“Agenda for Change”

What lessons can be learned by an incoming Government of the attempts of previous Governments to transform schools?

A ser ies of Lect u r es a ddr essin g fu n da m en t a l qu est ion s a bou t edu ca t ion

P u blish ed by

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

Ag e n d a for C h a n g e © T h e L e a r n in g S k ills F ou n d a t ion ® 2 0 1 0

Agenda for Change
A SERIES OF LECTU RES ADDRESSIN G FU N DAMEN TAL QU ESTIONS ABOU T EDU CATION

Ag e n d a for C h a n g e © T h e L e a r n in g S k ills F ou n d a t ion ® 2 0 1 0

P u blish ed by Th e Lea r n in g Skills Fou n da t ion 2010 in a ssocia t ion wit h Th e In depen den t Newspa per

©Lea r n in g Skills Fou n da t ion ®, 2010 8 Swift St r eet, Lon don SW6 5AG www.lea r n in gskillsfou n da t ion .com

Ag e n d a for C h a n g e © T h e L e a r n in g S k ills F ou n d a t ion ® 2 0 1 0

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION Paul Brett. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P a ge 1

LECTURE 1 Professor James Tooley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P a ge 4 “S h ou ld a n ew G over n m en t be con s id er in g r a d ica l a lt er n a t ives t o a ch ieve a t r a n s for m a t ion ?”.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P a ge 6

LECTURE 2 Amanda Spielman.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P a ge 32 “H a s t h e in cr ea s ed volu m e of legis la t ion a n d in cr ea s ed G over n m en t in volvem en t t r a n s for m ed ed u ca t ion in t h e U K ?”. . . . . . . . . . . . . P a ge 33

LECTURE 3 Professor Richard Pring. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P a ge 48 “R et h in k t h e a im of ed u ca t ion : t h e n eed for a br oa d er vis ion of lea r n in g” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P a ge 50

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Agenda for Change
INTRODUCTION

Aft er a h a r d fou gh t bu t in con clu sive Gen er a l E lection it is a n im por t a n t t im e for t h e Coa lition Gover n m en t t o look a t wh a t lesson s ca n be lea r n ed fr om it s pr edecessor s a n d t h e m ist a kes th a t t h ey h a ve ma de. Th is book is ba sed on a ser ies of lectu r es or ga n ised by t h e Lea r n in g Skills F ou n da t ion , pr ior to t h e election , a imed a t h igh ligh t in g wh er e we a r e n ow a n d wh er e we sh ou ld be a spir in g t o be. Th e Fou n da t ion a t t r a cted lea din g a ca dem ics a n d key in flu en cer s in t h e edu ca t ion a l wor ld t o t h ese lectu r es a n d t h e su bst a n ce of t h e pr esen t a t ion s is con t a in ed wit h in t h ese pa ges.

Sin ce t h e t h en P r im e Min ist er , J a m es Ca lla gh a n , deliver ed wh a t is n ow kn own a s t h e "Ru skin Speech " in 1976, su ccessive Gover n m en t s bot h Con ser va t ive a n d La bou r h a ve sou gh t to r efor m edu ca t ion by legisla t ion . If I a m bein g ch a r it a ble I wou ld sa y t h a t t h is is wit h mixed su ccess. If I wer e bein g less ch a r it a ble I wou ld pr oba bly sa y t h a t in cr ea sin g Gover n m en t in t er fer en ce h a s pr oba bly h a m per ed t h e developm en t of ma n y sch ools. Th is is beca u se sin ce th e 1980's, polit icia n s h a ve been obsessed wit h polit ica l issu es su ch a s selection , wh o con t r ols edu ca tion , n a r r owly defin ed st a n da r ds a n d t h e m yt h of ch oice for pa r en t s. H owever , t h e ch a n ges h a ve n ot been complet ely fr u itless: m a n y sch ools a r e in m u ch bet t er bu ildin gs t h a n t h ey wer e befor e t h ese r efor m s a n d, in fa ct, a r e bet t er fu n ded. So wh y is t h er e st ill widespr ea d dissa tisfa ction wit h wh a t is bein g a ch ieved? Amon gst t h e OE CD cou n t r ies we spen d t h e h igh est pr opor tion of Gr oss Na t ion a l P r odu ct on edu ca t ion bu t lin ger n ea r t h e bot t om en d of t h eir lea gu e ta bles. In st u dies of ch ildh ood h a ppin ess we come n ea r t h e bot t om of t h e West er n wor ld cou n t r ies. So wh y h a s a ll t h is polit ica l a t t en t ion a n d fu n din g n ot t r a n sfor m ed ou r edu ca t ion syst em ?
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Th er e a r e a n u m ber of possible a n swer s wh ich t h e Lea r n in g Skills F ou n da t ion h a s explor ed in pa st lectu r e ser ies a n d will look a ga in a t in t h e fu tu r e, in clu din g:

A la ck of con sen su s between t h e Gover n m en t , In du st r y, pa r en ts a n d sch ools over wh y we a r e edu ca t in g you n g people

A la ck of con sen su s a bou t h ow we sh ou ld edu ca t e you n g people

Sch ools feelin g dis-em power ed by top down over ly pr escr ipt ive n ew in it ia t ives fr om cen t r a l Gover n m en t a n d it s plet h or a of qu a n gos

A belief by cen tr a l Gover n m en t t h a t t h er e is on e best wa y for a ll sch ools a n d ch ildr en a s dem on st r a t ed by th e n a t ion a l Cu r r icu lu m , SATs etc

Cen tr a l Gover n m en t dist r a ctin g sch ools fr om t h eir r ea l pu r pose by over loa din g t h em wit h bu r ea u cr a cy a n d t est in g

I a m su r e t h a t ot h er s cou ld a dd t o t h is list bu t t h e comm on th eme is th a t t h e Gover n men t n eeds t o st ep ba ck a n d em power sch ools t o edu ca t e t h e you n g people in t h eir a r ea s r a t h er t h a n feelin g t h a t it h a s a du t y t o impose it s idea s on sch ools.

Un t il we h a ve sch ools a n d a n edu ca t ion syst em wh ich gives a ll ch ildr en a n d pa r en ts, ir r espective of t h eir post -codes, a n equ a l oppor tu n it y to fu lfil t h eir pot en t ia l a n d a spir a tion s, t h ose of u s wor kin g in edu ca t ion will h a ve n ot been su ccessfu l. Rea list ica lly, th is ca n on ly be r ea lised if sch ools a r e viewed a s pa r t of a wider t r a n sfor m a t ion a l a gen da wh ich in clu des pu blic policy issu es su ch a s h ou sin g, n eigh bou r h ood m a n a gem en t , socia l ca r e, fa m ily a n d pa r en t in g su ppor t, em ploymen t , h ea lth , cr ime pr even t ion etc. et c. Cu lt u r a lly, if a Gover n m en t ca n m ove fr om seein g sch ools a s t h e pr oblem a n d in stea d see t h em a s pa r t of t h e
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a n swer by set t in g t h em fr ee t o edu ca t e a ll ch ildr en a s in dividu a ls, t h er e is n o r ea son t h a t edu ca tion cou ld n ot be t h e cor n er st on e of t h is socia l t r a n sfor m a tion .

Su ccessive Gover n m en ts h a ve in vest ed h ea vily in sch ools bu t in th is in vestmen t h a ve oft en t ied t h e h a n ds of sch ools in t er m s of developin g a n edu ca t ion syst em wh ich r espon ds t o loca l a n d in dividu a l n eeds a n d is ba sed on t r u stin g t h e pr ofession a l ju dgem en t of H ea ds a n d t ea ch er s.

Th e ch a llen ges for t h e n ew Gover n m en t fisca lly a n d socia lly a r e im m en se. Th ey n eed t o t a ke t h is oppor t u n it y t o t r a n sfer m or e r espon sibilit y t o sch ools, th er eby r edu cin g cen t r a l bu r ea u cr a cy a n d be a bsolu t ely clea r in wh a t t h ey wa n t sch ools t o a ch ieve in t h e wider con t ext of societ a l ch a n ge. I t h in k th a t we wou ld a ll be disa ppoin t ed if t h er e wa s a pa u cit y of vision in t h a t a ll t h e Gover n m en t wa n t s fr om sch ools is a t r a n sfer of da t ed kn owledge a n d bett er exa m in a t ion r esu lts. Sch ools a n d t h eir t ea ch er s h a ve t h e pot en t ia l t o t r a n sfor m th e lives of in dividu a ls a n d t h eir comm u n it ies if t h ey a r e em power ed t o do so a n d a r e n ot t ied down by r ed t a pe.

Th is book is n ot in t en din g to give a ll of t h e a n swer s bu t by r ea din g it I h ope t h a t it wou ld br oa den a n d en h a n ce th e per spective of t h e Gover n m en t a n d t h eir a dviser 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 for su ppor t in g th is pu blica t ion .

P a u l Br et t J u n e 2010

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Professor James Tooley

J a m es Tooley is P r ofessor of E du ca t ion Policy a t Newca st le Un iver sity wh er e h e dir ects t h e E .G. West Cen tr e. F or h is gr ou n d-br ea kin g r esea r ch on pr iva t e edu ca tion for t h e poor in In dia , Ch in a a n d Afr ica , P r ofessor Tooley wa s a wa r ded gold pr ize in t h e fir st In t er n a t ion a l F in a n ce Cor por a t ion /F in a n cia l Tim es Pr iva t e Sector Developmen t Com pet ition in Septem ber 2006.

F r om 2007 t o 2009, h e wa s fou n din g P r esiden t of Th e E du ca t ion F u n d, Or ien t Globa l, livin g in H yder a ba d, In dia . H e is cu r r en t ly ch a ir m a n of edu ca t ion compa n ies in Gh a n a a n d Ch in a cr ea t in g embr yon ic ch a in s of low cost pr iva te sch ools.

Tooley h olds a Ph D fr om t h e In st it u t e of E du ca t ion , Un iver sit y of Lon don , a n MSc fr om t h e Scien ce P olicy Resea r ch Un it , Un iver sit y of Su ssex a n d fir st cla ss BSc h on ou r s in Logic a n d Ma t h em a t ics, a lso fr om t h e Un iver sit y of Su ssex.

H e bega n h is ca r eer a s a m a t h em a tics t ea ch er in Zim ba bwe (1993 t o 1996), befor e m ovin g t o t h e Na t ion a l F ou n da t ion for E du ca t ion a l Resea r ch in E n gla n d in 1998. H e h eld sh or t -t er m a ppoin t m en ts a t Sim on F r a ser Un iver sit y, Ca n a da a n d t h e Un iver sit y of t h e West er n Ca pe, Sou t h Afr ica , wh ile complet in g h is P h D. H is fir st post-doctor a l posit ion wa s wit h t h e Un iver sit y of Oxfor d's Dept of E du ca tion a l St u dies, u n der P r ofessor Rich a r d Pr in g. Fr om Oxfor d h e m oved t o t h e Un iver sit y of Ma n ch est er in 1995; a t t h e sa m e t ime h e a lso cr ea t ed t h e E du ca tion a n d Tr a in in g Un it a t t h e In st it u t e of E con om ic Affa ir s in Lon don . H e t ook u p h is cu r r en t ch a ir a t Newca st le Un iver sit y in J u ly 1998.

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H e is a m ember of t h e a ca dem ic a dvisor y cou n cils for sever a l t h in k-t a n ks, in clu din g Refor m , Civit a s, In st it u te of E con om ic Affa ir s, Ta xpa yer s' Allia n ce a n d Globa lisa t ion In st it u t e. H e is a n Adju n ct Sch ola r a t t h e Ca t o In stit u t e a n d a t h ou gh t -lea der for Sch oolven t u r es.

