t h e cr edit .

Th e poin t is t h a t th ese diplom a s for good or ba d a r e t h e sor t of qu a lifica t ion t h a t comes ou t of a n a ppr oa ch wh ich doesn ’t th in k a bou t cu r r icu lu m , in st ea d it th in k s a bou t pa cka gin g, it t h in ks a bou t levels, it th in ks a bou t cr edit s, a n d it believes t h a t a ll of t h ese t h in gs ca n be ma de in t o, if you like, a cu r r icu lu m Ch a r les de Ga u lle. As a n a side, I r ea lly fin d it im possible t o believe t h a t t h ese diplom a s ca n wor k : wh en GNVQs wer e in t r odu ced, we did som e wor k lookin g a t h ow m u ch t im e t ea ch er s h a d t o spen d a ssessin g a n d t h e over a ll a ssessm en t bu r den is a bsolu t ely cr im in a l, it is ju st u n wor ka ble.

F in a lly we’ve got t h e Na tion a l Cu r r icu lu m wh ich we don ’t da r e t ou ch , we’ve got t h e less a ca dem ic kids wh om we m a ke t h e su bject of en dless exper im en t a t ion t h ey get t h eir GNVQs sla m m ed in , t h ey get t h em ta ken ou t , t h ey get t h eir diplom a s sla m m ed in , th ey’ll pr oba bly get diploma s sla m m ed ou t a ga in . An d t h e ot h er t h in g we’ve been doin g in t h e m ea n tim e a n d t h is I t h in k is th e fin a l depr essin g n ot e on wh ich I wa n t t o en d, is we h a ve been bu syin g ou r selves n ot ju st cr ea t in g t a r get s, n ot ju st r eor ga n isin g th e wa y we do ou r exa m in in g, n ot ju st a voidin g t h in kin g a bou t cu r r icu lu m , bu t cr ea t in g a n ever ch a n gin g ever m or e complex su per st r u ctu r e of or ga n isa t ion s. Th e slides t h a t I’m goin g t o en d wit h a r e ju st con cer n ed wit h t h e 16-19 pa r t of edu ca t ion beca u se it h a ppen s to be t h e on e I k n ow best .

2006: t h is cover s most of t h e gover n m en ta l a n d qu a si gover n m en t a l a gen cies wh ich in 2006 h a d a dir ect st a ke in t h e fu n din g a n d con t en t of post -com pu lsor y t r a in in g a n d edu ca tion . Th e t wo t h a t a r e cr ossed ou t wer e du ly, in 2006, a bolish ed. By Ma r ch 2007 t h e t wo t h a t h a d been crossed ou t h a d been r epla ced by t h e fou r pu r ple on es so 2006 t h ese t wo wer e a bolish ed a t t h e en d of t h e yea r , Ma r ch 2007 t h ey h a d been r epla ced by t h e fou r pu r ple blocks. A yea r la ter t h e
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fou r pu r ple blocks wer e st ill t h er e, t h ese h a d been a bolish ed a n d t h ese h a d been cr ea t ed a n d 2008, wh ich is wh er e I fin ish ed la st t ime I did t h is, we h a d lost som e m or e a n d we’d ga in ed a n ot h er colou r a n d fin a lly in t h e la st t h r ee mon t h s we’ve got to t h er e. Now a t on e level t h is is fu n n y bu t a ctu a lly it isn ’t t h a t fu n n y beca u se a ll of th ese people h a ve du t ies a n d r espon sibilit ies, m a n y of t h ese bodies ca n on ly be a bolish ed t h r ou gh pr im a r y legisla tion a n d t h a t sou n ds like a t ech n ica l poin t bu t it ’s n ot beca u se it m ea n s it ’s r ea lly h a r d t o ch a n ge t h ese t h in gs. Ba sica lly wh a t we h a ve t h er efor e got is a m on olit h ic Na t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m t h a t we da r en ’t t ou ch , t est s wh ich a r e sym biot ica lly lin ked t o it wh ich a lso m a ke it ver y h a r d t o m ove, a fa ilu r e t o t h in k a bou t cu r r icu lu m a n d a n en or m ou s a n d expen sive su per st r u ctu r e of or ga n isa t ion s wh ich h a ve a dir ect sa y a n d a dir ect st a ke in t h e wh ole edifice. It wou ld be ver y h a r d t o sor t ou t a n d possibly t h e on ly t h in g t h a t will r ea lly con vin ce u s t o do so is if we go so br oke t h a t in pover t y we h a ve a bon fir e a n d wa r m ou r selves on t h e fla m es of Qu a n gos. Bu t it is im por ta n t t o t a ckle a n d, t o fin ish , I t h in k t h a t ou r cu r r en t st r u ctu r es in vit e m a n y descr ipt ion s bu t u n for t u n a t ely ‘fit for pu r pose’ is n ot a m on g t h em . Th a n k you ver y mu ch .