Tooley is best kn own for h is wor k on low cost pr iva t e edu ca t ion . H e bega n t h is wor k in 2000, h a vin g discover ed for h im self t h e exist en ce of low cost pr iva t e sch ools in t h e slu m s of H yder a ba d wh ile doin g con su lt a n cy for t h e In t er n a t ion a l F in a n ce Cor por a t ion . A m a jor r esea r ch pr ogr a m m e wa s su bsequ en t ly u n der t a k en between 2003 a n d 2005, fu n ded by t h e J oh n Tem plet on Fou n da t ion , explor in g t h e n a t u r e a n d exist en ce of pr iva t e sch ools for t h e poor in In dia , Gh a n a , Niger ia , Ken ya a n d Ch in a , a n d com pa r in g pu blic a n d pr iva t e pr ovision for t h e poor . Th is r esea r ch is r epor t ed in a r a n ge of books a n d pu blica t ion s, in clu din g Th e Bea u t ifu l Tr ee: A per son a l jou r n ey in t o h ow t h e wor ld's poor est people a r e edu ca t in g t h em selves (P en gu in , New Delh i, a n d Ca to In st it u t e, 2009). H is wor k h a s a lso been pr ofiled in docu men t a r ies for t h e BBC a n d P BS: for t h e la t t er it wa s fea tu r ed a lon gside t h e wor k of Nobel La u r ea t e Moh a mm ed Yu n u s a n d H er n a n do de Sot o.

Th e ba sic fin din gs of t h e r esea r ch sh ow th a t in u r ba n a n d per i-u r ba n poor a r ea s (slu m s a n d sh a n t y t own s) in In dia a n d t h e Afr ica n cou n t r ies stu died, t h e m a jor it y of sch oolch ildr en a r e in low cost pr iva t e sch ools. Aft er t estin g 24,000 ch ildr en , it wa s fou n d t h a t ch ildr en in t h e low cost pr iva t e sch ools sign ifica n t ly ou t per for m ch ildr en in pu blic sch ools, a ft er con t r ollin g for ba ckgr ou n d va r ia bles a n d t h e sch ool ch oice pr ocess.

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Should a new Government be considering radical alternatives to achieve a transformation?

Wedn esda y 10 t h Ma r ch 2010

Professor James Tooley

In a n ea r lier lectu r e t o t h e Lea r n in g Skills F ou n da t ion , Pr ofessor Da vid H a r gr ea ves per su a sively a r gu ed h ow we n eed t o m ove fr om t h e ‘m a ss-pr odu ction syst em ' of t h e fa ctor y m odel in wh ich ou r sch ools a r e set , t owa r ds ‘m a ss cu st om isa t ion ', t h a t is, ‘bespoke ser vices for ever y in dividu a l lea r n er '. H e wa s t a lk in g a bou t h ow in n ova t ion wa s la ckin g in ou r sch oolin g syst em .

P r ofessor Da vid H opkin s a r gu ed, a lso per su a sively in a n ot h er of t h e lectu r es, a bou t t oo m a n y ch ildr en la n gu ish in g in sch ools wh er e edu ca t ion a l st a n da r ds a r e low, dr a m a t ica lly h in der in g t h eir edu ca t ion a l a n d life pr ospects a s a r esu lt . On e of t h e wa ys t o im pr ove qu a lit y wa s t h r ou gh im pr oved a ccou n ta bilit y.

Both a r e r igh t . To a ch ieve edu ca t ion a l tr a n sfor m a t ion , we n eed bot h in n ova t ion a n d a ccou n t a bilit y. Bot h a r e im por t a n t , a n d la ckin g in ou r sch oolin g syst em.

Th is even in g, I'll look a t bot h con cept s, explicit ly a n d im plicit ly: I begin by ou t lin in g fin din gs of t wo set s of r ecen t r esea r ch I've been con du ctin g ‘Wh a t pa r en ts wa n t'. I'll t h en pu t t h is in t o t h e con t ext of P r ofessor s H a r gr ea ves a n d H opk in s' pa per s, ‘Wh a t t h e pr ofessor s wa n t'. I'll su ggest t h a t bot h pa r en t s a n d pr ofessor s wa n t less gover n m en t , so I'll be in a posit ion to con clu de wit h a n swer s t o t h e qu est ion posed in t h e t it le t o t h is pa per .

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What parents want

Th e fir st piece of r esea r ch wa s su r vey ca r r ied ou t in J u ly la st yea r (2009) on m y beh a lf by You Gov plc. Th is h igh ligh t ed a pen t -u p fr u st r a t ion fr om Br it ish people wit h st a t e edu ca t ion .

F ir st, a la r ge m a jor it y of pa r en t s (56%) sa y t h a t th ey wa n t edu ca tion t o be "m or e self-m a n a gin g a n d in depen den t wit h less con t r ol fr om t h e gover n m en t " wit h on ly 18% disa gr eein g with t h is. Secon d, a la r ge m a jor it y of pa r en t s (78%) sa y t h a t it doesn 't m a t t er wh o r u n s sch ools, wh et h er t h is is ch a r it ies, pr iva t e compa n ies or gover n m en t , "pr ovided t h a t ever yon e, in clu din g t h e lea st well off, h a s a ccess t o a qu a lit y edu ca tion ". On ly a t in y m in or it y (10%) disa gr ee wit h t h is.

P a r en t s seem r elieved of t h e dogm a t h a t seem s t o a ccompa n y polit icia n s a bou t t h is m a t t er . In deed, a h u ge ma jor it y (78%) wa n t polit icia n s r em oved fr om "da y-t o-da y r u n n in g of sch ools". Rem ovin g polit icia n s im plies a desir e for a m u ch
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m or e der egu la t ed, in depen den t syst em of edu ca t ion , fr ee fr om politica l in t er fer en ce.

P a r t ly, of cou r se, t h is m u st be beca u se of t h e per ceived st a n da r d of edu ca t ion u n der th e differ en t t ypes of con t r ol. Wh en a sked a bou t t h is, on ly a t in y m in or it y of pa r en t s (5%) believed th a t or din a r y st a t e sch ools pr ovided t h e "BE ST st a n da r d of edu ca tion ". Th e la r gest pr opor t ion vot ed for pr iva t e sch ools (34%), followed by 33% for ‘gr a m m a r sch ools', wh ich cou ld be in t h e st a te or pr iva t e sector s, a n d, if in t h e sta te sector , h a ve gr ea t er fr eedom s t h a n or din a r y st a t e sch ools.

H ow cou ld a fr eer , m or e in depen den t syst em of edu ca t ion be br ou gh t in ? P a r en t s wer e a sk ed if t h ey wou ld be h a ppy t o sen d t h eir ch ildr en "t o a pr iva t e sch ool if t h e Gover n m en t pr ovided you wit h a vou ch er for th e a m ou n t it cost s t o sen d a ch ild t o a sta t e sch ool?" H a lf of a ll pa r en ts wou ld be h a ppy wit h t h is (49%), wit h on ly 29% a ga in st t h e idea , a n d on e fift h (19%) n ot su r e. P a r en ts wer e a lso a sked if t h e st a t e cou ld give t h em "a vou ch er wort h th e a ver a ge cost of sen din g you r ch ild t o a sta t e sch ool (a ppr oxim a t ely £5,000 – per yea r ), wh ich you cou ld t h en
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t r a n sfer t o a pr iva t e sch ool a n d t op u p wit h you r own in come". Wou ld t h ey be in t er est ed in a ccept in g t h is offer ? Rou gh ly a s m a n y pa r en t s sa id t h ey wou ld a s wou ldn 't (37% a ga in st 39%), wit h 21% of pa r en t s u n decided a bou t wh et h er t h ey wou ld do t h is or n ot – pr esu m a bly beca u se m a n y wou ld wa n t t o explor e th e via bilit y of t h is option a n d t h e kin ds of sch ools on offer . Sign ifica n tly, 52% of pa r en ts fr om Lon don sa id t h ey wou ld a ccept t h e offer .

So pa r en t s a r e in fa vou r of mor e in depen den ce for edu ca t ion , don 't r em ot ely t h in k t h a t st a t e edu ca t ion deliver s t h e best qu a lit y edu ca t ion ; m a n y a r e in fa vou r of vou ch er s t o sen d th eir ch ildr en t o pr iva te sch ools, even in t er m s of t oppin g u p t h ese vou ch er s wit h t h eir own mon ey.

Im por t a n t ly, a ll of t h is m u st be t a ken in t h e con t ext of r elen t less pr essu r e fr om opin ion -for m er s in t h e m edia a n d polit icia n s sa yin g, da y in a n d da y ou t , t h a t t h e
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st a t e syst em is t h e on ly wa y for wa r d for pa r en t s in t h is cou n t r y. It's r em a r ka ble t h a t we fou n d t h e a m ou n t of disa gr eem en t t h a t we did given t h is.

We a ll see t h e pa r oxysm s of a gon y polit icia n s a n d t h ose in th e media go t h r ou gh t o a void h a vin g t o a dm it t h a t t h eir ch ildr en go t o pr iva t e sch ools. We see h ow Da vid Ca m er on , Lea der of H er Ma jesty's Opposit ion , h a s to t r ea d ver y ca r efu lly beca u se of h is own pr iva t e edu ca t ion . We see t h e fin din gs sh owin g t h e h u ge su ccess of pr iva t e edu ca t ion in get t in g ch ildr en in t o t op jobs or u n iver sities u sed on ly t o ca st iga t e pr iva t e edu ca tion a n d t h ose wh o ch oose it for th eir ch ildr en . An d we see m edia pu n dit s like F ion a Miller a r gu in g t h a t pu sh y m iddle-cla ss pa r en ts wh o a ba n don t h eir loca l compr eh en sive st a t e sch ool a r e t h e biggest t h r ea t t o st a t e sch oolin g. An d Oxfor d don Ada m Swift h a s m a de h is n a m e t ellin g m iddle-cla ss pa r en t s t h a t sen din g t h eir ch ildr en to pr iva t e sch ools da m a ges t h e ega lit a r ia n pr oject of st a t e sch oolin g in h is book H ow Not t o Be a H ypocr it e – ca st iga tin g pa r en t s wh o ch oose pr iva t e edu ca t ion for t h eir ch ildr en a s gr ossly immor a l.

In spit e of a ll t h is per sist en t pr essu r e fr om opin ion -for m er s a n d politicia n s, it is qu it e r em a r ka ble t h a t t h e gr ea t Br it ish pu blic is n ot per su a ded. Th ey gu ess t h er e's a n a lt er n a t ive syst em t h a t cou ld deliver bet t er edu ca t ion for t h eir ch ildr en , a n d feel t h a t it m u st come wit h gr ea t er in depen den ce fr om th e st a t e a n d a gr ea t er r ole for t h e pr iva t e sector . Th e Br it ish pu blic's t h in kin g is complet ely ou t of lin e with t h a t of polit icia n s, opin ion -for m er s a n d policy m a k er s. F or t h em , gr ea t er in depen den ce fr om th e st a t e a n d a gr ea t er r ole for t h e pr iva t e sector is n ot elitist , n ot som et h in g to be emba r r a ssed a bou t , bu t som et h in g t o be em br a ced if a t a ll possible.

Im por t a n t ly, t h e Br it ish people's in t u it ion s a r e a bsolu t ely in lin e wit h th e wa y t h e m a jor it y of pa r en t s – in clu din g m ost sign ifica n t ly, ver y poor pa r en t s – a r e

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em br a cin g pr iva te edu ca t ion a n d esch ewin g st a t e con t r ol a cr oss t h e developin g wor ld a n d in em er gin g econ om ies.