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QU ESTION S

P aul B rett: P er h a p s I s h ou ld s t a r t Alis on a n d p u t you on t h e s p ot s t r a igh t a w a y. T h er e’s a s p y fr om t h e s ecr et a r y of s t a t e h er e t h is even in g, h e ca lls you u p t om or r ow a n d s a ys ‘I’ve h ea r d w h a t you ’ve s a id Alis on , give m e t h e m a in p oin t s t h a t I s h ou ld p u t in t o p la ce t o ch a n ge t h is m es s w e’r e in ’. Wh a t w ou ld be t h e t op fou r or five poin t s t h a t you w ou ld give t o t h em ?

Alis on Wolf: T h e fir s t t h in g I w ou ld d o is a bolis h t h e Q CA, a ct u a lly. I’d a bolis h a n y in s t it u t ion w h ich h a s s t a t u t or y p ow er s over cu r r icu lu m a n d qu a lifica t ion s . I t h in k t h a t ’s t h e fir s t t h in g beca u s e t h e m in u t e you h a ve t h a t ver y p ow er fu l a gen cy it w ill cr ea t e a ll of t h is a n d it w ill be ext r em ely d ifficu lt t o ever d is en t a n gle it . T h e s econ d t h in g I w ou ld d o is I w ou ld in a s en s e go ba ck t o t h e id ea of a r ea lly m in im a lis t N a t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m a n d I w ou ld s t a r t fr om s cr a t ch , I w ou ld n ’t s t a r t w it h t h e on e we’ve got , I w ou ld s a y you ca n con t in u e t o d o a ll t h e s u bject s t h a t a r e in it a n d you ca n con t in u e t o d o exa m s ba s ed on t h os e s ylla bu s es u n t il t h ey gr a d u a lly s t op bu t n on e of t h a t is com p u ls or y. I’m goin g t o r ecr ea t e a s m a ll, s lim -lin ed N a t ion a l C u r r icu lu m w h ich is n ot t ied t o G C S E s in a n y w a y or t o a n yt h in g els e … I w ou ld k eep t es t s a t eleven in t er es t in gly, bu t on e t h a t is r ea lly m in im a l. I t h in k t h a t if you d o t h a t , a n d I t h in k t h e in d ep en d en t s ect or s h ow s u s t h is , you w on ’t s u d d en ly fin d ed u ca t ion fa llin g a p a r t com p let ely, I t h in k p a r t icu la r ly if you k eep eleven yea r old t es t s , if you con t in u e t o h a ve, a s we w ill h a ve, p u blic exa m in a t ion s a n d if you con t in u e t o give p a r en t s s om e a bilit y t o lea ve s ch ools t h a t a r en ’t op er a t in g I t h in k you wou ld en d u p w it h a cu r r icu lu m w h ich w a s n ot h u gely d iffer en t , I m ea n I d on ’t t h in k t h a t p eop le w ou ld im m ed ia t ely ju s t a ba n d on lea r n in g h is t or y a n d geogr a p h y a n d s cien ce, bu t you w ou ld a ct u a lly fr ee t h e t h in g u p . S o I t h in k I w ou ld d o t h os e t w o t h in gs a n d I d on ’t t h in k a n y s ecr et a r y of s t a t e w ill.

Audience Mem ber: C a n you h a ve a t r u ly vibr a n t s er ies of cu r r icu la w it h ou t t h e con s u m er n ot bein g t h e m in is t er , s ecr et a r y of s t a t e, bu t bein g p a r en t s ?

Alis on Wolf: : I t h in k t h a t t h er e a lw a ys h a s t o be a ba la n ce. I d on ’t t h in k t h a t you ca n d o w it h ou t t h e s ecr et a r y of s t a t e a t a ll beca u s e I t h in k it is oft en qu it e h a r d for p a r en t s t o k n ow t h a t t h in gs a r e ver y w r on g if t h ey d on ’t get s om e for m of com p a r a t ive in for m a t ion . S o I d o

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a ct u a lly t h in k t h a t t h e s ecr et a r y of s t a t e h a s a r ole in s et t in g s om e for m of qu a lit y t es t for s ch ools w h o a r e r eceivin g p u blic m on ey. S o I d o t h in k t h er e is a r ole for a m in is t er of ed u ca t ion , I ju s t t h in k t h a t it ’s a n in fin it ely s m a ller on e t h a n t h er e is a t t h e m om en t . T h e in t er es t in g t h in g a bou t p a r en t s is a lt h ou gh a few of t h em w a n t s om et h in g ver y d iffer en t a n d if t h ey d o t h a t ’s fa ir en ou gh , bu t a lot of w h a t p eop le w a n t is n ot t h a t d iffer en t w h ich I s u p p os e is p r ed ict a ble given t h a t p eop le h a ve t o go ou t in t o a s ociet y in w h ich t h ey’ll be ju d ged on cer t a in t h in gs . S o I d o t h in k t h a t t h er e w a s a r ole for a N a t ion a l C u r r icu lu m a n d I d o t h in k t h a t t h e t h in gs t h a t w en t w r on g in t h e 1970s d id h a ve for ce, it w a s n ’t a ll ju s t a t er r ible m is t a k e t o d o a n yt h in g, bu t I d o t h in k you a ls o h a ve t o h a ve t h e p a r en t p ow er , t h e p a r en t ch oice in t h er e a s w ell.

Audience Mem ber: I fou n d it ver y in t er es t in g, I’d ju s t lik e t o com e ba ck w it h a bit of a ch a llen ge on on e of t h e t h in gs you w er e s a yin g a t t h e begin n in g w h ich wa s t h er e h a d n ’t r ea lly been a n y r ea l d is cu s s ion s in ce t h e N a t ion a l C u r r icu lu m h a d com e in a bou t w h a t ed u ca t ion w a s a bou t w h a t w e s h ou ld be d oin g in s ch ools , s h ou ld t h ey exis t a n d s o on . I’ve cer t a in ly been follow in g t h e s t or y over t h e la s t five yea r s or m or e of t h e R oya l S ociet y’s Op en in g of M in d s p r oject w h ich h a s been d oin g exa ct ly t h a t , it ’s been qu es t ion in g w h a t a r e s ch ools for w h a t s h ou ld w e be t ea ch in g in t er m s of s k ills a n d com p et en ces a n d fr om wh a t I ca n s ee I t h in k t h a t t h e exa m p les of t h e s ch ools t h a t w er e p er h a p s t h e m a ver ick s ch ools of 2000 u p t o n ow w h er e t h ey d a r ed t o t h r ow ou t t h e N a t ion a l C u r r icu lu m or a s p ect s of it in or d er t o p u r s u e m or e of a com p et en cy ba s ed cu r r icu lu m n ow s eem s t o be t h e good p r a ct is e t h a t is bein g em bod ied in t h e la t es t ver s ion of t h e N a t ion a l C u r r icu lu m , s o t h e fa ct t h a t you d id n ’t m a k e a n y r efer en ce t o w h a t ’s been goin g on m ea n w h ile I t h in k w ou ld be u s efu l for you t o p er h a p s com m en t on t h a t .

Alis on Wolf: : Yes , you ’r e qu it e r igh t , w h en I s a y t h er e’s been n o d eba t e I m ea n of cou r s e s om e gr ou p s h a ve, t h er e w a s t h e H a m lyn com m is s ion on ed u ca t ion a s w ell. Yes I a gr ee t h e R S A a p p r oa ch h a s s om e r ea l con t in u it ies w it h a lot of t h e d is cu s s ion t h a t w en t on in t h e 70s befor e t h e N a t ion a l C u r r icu lu m t h a t w e got ca m e in . I wou ld h a ve t o s a y t h a t a s fa r a s t h e im p a ct of a n in d ep en d en t gr ou p lik e t h e R S A on t h e n a t ion a l p olicy m a k in g is con cer n ed I t h in k it ’s been ver y s ligh t . O f cou r s e in a cou n t r y fu ll of p eop le wh o a r e w or r ied , p eop le w h o a r e t h ou gh t fu l, p eop le w h o a r e con cer n ed , yes , t h er e is s t u ff goin g on bu t I t h in k I w ou ld a ls o, s in ce I’m in a

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d ep r es s in g a n d p es s im is t ic vein t h is even in g, h a ve t o t a k e is s u e w it h you a lit t le bit a bou t ‘it ’s been bes t p r a ct is e goin g for w a r d in t h e w a y t h e cu r r icu lu m is goin g for w a r d ’. Yes , if you a r e a ver y d et er m in ed s ch ool a n d h a ve a s t a ff t h a t is ver y d ed ica t ed t o d oin g t h in gs a bit d iffer en t ly a n d s t ill a r r ivin g a t t h e en d p oin t bu t I w a s h a vin g a con ver s a t ion on ly yes t er d a y w it h s om ebod y w h o is a ls o ver y in volved w it h a n u m ber of a ca d em ies a n d s ch ools t h a t h a ve a ct u a lly been d oin g ver y w ell, a n d s h e w a s s a yin g t h a t on e of t h e t h in gs s h e fin d s a lm os t im p os s ible t o p er s u a d e t ea ch er s t o d o is t o r is k -t a k e w it h t h e cu r r icu lu m . T h ey ju s t w on ’t d o it , t h ey a r e ju s t t oo s ca r ed of t h e con s equ en ces t o d o a n yt h in g a ccep t op t for t h e s a fe, t ow-t h e-lin e op t ion a n d t h a t , I s u p p os e com in g ba ck t o t h e fir s t qu es t ion of wh a t els e w ou ld I d o, well I’d h a ve a bon fir e of t a r get s a n d I w ou ld n ’t h a ve P S As a n y m or e.