F or th e secon d r ecen t r esea r ch I've been con du ctin g, pu blish ed a s Th e Bea u t ifu l Tr ee (P en gu in , New Delh i), poin t s t o a vibr a n t pr iva te sector in developin g cou n t r ies a n d em er gen t econ om ies. An edu ca t ion r evolu t ion is sweepin g t h e developin g wor ld. E ven in poor a r ea s of Asia a n d Afr ica , or din a r y people a r e a ba n don in g st a t e edu ca tion en m a sse. Th ey'r e a ppa lled by it s low st a n da r ds. In stea d, t h ey'r e sen din g t h eir ch ildr en t o pr iva t e sch ools t h a t a r e bu r geon in g, in clu din g low cost pr iva t e sch ools in t h e poor est pla ces on t h is pla n et .

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F or th e la st deca de I've been on a n ext r a or din a r y jou r n ey a cross su b-Sa h a r a n Afr ica , In dia a n d Ch in a . I've been ca t a logu in g a n d, m or e r ecen t ly, a ssist in g in t h e developm en t of low cost pr iva t e sch ools in pa r t icu la r . F or a n yon e in t er est ed in h ow even th e poor ca n em br a ce a lt er n a t ives t o st a te sch oolin g, it 's a won der fu lly u plift in g st or y. In slu m s a n d sh a n t y t own s a r ou n d t h e developin g wor ld, t h e ma jor it y of poor sch ool ch ildr en a r e a t t en din g low cost pr iva t e sch ools, a ffor da ble even t o pa r en ts even on m in imu m wa ges. E n t r epr en eu r s h a ve set u p t h ese sch ools a ga in st t h e odds, wh er e u n t r a in ed t ea ch er s a r e a ble t o br in g ou t m or e fr om t h eir ch ildr en t h a n t h ose in t h e st a te sch ools. An d it 's a st or y a bove a ll of h ow pa r en t s fin d t h e low cost pr iva t e sch ools a ccou n t a ble t o t h em – in st a r k con t r a st to t h e st a t e sch ools. Th eir in tu it ion s seem ver y m u ch in lin e wit h t h e m isgivin gs pr esen t ed by Br it ish pa r en ts in t h e fir st pa r t of t h e r esea r ch cit ed a bove.

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Ou r r esea r ch t ea m s combed slu m s a n d sh a n t y town s of u r ba n a r ea s in Niger ia , Gh a n a , Ken ya a n d In dia , lookin g for a ll sch ools, pu blic a n d pr iva t e – n ot depen din g on officia l da t a , a s m a n y of t h e pr iva t e sch ools will be u n r egist er ed, off t h e r a da r . In t h e poor u r ba n a r ea s su r veyed, th e va st m a jor it y of sch ool ch ildr en wer e fou n d t o be in ‘bu dget ' pr iva t e sch ools. F or in st a n ce, in t h e poor u r ba n a r ea s of La gos St a t e, Niger ia , 75 per cen t of sch oolch ildr en wer e in pr iva t e sch ools. In t er m s of qu a lit y, t ea ch er a bsen t eeism wa s lower a n d t ea ch er commit m en t – th e pr opor t ion of t ea ch er s a ctu a lly t ea ch in g wh en m y r esea r ch er s ca lled u n a n n ou n ced – h igh er , in t h e pr iva t e sch ools for th e poor t h a n in gover n m en t sch ools. An d pr iva t e sch ools ou t per for m t h e gover n m en t sch ools t oo in t h e k ey cu r r icu lu m su bjects. We t est ed 24,000 ch ildr en in key cu r r icu lu m su bjects. In La gos St a t e, for in st a n ce, t h e m ea n m a th score a dva n ta ge over gover n m en t sch ools wa s a bou t 14 a n d 19 per cen t a ge poin t s r espectively in pr iva t e r egist er ed a n d u n r egist er ed sch ools, wh ile in E n glish it wa s 22 a n d 29 per cen t a ge poin t s.

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Ma n y pa r en t s h a ve t r ied st a t e sch oolin g bu t don 't feel it 's good en ou gh for t h eir ch ildr en , so h a ve moved t h eir ch ildr en ba ck t o low cost pr iva t e sch ools. Nowh er e is t h is t r u er th a n in cou n t r ies wh ich h a ve r ecen t ly br ou gh t in fr ee pu blic

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edu ca tion – Ken ya , for in st a n ce, wh ich a ppea r s t o be u n iver sa lly h er a lded by ever yon e fr om Bon o t o P r esiden t Clin t on a s sh owin g t h e su ccess of st a t e sch oolin g, ba cked u p by ma ssive dollops of a id. On e fa t h er we spoke t o lived in Kiber a , th e la r gest slu m in Afr ica , wh er e h a lf a m illion people a r e cr a m m ed in t o cor r u ga t ed ir on a n d ca r dboa r d h u t s in a n a r ea t h e size of Ma n h a t t a n 's cen t r a l pa r k . H e h a d m oved h is da u gh t er t o t h e pu blic sch ool on t h e per iph er y of t h e slu m wh en it h a d been m a de fr ee, on ly t o become disillu sion ed by h u ge cla ss sizes a n d t ea ch er s wh o n o lon ger both er ed. H e h a d a n u n der st a n din g of econ om ics t h a t wou ld h a ve wa r m ed t h e h ea r t of Ma r ga r et Th a t ch er : h e told m e ‘if you go t o t h e ma r ket a n d a r e offer ed fr ee fr u it a n d veget a bles, t h ey'll be r ot t en . If you wa n t fr esh pr odu ce, you h a ve t o pa y for it .'

I lik e ta lk in g t o su ch pa r en t s. Ta lkin g t o t h ose opposed t o sch ool ch oice in t h e UK, on e is st r u ck by t h e a ssu m pt ion t h a t or din a r y, poor pa r en ts ca n n ot possibly be equ ipped t o m a ke pr oper decision s a bou t t h eir ch ildr en 's edu ca t ion . Ta lkin g t o poor pa r en t s gives t h e lie t o th a t ever y sin gle t ime. On e fa m ily I kn ow well
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sen d t h eir da u gh ter , n ow 14, t o a pr iva t e sch ool in a fish in g villa ge a lon g Gh a n a 's cocon u t -lin ed coa st . Th ey've t h ou gh t lon g a n d h a r d a bou t t h eir ch oice of pr iva t e sch ool. Th e fa t h er , J osh u a , a fin e lookin g fish er m a n wh o t a kes h is boa t ou t a t 3 a m ever y m or n in g in t o t h e Atla n t ic su r f, u n der st ood t h e vir tu es of a

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pr iva t e sch ool ver y well in deed: ‘My fa th er didn 't a llow m e t o go t o sch ool. I wa n t t o st r ive h a r d, so t h a t m y da u gh ter ca n go t o sch ool. We en r olled h er in t h e gover n m en t sch ool, bu t we felt t h a t h er lea r n in g wa s declin in g. Th e gover n m en t sch ool doesn 't h a ve a n yon e mon it or in g th e tea ch in g or tellin g t h em wh en it 's t im e for cla ss or t im e t o t ea ch . Cla sses a r e n ot on a fixed sch edu le... Th e r ea son wh y th e pr iva t e sch ools a r e better t h a n th e gover n m en t sch ool is beca u se t h er e is a pr iva t e own er . If you don 't t ea ch a s expected, you 'll be fir ed a n d r epla ced'. I won der h ow m a n y Br it ish pa r en t s wou ld welcome t h e exper ien ce to be a ble t o compa r e a n d con t r a st pr iva t e a n d st a t e sch ools in t h a t wa y?

We ca n pu t t h ese two pieces of eviden ce toget h er , t h e su r vey of Br it ish pa r en t s a n d t h e r esea r ch on pr iva t e edu ca t ion in developin g cou n t r ies. Th e eviden ce fr om a r ou n d t h e wor ld sh ows u s, fir st , t h a t most people, poor a s well a s r ich , ca r e deeply a bou t t h eir ch ildr en 's edu ca tion ; t h er e is n o u pper or m iddle-cla ss m on opoly on t h is. Secon d, beca u se of t h e u n iver sa lit y of pa r en t a l con cer n , t h er e's n ot h in g in t r in sica lly socia lly divisive a bou t pr iva te edu ca t ion eit h er . It m a y be t r u e toda y t h a t pr iva t e edu ca tion in t h e West is pa t r on ized la r gely by t h e m iddle a n d u pper cla sses – wh ich is wh y politicia n s a n d opin ion for m er s feel t h ey h a ve

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t o ca st iga t e it , a n d m a ke it seem like a n u n wor t h y opt ion for or din a r y pa r en t s t o con sider . Bu t t h er e's n ot h in g in evit a ble a bou t t h is. Th er e's n o r ea son wh y pa r en ts in Br ita in sh ou ldn 't be t a ken ser iou sly in t h e dou bt s t h ey r a ise a bou t

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st a t e n ea r -m on opoly pr ovision . Ra t h er t h a n ign or in g t h eir misgivin gs, so clea r ly r a ised in t h e r ecen t r esea r ch , a n d ign or in g th eir desir e for somet h in g bet t er , t h e con clu sion of t h ese t wo pieces of r esea r ch is t h a t a m u ch la r ger pr iva t e sector sh ou ld be posit ively en cou r a ged in t h is cou n t r y: th er e a r e fa r t oo few people in pr iva t e sch ools.

Th e wa y for wa r d for im pr oved edu ca t ion is to give people t h e fr eedom – per h a ps t h r ou gh vou ch er s, per h a ps t h r ou gh a min d-sh ift a bou t wh a t is a ccept a ble – t o a llow t h eir ch ildr en t o a ccess pr iva t e edu ca t ion a l oppor t u n ities.

Wit h t h is in m in d, let's r et u r n t o P r ofessor Da vid H a r gr ea ves's con cer n s a bou t in n ova t ion , t o su ggest t h a t h e t oo m a y a lso be a n glin g a ft er gr ea t er fr eedom s wit h in a m a r ket syst em of edu ca t ion :

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What the professors want: Innovation and Accountability

On e of t h e m ost st a r t lin g deficien cies of sch oolin g t oda y is t h a t t h e m a jor it y of it is st ill ca r r ied ou t wit h 20 t o 30 ch ildr en of t h e sa m e a ge in a cla ssr oom wit h on e t ea ch er , t h e sa m e a s it wa s for m e, a n d my fa t h er a n d gr a n dfa t h er befor e m e. P eople ca ll it a "fa ctor y m odel", bu t I don 't t h in k even t h a t is r igh t : If you go t o, sa y, a Nokia fa ctor y, you won 't h ea r a n yon e t ellin g you , "Th is yea r 's Nokia s a r e n ot a s good a s la st yea r 's beca u se th e pla n t en gin eer left a n d we h a ven 't fou n d a r epla cem en t yet .' Bu t in th e so-ca lled fa ct or y m odel of sch ools we h ea r th e sa m e a ll th e tim e, ‘Miss J on es left , wh a t a sh a me, t h e cla ss is n ot doin g so well in m a t h s t h is yea r .' So it 's n ot even a s good a s a fa ctor y m odel, it 's m or e like a br ok en pr odu ction lin e wh er e t h e pr ocesses a r e in con sist en t a n d open t o a bu se a n d n eglect.

In a n y ca se, wh a t ever t h e en vir on m en t , ‘bespoke ser vices for ever y in dividu a l lea r n er ' a r e sim ply n ot possible, t h a t 's P r ofessor H a r gr ea ves' poin t, a n d I t h in k h e's r igh t . F or it 's a t r u ism , bu t n on eth eless im por t a n t to r epea t , th a t ever y ch ild h a s differ en t a bilit ies, a pt it u des, desir es, n eeds, in t elligen ces, u n der st a n din gs, et c, et c. All of wh ich lies beh in d Pr ofessor H a r gr ea ves' desir es for in n ova t ion t owa r ds bespoke ser vices for in dividu a l lea r n er s. Th e mor e I go in t o sch ools a n d see cla sses of ch ildr en for ced to lea r n t ogeth er a t t h e pa ce of t h e m edia n ch ild, I fin d it h a r d t o en visa ge a n yt h in g ot h er t h a n ‘bespoke' lea r n in g a s bein g a bou t edu ca t ion a t a ll. Wit h ou t cu st om ised lea r n in g, you get ch ildr en wh o a r e bor ed, fr u str a t ed, a lien a t ed fr om lea r n in g, killin g t im e. We a dd cla ssr oom a ft er cla ssr oom , so t h a t ch ildr en a r e t h r own t ogeth er – somet im es 1,000 or mor e – in t o a seet h in g m a ss of bor ed, fr u st r a t ed, a lien a ted ch ildr en , killin g t im e. Th a t 's t h e m iser y of cu r r en t sch oolin g for m e. It 's n ot edu ca t ion , it 's a n t i-edu ca t ion .

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But could it be any different?

Im a gin e t h a t edu ca t ion is m or e like ot h er a r ea s of ou r societ y, wh er e m a r ket fr eedom s a r e t a ken for gr a n t ed. In deed, on e ca n ima gin e t h is wit h in t h e con t ext s of t h e m a r ket s I've a lr ea dy descr ibed in Asia a n d Afr ica . I'm a n en tr epr en eu r . I a m ‘sca n n in g t h e h or izon ' lookin g for oppor t u n it ies. I h ea r P r ofessor H a r gr ea ves t a lk a bou t cu r r en t pr oblem s in edu ca t ion , a n d a pr oposed solu t ion – h is bespoke lea r n in g for ea ch ch ild. E u r eka ! H er e's a t er r ific oppor t u n it y for a n en t r epr en eu r t o a ct. In deed, t h e pr ofessor h a s don e m u ch of t h e discover y pr ocess a n d cr ea t ive t h in k in g for m e.

Non et h eless, t h er e is st ill m u ch for m e to do. I get t h in kin g a bou t h ow won der fu l it wou ld be if a ll ch ildr en cou ld h a ve bespoke lea r n in g in cor e su bjects like m a t h em a t ics, scien ce, E n glish a n d ot h er la n gu a ges. Bu t a s pa r t of m y r esea r ch , I r ea d widely on edu ca tion , a n d come a cr oss Pr ofessor Rich a r d P r in g's pa per in t h e sa m e Lea r n in g Skills Fou n da t ion ser ies. Yes, I see wh a t h e m ea n s: followin g Dewey, edu ca t ion is n ot ju st a bou t in dividu a ls pu r su in g ‘kn owledge a n d u n der st a n din g' (wh ich per h a ps t h ey cou ld get fr om t h eir bespoke lea r n in g), bu t a lso get t in g ‘pr a ctica l ca pa bilit ies', ‘m or a l ser iou sn ess' t o t h in k ‘a bou t t h e big issu es wh ich con fr on t societ y', a n d a lso t h e sen se of ‘belon gin g t o a wider commu n it y'. Ter r ific, let 's t r y to bu ild t h ese in to m y model t oo.

I come up with something like this, based on the twin prongs of the Hargreaves & Pring approach:

A t wo-r oom ed sm a ll 'sch ool'; On e r oom h a s 10 in t er n et n et wor ked compu t er s, t h e ot h er r oom is design ed t o en cou r a ge gr ou p wor k. In th is sch ool, t h er e a r e 20 ch ildr en , split in t o two cla sses of 10 ch ildr en ea ch . Th ey ca n be in sch ool for 4 h ou r s a lt oget h er , so I ca n r u n t wo sh ift s.

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In t h e compu t er r oom, for t wo h ou r s, 10 ch ildr en wor k in dividu a lly on t h e compu t er s, doin g t h eir ba sic su bjects, wor kin g a t th eir own pa ce. For wh a t is clea r t o m e – a n d I believe P r ofessor H a r gr ea ves wou ld con cu r – is t h a t t h e kin d of bespok e lea r n in g t h a t h e wa n t s is n ow a va ila ble. Recen t ly pu blish ed soft wa r e a llows ch ildr en to lea r n fou n da t ion su bjects a t t h eir own pa ce. A pa t ien t ‘t ea ch er ' (t h e pr ogr a m m e) r espon ds t o in dividu a l lea r n in g st yles a n d n eeds, dia gn osin g wh er e t h in gs a r e goin g wr on g a n d offer in g a ppr opr ia t e r em edia t ion . In t h ose con cen t r a t ed t wo h ou r s, wit h t h e r igh t soft wa r e, m y sou r ces t ell m e t h a t ch ildr en cou ld lea r n a lm ost a s m u ch a s th ey do n ow in a fu ll sch ool da y.

Mea n wh ile, in t h e ot h er cla ssr oom , t h e oth er 10 ch ildr en will pu r su e a n excit in g r a n ge of pr oject wor k, gr ou p wor k, discu ssion s, sem in a r s a n d so on , in spir ed by t h e P r in g/Dewey model.

Rea l bu sin esses a n d ch a r it ies, bot h loca l a n d in t er n a t ion a l, cou ld give u s gen u in e pr oblems t h a t t h ey n eed solvin g, t o en a ble u s t o t h in k ‘a bou t t h e big issu es wh ich con fr on t societ y'. I'd in t r odu ce sch ool ‘dem ocr a cy', t o give ch ildr en r ea l exper ien ce in r u n n in g t h eir own a ffa ir s. An d, a s my ‘sch ool' is a sm a ll bu sin ess, I'd a lso get t h e kids t o solve some of t h e r ea l pr oblem s t h a t a r ise wit h it, t o h elp t h em develop en t r epr en eu r ia l a n d bu sin ess skills.
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Aft er t wo h ou r s, t h ese t wo cla sses wou ld swa p. E a ch get s t wo h ou r s of in dividu a lised lea r n in g per da y, a n d ea ch get s t wo h ou r s of P r in g/Dewey-in spir ed pr a ctica l a n d gr ou p wor k.

Th a t 's m y in it ia l idea . I'd th en sit down with spr ea dsh eet s to wor k ou t if it is fin a n cia lly fea sible. H er e a r e som e ba ll-pa r k ca lcu la t ion s. I n eed t wo fu ll-t im e lea r n in g cen t r e fa cilit a t or s pa id a r ou n d £30,000 ea ch per a n n u m , in clu din g on -cost s. Th a t 's £60,000. Addin g in r en t , m a in t en a n ce a n d a ll t h e ot h er r ecu r r en t expen dit u r es dou bles t h a t , so I h a ve a n n u a l expen ditu r e of a r ou n d £120,000.

Now in come: wit h 40 stu den t s (t wo sh ift s of 20 ea ch ), su ppose I cou ld ch a r ge £5,000 ea ch per a n n u m (obviou sly u sin g t h is figu r e beca u se it 's t h e a ver a ge st a te spen din g in sch ools t oda y), th en m y a n n u a l in come cou ld be £200,000. Th a t wou ld pr ovide n et pr ofit of £80,000, ou t of wh ich I'd h a ve to pa y m y own sa la r y, cost of ca pit a l, my cen t r a l or ga n isa t ion over h ea ds (su ch a s qu a lit y con t r ol of m y lea r n in g cen t r es, wh ich wou ld in it ia lly ju st be m e visit in g t h e on e cen t r e) a n d t a x.

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To begin on e of t h ese cen t r es, I'd pr oba bly n eed ca pit a l of a r ou n d £20,000 – 10 n et wor k ed compu t er s (£6,000), som e fu r n it u r e (sa y £3,000), soft wa r e licen ses (£5,000) a n d bu ildin g a dju stm en t s a n d decor a t ion t o t h e r en t ed t wo r ooms I've fou n d (sa y £6,000). I'd r a id m y sa vin gs, beg of fa m ily a n d fr ien ds, a n d wit h in a m a t ter of m on t h s I cou ld h a ve m y fir st lea r n in g cen t r e u p a n d r u n n in g.

As m y fir st cu stom er s go t h r ou gh t h eir fir st m on th s, I'd be t h er e a ll t h e t im e, t wea kin g t h e m odel u n t il it sa t isfies m y cu st om er s, m y men t or s a n d my fin a n ces.

An d t h en I'd be r ea dy t o expa n d – beca u se wit h on e lea r n in g cen tr e on ly, I'm n ot get tin g t h e fu ll ben efit s of econ om ies of sca le. I devise a bu sin ess pla n sh owin g h ow 100 of t h ese cen t r es wou ld lea d t o a n en or m ou sly pr ofita ble bu sin ess. An d I con vin ce som e ven t u r e ca pit a list s, sell some of m y compa n y t o t h em , a n d we'd soon be off expa n din g ou r bu sin ess.

Mea n wh ile, ot h er s h a ve n ot iced t h is n ew in t er ven tion . Seein g it s pot en t ia l, t h ey'r e devisin g t h eir own m odels, or per h a ps doin g somet h in g complet ely differ en t t o solve t h e sa m e pr oblem , per h a ps som et h in g t h a t I ca n 't even t h in k of a t t h is st a ge. Th is compet it ion spu r s m y t ea m t o t wea k ou r own m odel fu r t h er .

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To pu t it a ll sch em a t ica lly: In a t ypica l ma r ket in n ova t ion som et h in g like t h is ca n h a ppen :

An en t r epr en eu r ‘sca n s t h e h or izon ' t o discover a pr oblem n eedin g solu t ion , or dem a n d n eedin g su pply (discover y). H e or sh e for m u la t es a n idea t o br in g a ‘n ew t h in g or m et h od' t o bea r on t h a t pr oblem (cr ea t ivity). A pr oof of con cept pilot is t est ed in t h e ma r ket , a n d t h is pr ocess m a y be iter a t ed m a n y tim es t o a da pt or impr ove t h e idea (t est in g). Th e m a r ket pr ocess t h en est a blish es wh et h er t h is n ew t h in g or m et h od is via ble a n d desir ed, (in for m a tion ), br in gin g r ea l or pot en t ia l pr ofit s or losses to t h e en t r epr en eu r . Th is in for m a t ion is m a de a va ila ble t o in vest or s / ca pita l m a r ket s, to m ove to in cr ea se m a r ket sh a r e a n d pr ofit a bilit y (sca la bilit y). Th e a ctivit ies become kn own t o ot h er pla yer s, wh o a lso en t er t h e m a r ket if deem ed desir a ble (compet it ion ), lea din g t o a fu r t h er discover y pr ocess.

Th e wh ole pr ocess ca n h a ppen ver y qu ickly in deed – in t h e ca se of m y t wo-r oom ed lea r n in g cen t r e a bove, I cou ld be u p a n d r u n n in g wit h a pilot in 3-6 m on t h s, a n d cou ld h a ve a ch a in of t h ese lea r n in g cen t r es wit h big in vest m en t a yea r a ft er t h a t , wit h ot h er s followin g beh in d in t wo yea r s. If we fou n d t h a t t h ese k in ds of in n ova t ion s wor ked, t h e wh ole edu ca t ion h or izon cou ld be r a dica lly t r a n sfor m ed wit h in 3-5 yea r s, t h e len gt h of on e pa r lia m en t !

Bu t n ot h in g like th is is possible in gover n m en t sch oolin g.

Gover n men t h a s cr owded ou t t h is sor t of en t r epr en eu r ia l t h in kin g fr om edu ca tion . Un der gover n m en t pr ovision th er e is on ly t h e ‘Lon g r ou t e t o in n ova t ion ', a s opposed to t h e ‘Sh or t r ou te t o in n ova tion ' of t h e pr iva t e sector .