Audience Mem ber: I w a s s or t of p u r s u in g t h a t s a m e p oin t is n ’t t h er e a m a s s ive N u ffield r eview of t h e 14-19 cu r r icu lu m goin g on ?

Alis on Wolf: : Well t h er e’s a m a s s ive 14-19 r eview a n d it s a ys a lot of ver y in t er es t in g t h in gs bu t a ga in it s or t of r eflect s w h a t is ou t t h er e in t er m s of d is cu s s ion a n d r es ea r ch a n d p r econ cep t ion s a n d it h a s a lot of t h in gs t o s a y a bou t t h e n eed for m or e a t t r a ct ive t h in gs ; bu t , w h en you com p a r e w h a t t h a t 14-19 r eview is lik e in t er m s of lot s of s t u ff a bou t t h e r ela t ive life ch a n ces of p eop le, t h e fa ct t h a t ch ild r en fr om t h es e h om es d o w or s e, a n d you com p a r e it for exa m p le w it h t h e N u ffield t h a t I r em em ber wh ich ba s ica lly r et h ou gh t s cien ce, it s eem s t o m e t h a t it ’s a ch ild of it s a ge. S o I r ea lly d on ’t w a n t t o im p ly t h a t n obod y is wor r yin g a bou t ed u ca t ion ; p eop le a r e wor r yin g a bou t ed u ca t ion con s t a n t ly. B u t it s eem s t o m e t h a t w h a t w e h a ve t er r ibly few id ea s a bou t is w h a t a n ed u ca t ed p er s on s h ou ld be, n ot a bou t w h er e t h e p r oblem s a r e in t h e s en s e of s om e gr ou p s a r e u n d er a ch ievin g bu t s om eh ow a la ck of a clim a t e in w h ich id ea s lik e t h a t ca n d evelop .

Au d ien ce M em ber : Is it n ot t h a t t h er e s eem s t o be a t er r ific block bet w een r es ea r ch a n d t h ou gh t a bou t ed u ca t ion a n d p olit ica l d ecis ion m a k in g, s o t h a t r ep or t s com e u p w it h in t er es t in g id ea s a n d s u gges t ion s , a n d it wa s t h e p r im a r y r ep or t a n d t h e gover n m en t ju s t s a ys , w e d on ’t a ccep t that.

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Alis on Wolf: : Well, I t h in k t h a t ’s cer t a in ly t r u e a n d t h a t goes ba ck t o m y p oin t t h a t we h a ve cen t r a lis ed p ower t o a n en or m ou s d egr ee. B u t I t h in k it a ls o goes ba ck t o t h e ot h er p oin t I w a s m a k in g w h ich is t h a t t h e u n iver s it ies h a ve becom e com p let ely cu t off fr om t h e cu r r icu lu m , a n d a ga in I d on ’t w a n t t o im p ly t h a t t h e u n iver s it ies a r e w on d er fu l bu t t h e u n iver s it ies a r e wh er e k n ow led ge is ch a n gin g a n d a lt h ou gh t h ey ca n qu it e oft en be w r on g-h ea d ed bu t w h er ea s in t h e p a s t t h e s u bject a s s ocia t ion s h a d a r ea l lin k in t o t h e p r oces s a n d t h e u n iver s it ies d efin it ely h a d a r ea l lin k in t o t h e p r oces s , t h ey w er e w h a t cr ea t ed t h e exa m boa r d s . Wh a t w e h a ve n ow is t h is m on olit h ic s t r u ct u r e a n d of cou r s e it h a s a feed ba ck t h in g beca u s e wh y s p en d a lot of t im e w or k in g on s om et h in g if it ’s n ot goin g t o h a p p en , s om e gr ou p s w ill, a n d I t h in k t h e R S A is t h e obviou s on e a n d h a s con t in u ed t o p u s h t h is a s h a r d a s it ca n bu t a ga in …. I m ea n , I wa n d er ed u p a n d d ow n in ou r libr a r y ju s t look in g for in t er es t in g s t u ff t h a t h a d been d on e on t h e cu r r icu lu m , beca u s e I t h ou gh t w h en I s t a r t ed w r it in g t h is I t h ou gh t , m a ybe I’m ju s t bein g obs es s ed w it h qu a lifica t ion s t r u ct u r es a n d t h e r es t of it , it ’s p r oba bly ju s t m e a n d I’ve m is s ed it a ll, a n d a ct u a lly, n o.

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