H er e's t h e "lon g r ou t e" u sin g Pr ofessor H a r gr ea ves a s ou r r efer en ce: H e h a s seen a pr oblem n eedin g solu t ion (discover y) a n d h e's for m u la ted gr ea t idea s t o solve
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t h e pr oblem s (cr ea t ivit y). An d h e sa ys h e m a n a ged t o get ‘a you n g Da vid Miliba n d, t h en a ju n ior m in ist er ' t o t est ou t som e of t h ese idea s in n et wor ks of sch ools, yieldin g in for m a t ion a bou t t h eir su ccess or ot h er wise.

Th is pr ocess seemed r ela t ively sim ple for H a r gr ea ves, a n d per h a ps on ly t ook a cou ple of yea r s. Bu t H a r gr ea ves is a ver y specia l per son a n d fou n d a n ew gover n m en t r ela t ively sym pa t h et ic t o h is idea s. I too t r ied t o per su a de t h a t sa m e n ew gover n m en t t o explor e som e n ew idea s, m eet in g wit h Sir Mich a el Ba r ber a n d Sir Mich a el Bich a r d a m on gst ot h er s ba ck in 1997/98, a n d got n owh er e, even t h ou gh t h e idea s wer e br illia n t . (P er h a ps I'll h a ve m or e lu ck wit h a n ot h er , n ot yet kn igh t ed, Mich a el, Mich a el Gove, wh en h e t a kes office in Ma y). Bu t even I wa s a pr ofessor of edu ca t ion a t a r epu ta ble u n iver sit y, so a t lea st I got m eetin gs wit h t h e good a n d t h e gr ea t : im a gin e h ow difficu lt it wou ld be for a n or din a r y per son ! Th a t 's a n oth er a dva n t a ge of t h e ma r ket pr ocess of in n ova t ion : it 's dem ocr a t ic, open t o a n yon e, n ot h ier a r ch ica l a n d elit ist like t h e pr ocess of in n ova t ion in t h e pu blic sector .

So th e pu blic pr ocess is m u ch h a r der in th e fir st two st a ges, bu t it 's possible if you h a ve t h e r igh t con n ection s a n d st a n din g t o m ove t o th e th ir d a n d fou r t h st a ges. Bu t t h a t 's wh er e t h e pr ocess of in n ova t ion eit h er flou n der s complet ely, or it get s complet ely dist or t ed. Th e flou n der in g I t h in k we ca n sa fely sa y h a s h a ppen ed wit h P r ofessor H a r gr ea ves' idea s. Th ey'r e n ot goin g to sca le, n ot su cceedin g in effectin g t h e r a dica l tr a n sfor ma t ion t h a t Pr ofessor H a r gr ea ves wa n t s. Th e in n ova t ion h a s n ot su cceeded.

Alt er n a t ively, it cou ld a ll get complet ely dist or t ed. Th is pr ocess is h igh ligh t ed in P r ofessor Alison Wolf's gr ea t pa per in t h e sa m e Lea r n in g Skills Fou n da t ion ser ies, wh er e sh e sh ows h ow La dy Th a t ch er 's idea (cr ea tivit y) of som e sim ple ‘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 ', t o solve t h e pr oblem of differ en t levels of comm it m en t a m on gst t ea ch er s a n d sch ools
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(discover y) led in st ea d t o th e ‘va st edifice', t h e ‘m on st er ' of t h e n a t ion a l cu r r icu lu m a n d n a t ion a l t est in g (Wolf, p. 125). As P r ofessor Wolf so clea r ly describes, t h is is beca u se of t h e n u m er ou s vest ed in t er est gr ou ps wit h in th e pu blic sector wh o figh t over a n d u lt im a tely distor t t h e pr ocess, a n d t h en gr ow t h eir own bu r ea u s t o pr ot ect t h eir in t er ests, so t h a t in t h e en d we'r e la n ded wit h a bu r ea u cra t ic m on st r osit y wh ich , sa ys Pr ofessor Wolf, a n d I t h in k sh e's r igh t , is a lm ost im possible t o r efor m.

Th e sh or t r ou t e to in n ova t ion in edu ca t ion h a s clea r a dva n t a ges. Th e en er gies a n d im a gin a tion s of la r ge n u m ber s of en tr epr en eu r s ca n be br ou gh t t o bea r on t h e h u ge bu t excit in g pr oblem s fa cin g u s in edu ca t ion . P r ogr ess a t t est in g a n d m odifyin g t h ese solu t ion s ca n be in r ea l-t im e, a n d t r a n sfor ma t ion qu ick a n d r ea lisa ble.

I'm su ggest in g t h a t wh en P r ofessor H a r gr ea ves bem oa n s t h e la ck of in n ova tion in t h e st a t e sch oolin g syst em , h e cou ld a lso be a n glin g a ft er m ovin g towa r ds t h e gr ea t er fr eedom s of a m a r ket syst em of edu ca t ion .

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Th e sa m e qu est ion is r a ised for a ccou n t a bilit y t oo, wh ich P r ofessor Da vid H opk in s wr it es a bou t in h is pa per . H e list s a wh ole r a n ge of bu r ea u cra t ic m et h ods of get t in g sch ools a ccou n t a ble t h r ou gh t h e polit ica l pr ocess. On ly pr oblem is, it h a sn 't h a ppen ed. It 's a t r u ism – bu t n on et h eless a ga in wor t h r epea t in g – t h a t m a n y ch ildr en a r e la n gu ish in g in sch ools wh er e edu ca t ion a l st a n da r ds a r e fa r t oo low, a n d wh er e th eir edu ca t ion a l a n d life pr ospects a r e dr a m a t ica lly h in der ed a s a r esu lt . J u st a s in ou r exa mples fr om In dia a n d Afr ica , it 's a ll beca u se of a la ck of a ccou n t a bilit y.

Again: does it have to be that way?

Aga in : th er e is a sh or t r ou t e to a ccou n ta bilit y, t h r ou gh t h e ma r ket , a n d a lon g r ou t e. An d t h e won der fu l th in g a bou t a com pet it ive m a r ket is t h a t it "a u t om a t ica lly" cr ea t es a ccou n t a bilit y bet ween seller s a n d bu yer s: "Th e key in for ma tion is cu st om er sa t isfa ction , a n d t h e key en for cea bilit y is t h e cu st om er 's ch oice of su pplier . Com pet it ive m a r ket s h a ve pr oved a r em a r ka bly r obu st in st it u t ion a l a r r a n gem en t for m eet in g in dividu a l in t er est s." Th a t's t h e Wor ld Ba n k t a lk in g, in th eir r epor t Ma kin g Ser vices Wor k for th e Poor , a n d I a gr ee.
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Gover n men t in t er ven t ion a ga in , we m igh t sa y, h a s cr owded ou t t h e sh or t r ou t e t o a ccou n t a bilit y in edu ca t ion , ju st a s it h a s cr owded ou t t h e sh or t r ou t e t o in n ova t ion descr ibed a bove.

I'm su ggest in g t oo t h a t wh en P r ofessor H opkin s poin t s t o t h e pr oblem s of a ccou n t a bilit y in t h e st a t e sch oolin g system , h e cou ld a lso be a n glin g a ft er m oves t owa r ds t h e a u t oma t ic a ccou n t a bilit y with in a ma r ket syst em of edu ca t ion .

Conclusion: Towards Radical Educational Transformation

Gover n men t in t er ven t ion in edu ca t ion crowds ou t in it ia t ives t h a t cou ld lea d t o t h e desir a ble kin d of edu ca tion we wa n t a n d n eed t oda y. It cr owds ou t t h e sh or t r ou t e t o in n ova t ion , a n d so lea ves u s stu ck in a fa ctor y m odel of sch oolin g, wh ich m a y con ceiva bly h a ve been a ppr opr ia t e wh en t h e st a te ca m e in t o sch oolin g in 1870, t o fill in th e ga ps of pr iva t e pr ovision , bu t is complet ely ou t -m oded som e 140 yea r s la t er . We ca n t r y t o in n ova t e bu t ca n 't m a ke mu ch pr ogr ess, beca u se we'r e st u ck on t h e "lon g r ou t e" to in n ova tion , wh er e gover n m en t eit h er complet ely dist or t s wh a t we wa n t , or wh er e ch a n ges get complet ely bogged down a n d don 't t a ke effect, cer t a in ly n ot in a n y sca la ble fa sh ion .

Bu t gover n m en t in t er ven t ion cr owds ou t t h e sh or t r ou t e t o a ccou n t a bility t oo – t h e r ou t e t h a t wor ks a u t om a t ica lly in m a r ket s t o en su r e qu a lit y is pr ovided. In stea d, we'r e lu m ber ed wit h t h e la bor iou s lon g r ou t e, wh ich is on ly open r ea lly t o t h ose wit h polit ica l clou t a n d ‘voice', a n d wh ich lea ves so m a n y of ou r ch ildr en – pa r t icu la r ly th e m ost disa dva n t a ged – in sch ools wh ich offer lit t le of edu ca tion a l va lu e a t a ll.

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P a r en t s seem to r ecogn ise bot h issu es, wh ich is wh y t h ey'r e t ellin g u s t h a t th ey wa n t a fr eer syst em , liber a t ed fr om gover n men t con t r ol. So wh a t does a ll t h is su ggest sh ou ld be t h e a n swer s t o t h e qu est ion s posed t o m e by t h e Lea r n in g Sk ills F ou n da t ion ?

Should a new Government be considering radical alternatives to achieve a transformation?

Yes.

What lessons should a new Government learn from its predecessors?

P er h a ps t h e key lesson con cer n s pr eviou s gover n m en t 's la ck of h u m ilit y a n d t h eir r efu sa l t o a dm it t h a t t h ey sim ply don 't kn ow h ow to deliver a wor ld cla ss edu ca tion ser vice. Wh a t is n ow r equ ir ed is a gover n m en t t h a t is big a n d br a ve en ou gh t o a dm it t h a t t h ey don 't h a ve a ll t h e a n swer s. It sh ou ld lea r n t h a t it h a s over st epped it s r ole in edu ca t ion , a n d t h a t it s cu r r en t r ole of pr ovision of sch oolin g is n ot ju stified a n d cou n t er -pr odu ctive.

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What should be its agenda for change?

F ocu ssin g on t h e t win poles of in n ova t ion a n d a ccou n t a bility, it sh ou ld:

1.

Cr ea t e a n en a blin g en vir on m en t t o a llow edu ca t ion a l en t r epr en eu r s t o do wh a t t h ey do best , a n d so sa t isfy wh a t P r ofessor H a r gr ea ves h a s iden t ified a s a sever e wea kn ess in t h e cu r r en t sch oolin g syst em. A t h ou sa n d edu ca tion a l flower s m u st be a llowed t o blossom !

2.

E n su r e t h a t t h e sh or t r ou te t o a ccou n t a bilit y is pr esen t t oo, by a llowin g pa r en ts a n d st u den ts to decide wh er e t h e fu n din g for t h eir edu ca t ion ca n go.

How can it successfully transform the education system to better meet the needs of both the individual and society as a whole?

I gu ess t h ese follow fr om t h e a bove. An d t h is br in gs u s t o policies bein g pu t for wa r d a t t h e n ext election . I t h in k t h e Con ser va t ives m a y be in lin e with t h e t h in gs I've been sa yin g t h is even in g. Wh a t t h ey pr opose – br in gin g som e fr eedom s t o sch ools, a llowin g sch ools t o opt ou t of loca l gover n m en t a u t h or it y a n d for pa r en t s a n d ot h er s to get t ogeth er t o r u n sch ools, it 's a st a r t . So to t h e Tor ies' policies, I give a ca u t iou s welcome. Th ey don 't go fa r en ou gh – a n d in t h eir pr oh ibit ion of t h e pr ofit m ot ive t h ey'r e t yin g on e h a n d of en tr epr en eu r s a n d in vest or s beh in d t h eir ba cks. Th ey'r e a sta r t of a n ew h u m ilit y a m on gst polit icia n s r ecogn isin g t h a t th ey a r e n ot th e best pla ced t o con t r ol edu ca t ion . E du ca tion is fa r t oo im por ta n t t o be left to polit icia n s. Let 's r ecla im it for ou r selves, we, t h e people.

ƒƒƒ

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Amanda Spielman

Am a n da Spielm a n is Resea r ch a n d Developm en t dir ector for ARK Sch ools, wh er e sh e is a lso r espon sible for lega l, r egu la t or y a n d gover n a n ce m a t t er s. Sh e is a m em ber of t h e Sykes Review Gr ou p com m ission ed by Mich a el Gove to r eview t h e cu r r en t sch ool a ssessm en t syst em , a n d a dir ector of New Sch ools Net wor k a n d of th e Wa les Millen n iu m Cen t r e.

Sh e st u died compa r a t ive edu ca t ion a t t h e In stit u t e of E du ca t ion a n d h a s wor ked in edu ca t ion for th e pa st n in e yea r s. Befor e t h is sh e wor ked in pr iva te equ it y for Nom u r a P r in cipa l F in a n ce, a s a st r a t egy con su lt a n t a t Mer cer Ma n a gem en t Con su lt in g, in m er ger s a n d a cqu isit ion s a t Klein wor t Ben son , a n d a s a ch a r t er ed a ccou n t a n t a t KP MG.

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Has the increased volume of legislation and increased Government involvement transformed education in the U K?

Wedn esda y 10 t h Ma r ch 2010

Amanda Spielman

I a m a lit t le bit a fr a id t h a t n obody is goin g t o believe t h a t I wa s n ot collu din g wit h J a m es bu t h on est ly, we h a ve n ever m et befor e ton igh t .

H is st or y a bou t t h e gover n m en t sch ool in Ken ya r em in ded me of a r ecen t exper ien ce. Recen tly I wa s lu cky en ou gh t o be in Sr i La n ka on h olida y, visitin g t h e fa m ily of a fr ien d of m y you n ger da u gh t er . Th e fa mily n ow lives in Sr i La n k a bu t goes t o t h e qu it e ext r eme len gt h of h a vin g t h e m oth er come ba ck t o Br ita in ea ch t er m so t h a t t h eir ch ild ca n a t t en d ou r Br it ish pr im a r y sch ool. I a sked wh y t h ey wer e u n h a ppy with t h e loca l pr im a r y sch ool in t h eir Sr i La n ka n villa ge a n d wa s t old "Well, it h a s 57 ch ildr en a n d 43 t ea ch er s". Wit h vir t u a lly a ll of th e 43, of cou r se, bein g br ot h er s, cou sin s, u n cles of cou n cillor s a n d MP s. So bla t a n t cor r u pt ion of t h e sor t t h a t you do n ot fin d h er e, bu t pa r t of wh a t I a m a r gu in g is t h a t th er e is a m or e in sidiou s for m of corr u pt ion in t h e cloggin g u p of t h e edu ca tion syst em h er e t h a t is a lm ost a s cor r osive in it s lon g t er m effects. It is less obviou s, bu t equ a lly a pr oblem for edu ca t ion .

So, my su bject sou n ds a litt le dr y "H a s th e in cr ea sed volu m e of legisla t ion a n d in cr ea sed Gover n m en t in volvem en t t r a n sfor m ed edu ca tion ?" P r et t y obviou sly it h a s, bu t let 's t a lk m or e a bou t h ow.

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I h a ve wor ked for ARK Sch ools for t h e la st five yea r s, fr om wh en it wa s ju st get tin g goin g. We a r e Aca dem y oper a t or s wit h eigh t open a ca dem ies, a mixtu r e of br a n d-n ew sch ools a n d t r a n sit ion sch ools. It h a s been t h e excit em en t a n d pa in of st a r t -u p a n d, in J a m es's wor ds, of in n ova t ion by th e lon g r ou t e.

Wh en we sta r ted ARK Sch ools, n eit h er of t h e t wo of u s wh o wer e t h er e a t t h e begin n in g h a d a n y r ea l exper ien ce in r u n n in g sch ools. We wer e a ver y sm a ll t ea m a n d h a d t o do ever yt h in g: n egot ia t in g expr ession s of in t er est a n d a fu n din g a gr eem en t wit h gover n m en t , wr it in g edu ca tion br iefs, pla n n in g t h e cu r r icu lu m , r ecr u it in g st a ff, decidin g on t h e n ew sta ff t er m s a n d con dit ion s, t r a n sfer r in g existin g sch ool st a ff u n der TUP E , get t in g pla n n in g con sen t, gett in g a ppr ova l t o dem olish list ed bu ildin gs, wr it in g design br iefs, a r r a n gin g t h e pr ocu r em en t of a r ou n d £125 m illion of ca pit a l wor ks a n d fu lfillin g th e r equ ir em en t s of en dless complia n ce ch ecklist s, in clu din g wr it in g in n u mer a ble policies.

So it h a s been a cr a sh cou r se in edu ca t ion la w a n d r egu la t ion , a n d wh ile I h a ve som e ba ckgr ou n d in lega l a n d r ela t ed m a t ter s, I h a d r ela t ively little exposu r e t o t h e pu blic sector befor e I ca m e in t o t h is wor ld. It h a s been a n eye open er . So I a m comin g t o m y su bject wit h a n Ar k per spective a n d will illu st r a t e som e of t h e poin t s wit h t h e exper ien ces of ou r fir st yea r five yea r s. I see Liz Sidwell h er e, wh o will r ecogn ise m a n y of t h ese fr om h er H a ber da sh er s exper ien ce.

Obviou sly t h er e is a simple u n equ ivoca l a n swer t o t h e qu est ion . Of cou r se in cr ea sed volu m e of legisla t ion a n d in crea sed gover n m en t in volvem en t h a ve ver y dir ectly a ffected edu ca t ion . H a ve t h ey t r a n sfor m ed it ? Yes, in m a n y wa ys, bu t for good a n d for ba d. Bu t befor e I st a r t t a lkin g a bou t wh a t is good a n d wh a t is ba d, it is ju st wor t h st eppin g ba ck a n d t h in kin g a bou t "wh y does legisla t ion a ccret e?" a s it pla in ly does. Not ju st in edu ca t ion , in ever y a r ea of pu blic a ctivit y a n d in ma n y ot h er ju r isdiction s. It is n ot a pecu lia r ly Br it ish disea se, it h a ppen s ever ywh er e.
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I t h in k t h er e a r e t wo r ea lly im por t a n t fa ctor s t o t h in k a bou t h er e.

F ir st, t h er e seem s t o h a ve been a big sh ift in t h e u n der sta n din g of t h e pu r pose of la w. On ce u pon a tim e la w wa s a bou t exclu din g t h e complet ely u n a ccept a ble. F or exa m ple in cr im in a l la w, m u r der , th eft , per ju r y, th e kin d of t h in gs t h a t you wou ld r ecogn ise fr om t h e Old Test a m en t . Th en t h e bou n da r ies of lega l pr oh ibit ion h a ve sh ift ed gr a du a lly bu t con sider a bly t o ou t la w a ll m a n n er of t h in gs t h a t wou ld on ce h a ve been con sider ed m er ely m ildly u n plea sa n t . F or exa m ple, va r iou s kin ds of bu llyin g beh a viou r u sed n ot to be con sider ed wor t h pr oh ibit in g by la w. An d th en legisla t ion moved fu r t h er t o be u sed a s a r isk m a n a gemen t t ool, t o pr eclu de beh a viou r wh ich cou ld lea d t o u n desir a ble con sequ en ces. Not beca u se a n y u n desir a ble con sequ en ces n ecessa r ily h a ppen , bu t ju st t o t r y t o r edu ce t h e likelih ood of it h a ppen in g. On e obviou s exa m ple in ever yda y life is dr in k dr ivin g. It is a n offen ce to h a ve a lcoh ol in you r blood wh en dr ivin g sim ply beca u se it in cr ea ses r isk, n ot beca u se it n ecessa r ily h a r m s a n yon e.

In edu ca t ion t h e m ost obviou s illu st r a t ion of t h is sh ift t o u sin g la w t o t r y a n d pr eclu de r isk is t h e st iflin g set of policies t h a t sch ools a r e r equ ir ed t o h a ve. P olicy is a misn om er in t h is con t ext beca u se policy im plies a n elem en t of ch oice, wh er ea s th e r ea lit y of m ost sch ool policies is t h a t t h ey a r e t h e r egu r git a t ion of a n im m en se a m ou n t of la w a n d st a t u t or y in st r u m en t a n d sch ools h a ve n o r ea l ch oice over m ost of t h eir t h e con t en t : th e discr et ion a r y elem en t is fa ir ly lim it ed in m ost a r ea s of a sch ool's oper a t ion s.

E U pr ocu r em en t r u les a r e a n oth er exa m ple of t h e r isk m a n a gem en t t ool a ppr oa ch t o legisla t ion . Th ey a im t o pr even t cor r u pt ion by crea t in g a ver y complica t ed set of r u les wh ich a dd con sider a bly t o t h e cost of doin g bu sin ess a n d wh ich m a y or m a y n ot sa ve m or e t h a n t h e corr u pt ion t h ey pr even t . Th is seem s t o m e t r u ly a n open qu est ion .
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Bu t in t r odu cin g t h is power fu l r isk ma n a gem en t a ppr oa ch a ctu a lly r edu ces th e spa ce t h a t t h e people r u n n in g a n d tea ch in g in sch ools h a ve t o wor k. It ch a n n els t h em down a n d sa ys a ctu a lly you h a ve n ot got t h is m u ch spa ce t o wor k in – you h a ve got th is m u ch less. An d ever y yea r mor e r egu la tion s ch ip a wa y a t t h e a r ea s of fr eedom so t h a t spa ce get s even sm a ller .

An d t h en t h e sh ift in t h e pu r pose of la w h a s m oved beyon d r isk ma n a gem en t t o a r ea lly n or m a t ive a ppr oa ch : t o sa y t h a t t h is is t h e wa y th a t we cu r r en t ly t h in k is t h e best wa y t o do som et h in g so we will ou t la w ever yt h in g else a n d sa y you h a ve t o do it t h is wa y. Cu r r en t exa m ples in edu ca tion in clu de t h e a dm ission s code, wh ich h a s got pr ogr essively tigh ter a n d wh ich n ow r u les ou t a lot of t h in gs t h a t ma n y people wou ld n ot fin d pa r t icu la r ly offen sive. On e sm a ll exa m ple m a n y sch ools u sed t o h a ve a dm ission s policies t h a t in clu ded older siblin gs wh o h a d a lr ea dy left a s well a s siblin gs st ill in t h e sch ool. It is n ow illega l t o h a ve t h a t a dm ission s policy. Th is is a n exa m ple of som et h in g t h a t n ot ma n y people wou ld fin d t h a t u n plea sa n t or u n fa ir a n d yet t h e n or m h a s been defin ed so t igh t ly th a t t h is policy is n ot ju st discou r a ged – it is illega l.

P a r t n er sh ips in edu ca t ion m a ke a n ot h er lit t le ca se stu dy. Of cou r se co-oper a t ion is gen er a lly a good t h in g, in m ost wa lks of life, bu t does t h a t ju st ify m a kin g pa r t n er sh ips obliga t or y in ever y a spect of a sch ool's wor k? Beca u se t h a t is wh a t h a s been don e by in clu din g a sch ool's u se of pa r t n er sh ips a s on e of t h e ca t egor ies of OF STE D ju dgem en t wh ich bu ild u p to t h e over a ll ju dgem en t . A sch ool t h a t ca n do a n ext r em ely good job wit h lit t le or n o r ecou r se t o t h ir d pa r ties a n d ou t side bodies h a s become pu n ish a ble by OF STE D.

So my fir st poin t is th e ch a n ge in t h e idea of la w, t h a t it sh ou ld elim in a t e r isk a n d become n or m a t ive, so t h a t t h e spa ce t h a t sch ools a n d t ea ch er s h a ve t o wor k in is n ow ver y con st r a in ed.

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A secon d im por t a n t t r en d is t h e sh ift in con cept ion of t h e r ole of gover n m en t , a n d a ga in t h is is som et h in g t h a t h a s h a ppen ed or is h a ppen in g in m a n y ju r isdiction s, bu t it is a ver y im por ta n t ch a n ge. In st ea d of bein g a n en a bler , gover n m en t becomes a t a r get set t er . Gover n m en t t a kes dir ect con t r ol of t h e syst em a n d t a ke cr edit for ever y sm a ll su ccess, down to t h e ver y la st GCSE . Con ver sely, gover n men t feels exposed t o cr it icism wh en ever t a r get s a r e n ot m et . It lea ds t o a ver y differ en t a ppr oa ch a n d a ver y con t r ollin g a ppr oa ch to h ow a syst em is r u n .

In t h is cou n t r y we h a ve seen t h is over t h e la st few yea r s, for exa m ple in t h e h u ge in cr ea se in gover n m en t a ppetit e for da t a on pu pils a n d n ow a lso on t ea ch er s t h r ou gh t h e sch ool wor k for ce cen su s.

We a lso see it in t h e en or m ou s in cr ea se in t h e n u mber s of a ccou n t a bilit y a n d in t er ven t ion m ech a n ism s: for exa m ple, Sch ool Im pr ovem en t P a r t n er s, Lon don Ch a llen ge wh ich h a s become Na t ion a l Ch a llen ge, t h e expa n sion of t h e OFSTE D r em it t o in clu de ever y a ccou n t a bilit y ch a n n el so t h a t OF STE D is n ow a su per a ccou n t a bilit y ch a n n el for pa ssin g ju dgemen t on pa r en t s a n d on gover n or s a n d ot h er t ypes of su ppor t t o a sch ool. Th is, I t h in k, a ll flows fr om t h is ch a n ge in t h e idea of wh a t gover n m en t is. Th a t is m y secon d poin t .

Both of t h ose ch a n ges, t h e sh ift in th e con ception of la w a n d t h e sh ift in t h e con cept ion of gover n m en t , bot h br in g with t h em in cr ea sed in flexibilit y. Aga in , t h is complem en t s J a mes's poin t - we h a ve ma de, in a dver t en t ly, a n im m en sely in flexible system . On e of t h e biggest exa mples of in flexibilit y I t h in k a t t h e m om en t is t h e Na tion a l Cu r r icu lu m . By defin in g t h e cu r r icu lu m in su ch deta il a n d r equ ir in g su ch br ea dt h , a n d pa r t icu la r ly r equ ir in g su ch a h u ge r a n ge of post 14 cou r ses t o be offer ed in a ll sch ools, we a r e cu r r en t ly vir t u a lly r u lin g ou t th e k in d of sm a ll sch ools t h a t m a n y or ga n isa t ion s wou ld like to be r u n n in g r a t h er t h a n ju st t h e t h ou sa n d-pu pil sch ools. On ly wh en t h a t cu r r icu lu m r equ ir em en t is
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sign ifica n t ly r et h ou gh t will it be possible t o in t r odu ce m or e flexibilit y a n d va r iet y in t o t h e sta te syst em .

So th e r esu lt of th e t wo t r en ds I h a ve ju st ou t lin ed h a s obviou sly been a n en or m ou s in cr ea se in legisla t ion . Now, I h a ve t o be fa ir : it is n ot a ll ba d. Som e good t h in gs h a ve flowed fr om t h is. Th er e h a s been a r ea lly ser iou s a ttem pt to m a k e a n edu ca t ion syst em t h a t pr ovides pr oper ly for a ll ch ildr en a n d t h a t t r ies, a n d I pu t t h e st r ess on ‘t r ies', t o elim in a te t h e cu r se of low a spir a t ion s. It is t r u ly depr essin g t o visit a sch ool wh er e t h e expecta t ion s of ch ildr en of per fectly n or m a l a bilit y a r e m iser a bly low, a n d wh er e a ctu a l pr ogr ess m a t ch es m iser a ble expecta t ion s.

Th ese m ech a n ism s h a ve don e som et h in g t o m a r gin a lise sch ools t h a t t h in k like t h a t , a n d t o st a r t pu sh in g t h em t o a ch ieve m u ch mor r e. An d a lso th er e h a s been a ser iou s a t t em pt t o r edu ce t o a m in im a l level t h e pr opor t ion of ch ildr en wh o a r e edu ca ted in ser iou sly su bst a n da r d sch ools.

A gr ea t pr oblem is th a t you r ea lly ca n n ot t ell h ow su ccessfu l t h is h a s been , beca u se of gr a de in fla t ion a n d con st a n t ch a n ges in t h e wa y t h a t OF STE D looks a t sch ools. So I do n ot th in k t h er e a r e a n y st a t ist ics t h a t r ea lly t ell you h ow m a n y m or e or fewer ba d sch ools t h er e a r e t h a n t h er e wer e t en yea r s a go, or a t a n y ot h er poin t .

An d I do n ot kn ow wh et h er t h is is a blessin g or n ot , bu t clea r ly t h er e h a s been a gr ea t dea l of wor k on t r yin g t o m a ke sch ools a n implem en t a t ion lever for ever y policy th a t r ela t es t o ch ildr en a n d for a lot of ot h er s t h a t do n ot pa r t icu la r ly – I a m t h in kin g of t r a vel pla n s, h ea lt h pr omot ion , equ a lit y pr omot ion , comm u n it y coh esion , en vir on m en t a l pr ot ection . P er h a ps a m ixed blessin g over a ll, a lth ou gh I ca n see t h a t loca l a u t h or it ies h a ve been a ble t o t ick a lot of boxes in r ela t ion t o

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t a r get s t h ey been given , by u sin g sch ools a s ch a n n els. Wh eth er t h a t h a s h elped edu ca tion is a n ot h er ma t t er .

So n ow, a n d t h e list is lon ger h er e, I wou ld like t o come on t o wh a t I see a s som e of t h e dr a wba cks; I got t o t en wit h ou t h a vin g t o t h in k t oo lon g a n d h a r d. I will t r y n ot t o spen d t oo lon g on t h ese beca u se I t h in k t h e m or e in t er estin g t h in g is wh y does it m a t ter a n d wh a t ca n we do a bou t it ?

F ir st of a ll, t h e dist r a ction effect. Th e m ost im por t a n t dr iver s of ou t comes in sch ools a r e t ea ch er s a n d t h e t ea ch in g a n d th e lea r n in g in t h e cla ssr oom . Bu t m ost legisla t ion t a kes you r a tt en t ion a wa y fr om t h e cla ssr oom , t a kes t h e con ver sa t ion a wa y fr om ch ildr en a n d t h eir lea r n in g t owa r ds sa fegu a r din g or da ta collection or pa r tn er sh ips or wh a t ever else it a s a im ed a t - a lmost a n yth in g except t h e t h in gs t h a t you wou ld wa n t you r sta ff t o be t a lkin g a bou t. On e of t h e t h in gs a t we a r e t r yin g to do a t ARK is t o or ga n ise ou r st r u ctu r es a n d pr ocesses a n d syst em s t o m a ke t h e con ver sa t ion s in t h e sch ool a s mu ch a bou t t ea ch in g a n d ch ildr en a s t h ey possibly ca n be. Beca u se we th in k t h a t ever yt h in g else is per iph er a l t o t h a t .

Secon dly, complexit y. It t a kes a lot of men t a l ba n dwidt h t o dea l wit h complexit y. If you h a ve in credibly det a iled r u les a n d t h ey ch a n ge con st a n tly, wh o in sch ools is su pposed t o be a ble to follow a n d keep t r a ck of a ll t h e ch a n ges a n d pr even t people fr om t r ippin g u p? We do n ot h a ve t h ose people in ou r sch ools. I a m t h e n ea r est t h in g we h a ve a t ARK to t h is per son a n d I ca n n ot begin t o st a y on t op of ever yt h in g t h a t flows t h r ou gh .

An d som et im es, r u les a r e m a de wh ich do n ot sa y wh a t t h eir m a ker s in t en ded t h em t o m ea n , bu t wh er e you fin d you r self bein g told by gover n m en t , "it mea n s wh a t we wa n t it t o mea n ". Th a t is n ot a gr ea t position fr om wh ich t o est a blish a set t led, secu r e fr a mewor k in wh ich sch ools ca n oper a t e a n d do well.
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On e of t h e m ost su r pr isin g illu st r a t ion s of th e pr oblem of excessive complexit y is t h e a t t it u de of OF STE D t o a ca dem ies. Aca dem ies, like it or n ot , h a ve a r a t h er differ en t set of lega l a n d con t r a ctu a l obliga tion s fr om m a in t a in ed sch ools. OF STE D h a s ju st ch osen t o ign or e t h ese complet ely, per h a ps beca u se it ca n n ot cope wit h t h e a dded complexit y. It will n ot look a t t h e obliga t ion s in a n a ca dem y fu n din g a gr eem en t , it will n ot con sider t h eir legisla t ive differ en ces. It sim ply in spects a ca dem ies a s t h ou gh t h ey wer e ma in t a in ed sch ools. Th is is pa r ticu la r ly sign ifica n t in r ela t ion to t h e cu r r icu lu m a n d gover n a n ce of a ca dem ies, wh er e a ca demies a r e su pposed t o h a ve sign ifica n t fr eedom s t o in n ova t e bu t wh er e t h e fr eedom s a r e a ll bu t obliter a t ed by t h is OF STE D a ppr oa ch .

A t h ir d fa ctor is cost . Obviou sly dea lin g wit h a ll t h is la w a n d r egu la t ion t a kes a lot of m a n h ou r s, a n d st a ff t im e ca r r ies a cost . I h a ve n o det a iled costin g t o t a lk a bou t so will sa y n o mor e h er e.

An d t h en a ft er cost , t h er e is t h e con fu sion of r espon sibilit ies. Wh en you legisla t e m or e a n d m or e du t ies a n d r espon sibilit ies to mor e a n d mor e people, in evit a bly t h ey begin t o over la p. On e exa m ple is t h e r espon sibilit y t h a t h a s been given t o loca l a u t h or it ies t o en su r e t h e im plem en ta t ion of ch ildr en 's pla n s: h ow fa r do t h ey h a ve t o go? Som e loca l a u th or it ies a r e in ter pr et in g th is a s m ea n in g t h a t t h ey h a ve t o t r a ck, in r ela t ion t o a ca dem ies in t h eir a r ea , ever yt h in g t h a t t h ey t r a ck for a m a in t a in ed sch ool. Bu t h old on . We a r e t h e a ca dem y oper a t or s, we a r e r espon sible for t h ese sch ools, we h a ve t o t r a ck t h e th in gs t h a t t h e la w r equ ir es u s t o tr a ck, so t h is is lea din g t o dir ect du plica t ion a n d pot en tia lly con fu sion a bou t wh o is u lt im a t ely r espon sible. Ma kin g t wo people r espon sible for t h e sa m e t h in g is r a r ely a good idea .

A fift h pr oblem wit h t oo m u ch la w is t h e loss of lin ka ge of t h e im plem en t a t ion of legisla t ion wit h it s pu r pose. I t h in k commu n it y coh esion is a fin e exa mple of t h is. I wen t t o on e of th e or igin a l pr esen ta t ion s on comm u n it y coh esion given by
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t h e t ea m t h a t design ed it a t t h e DCSF . An d it wa s a ll a bou t t h e pr oblem s of u n in t egr a t ed m in or it ies in cer t a in pa r t s of th e UK. So Br a dfor d wa s given a pr im e exa m ple, a pla ce wh er e t h er e is h igh dem ogr a ph ic segr ega tion a n d so ch ildr en fr om m in or ities ca n gr ow u p with a lm ost n o con t a ct wit h m a in st r ea m Br itish societ y. Th e comm u n it y coh esion obliga t ion wa s dr ea m ed u p a s a wa y of en su r in g t h a t ver y segr ega t ed sch ools wor k wit h oth er sch ools, with ot h er or ga n isa t ion s, t o develop som e cr oss-cu ltu r a l u n der sta n din g. All well a n d good. Bu t wh a t wa s en a cted wa s a du t y on a ll sch ools t o pr om ote comm u n it y coh esion . Th is a pplies even t o t h or ou gh ly m ixed sch ools in th or ou gh ly m ixed a r ea s wh er e t h er e is n o pr oblem t o t a ckle, a n d yet t h ese sch ools a r e r equ ir ed t o pr odu ce ela bor a t e pla n s, eviden ce of t h eir im plemen t a t ion a n d go t h r ou gh a ser ies of a ctivit ies yea r a ft er yea r t o sh ow t h a t t h ey a r e complyin g wit h t h is la w. Th er e a r e pla ces wh er e t h is a s a n a ctivit y m a y h a ve im m en se va lu e, bu t I kn ow t h a t in m ost of ou r sch ools it is a ddin g n ot h in g to edu ca t ion . It is a decor a t ion on t h e su r fa ce of edu ca tion .

An ot h er r ea l da n ger wit h excess legisla t ion is t h a t you lose you r discr im in a t ion bet ween t h e ser iou s a n d t h e t r ivia l. Un like cr imin a l la w, edu ca t ion la w does n ot come wit h t a r iffs for con viction . It is pr ett y ea sy t o wor k ou t t h a t m u r der is m or e ser iou s t h a n kn ockin g down a bolla r d, beca u se you kn ow t h a t for m u r der you get life a n d for kn ockin g down th e bolla r d you m igh t get fin ed £150. E du ca t ion la w is n ot lik e t h a t . If you ca n n ot do ever yt h in g well, t h er e is n o ch a n ce of pr ior it isin g obliga t ion s. If you t h in k a bou t t h is in t h e bu sin ess wor ld, t h e a bilit y t o pr ior it ise a n d pu t t h in gs on on e side is in cr edibly im por t a n t. If you h a ve a st r u gglin g bu sin ess, h ow do you t u r n it a r ou n d? You do it t ypica lly by sim plifyin g, by cu t t in g down t h e n u m ber of pr odu ct lin es you ca r r y, by r edu cin g t h e n u m ber of sh ops in you r ch a in . Depen din g u pon t h e bu sin ess a n d t h e n a t u r e of t h e pr oblem t h er e is a wh ole ser ies of differ en t t h in gs you m a y do. Bu t by legisla t in g for sch ools t o do a bsolu t ely ever yt h in g, we h a ve pu t t r ou bled sch ools in a posit ion wh er e t h ey ca n n ot sim plify t h eir ta sks, so t h a t t h ey ca n n ot wor k
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t h em selves ou t of t r ou ble. P a r a doxica lly, t h e legisla tion t h a t wa s in t en ded t o h elp r a ise st a n da r ds ca n som etim es m a ke it h a r der for sch ools t o pu ll t h em selves u p fr om t h e bot t om .

Th a t is six effects: t h e seven t h is loss of ca pa cit y. Com plex r egu la t ion dr ives ca pa cit y ou t of m a r ket s. Th e oper a t or s wh o ca n n ot cope with it ca n n ot con t in u e. Th is wa s seen in ca r e h om es for t h e elder ly a few yea r s a go a n d I th in k it is been seen r ecen t ly wit h t h e im posit ion of t h e E a r ly Yea r s Fou n da t ion Sta ge. I looked u p th e sta t ist ics on ch ildm in der s t h is a ft er n oon a n d th e n u m ber of r egist er ed ch ildm in der s h a s dr opped by 20% over t h e la st t h r ee yea r s a ft er bein g ver y fla t for a n u m ber of yea r s. Given t h e complexit y a n d bu r ea u cr a cy of t h e E YF S, per h a ps it is m or e su r pr isin g t h a t 80% h a ve su r vived so fa r .

Seven a n d st ill goin g on t o n u m ber eigh t. Th is is t h e in t im ida t ion fa ctor over zea lou s en for cem en t of la w does in timida te people a n d r edu ces t h eir ca pa cit y t o a ct. Th er e is a won der fu l edu ca t ion exa m ple h er e, wh ich is t h e OF STE D Self-E va lu a t ion For m . It ma y be a good t h in g in pr in ciple, bu t OF STE D wa s r ecen t ly cr iticised qu it e st r on gly by t h e Ch ildr en 's Sch ools a n d F a m ilies Select Com m it t ee for it s in flexibility a n d h ea vy-h a n dedn ess in r ela t ion t o sch ool self-eva lu a t ion

On e is a lwa ys t old wh en n ew la ws a n d procedu r es a r e in t r odu ced t h a t t h ey will be a pplied sen sit ively a n d pr a gm a t ica lly in t h e con t ext of cir cu m st a n ces, bu t on e of ou r sch ools ver y r ecen t ly h a d a fu ll in spection wit h in six weeks of open in g, a n d wa s cr it icised a t a n in spection m eet in g for n ot h a vin g complet ed a fu ll self-eva lu a t ion with a ll th e su ppor t in g eviden ce OFSTE D r equ ir es. Now in t h e r ea l wor ld, wh en you a r e six weeks in t o a n ew sch ool or a n ew oper a t ion of a n y k in d, you a r e st ill wor kin g t h r ou gh you r la u n ch pla n , you a r e n ot sit t in g down t o cr ea t e a n ela bor a t e self-eva lu a t ion docu men t wit h file a ft er file of ‘eviden ce'. Th e u n r ea list ic expecta t ion h er e sh ows t h e sor t of in flexibilit y a n d t u n n el m in d-set
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t h a t is developin g. Th er e is n o qu est ion th a t OFSTE D h a s become in tim ida t or y t o sch ools, on t h is a n d ot h er fr on t s.

On t o n u m ber n in e. An over -pr escr ipt ive a ppr oa ch t o legisla t ion len ds it self t o m isu se by gover n m en t t o ju st ify it s a ction s.

Does a n ybody r em em ber t h e a dm ission s sca n da ls two or t h r ee yea r s a go? Lot s of E d Ba lls comm en t in t h e pa per s. Sh ockin g fa cts, big a n n ou n cem en t , m edia sa t u r a t ion , on e sixt h of sch ools n a t ion a lly a r e in br ea ch of t h e a dmission s code. A lot of fu ss wa s m a de a bou t it a t t h e t ime. We n eed tigh t er r egu la t ion , we n eed a m or e r estr ictive code, we n eed m or e m on it or in g. Well it wa s a ctu a lly n oth in g of t h e k in d. I du g ou t th e spr ea dsh eet t h a t wa s posted on th e DCSF websit e a t t h e t im e a n d I fou n d th e wh ole t h in g wa s ba sed on a r eview of th e policies in t h r ee loca l a u t h or it ies. An d in fa ct, t wo t h ir ds of t h e sch ools bein g demon ised h a d sim ply fa iled t o ma ke m in or u pda t es t o t h eir a dm ission s policy wor din g for ch ildr en in ca r e a n d wit h specia l edu ca t ion a l n eeds, t o r eflect ch a n ges in t h e la w. It wa s t r ivia l a n d it did n ot a ctu a lly a ffect wh o wa s a dm it t ed beca u se t h e la w wa s t h e la w. Th ose ch ildr en st ill get t h e st a t u t or y pr ior it ies. Th e policies ju st did n ot qu it e m a t ch th e n ew wor din g.

So th a t left 6% of sch ools, n ot on e-sixth , a n d of t h is 6%, 2% wer e sch ools th a t h a d a pr ior it y for you n ger siblin gs, a s I men t ion ed ea r lier . Not t h e m ost wicked t h in g in t h e wor ld, a n d som eth in g ea sily dea lt wit h ou t mor e la ws or m or e m on it or in g. 2% wer e J ewish sch ools a n d t h er e is a kn ot t y pr oblem h er e beca u se t h e J ewish a ppr oa ch t o fa it h a dm ission s does n ot seem t o fit well wit h t h e Adm ission s Code. It is a ver y difficu lt a r ea bu t it is on e t h a t n eeds t o be a ddr essed explicit ly, n ot bu r ied in bla n ket r h etor ic. On ly 2% of sch ools h a d a n y ot h er k in d of br ea ch of t h e Adm ission s Code in t h eir policy, a n d m ost of th ese did n ot a ffect wh o wa s a dm it t ed.

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Non e of t h is det a il wa s m en t ion ed in t h e pr ess r elea se or in a n y of t h e comm en t a t t h e t im e, a n d u n for t u n a t ely n on e of t h e jou r n a list s picked u p on it eith er , bu t t h e spin a n d distor t ion ga ve t h e gover n men t a ppa r en t ju st ifica t ion for a wh ole la yer of a ddit ion a l complexit y a n d con t r ol t h r ou gh a n ew Adm ission s Code t h t a r ea lly wa s n ot ju st ified.

My ver y la st dr a wba ck, a n d a s a dir ector of New Sch ools Net wor k I a m a lwa ys con cer n ed a bou t t h is on e, is t h a t excessive r egu la t ion in crea ses ba r r ier s to en t r y. Th is is n ot n ecessa r ily im por ta n t if you a r e n ot in ter est ed in to open in g u p a m a r ket t o n ew pr ovider s, bu t if you a r e it is ver y im por t a n t in deed. In a n y in du st r y it is well kn own t h a t a complex r egu la t or y en vir on m en t crea t es sign ifica n t ba r r ier s t o en t r y, wh ich is wh y t h e big oper a tor s in a ma r ket a r e oft en pr ett y h a ppy t o go a lon g wit h h igh r egu la t ion beca u se t h ey kn ow t h a t it en t r en ch es t h eir a dva n t a ge. My per son a l view is th a t t h e ba r r ier s t o en t r y in edu ca tion in m ost t h ou gh , n ot a ll r espects, sh ou ld be sign ifica n t ly lower .

So, I feel pr ett y st r on gly, a s you will h a ve ga t h er ed, t h a t t h e a dver se effects of h ea vily r egu la t ed en vir on men t s sign ifica n t ly ou t weigh th e ben efit s. I h a ve n ot even t ou ch ed on t h e exten t t o wh ich it de-skills people, lea ds t o t h e loss of ju dgem en t or t o people n ot developin g ju dgem en t t h r ou gh exper ien ce a s you wou ld wa n t t h em t o.

I t h in k I wou ld ca tegor ise t h e r a t ion a l r espon ses t o t h e cu r r en t syst em a s eit h er

t o become pa n icked, a n d fla p h elplessly

t o become obsessive, cra wlin g t h r ou gh t h e r u les wit h on e's h ea d per m a n en t ly down , so th a t on e n ever sees t h e wood fr om t h e t r ees, or

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t o become r eckless a n d sa y in effect, ‘t h e h ell wit h it . I do n ot h a ve t im e for a ll t h is, I a m ju st goin g to get on a n d do wh a t I kn ow is r igh t a n d a ccept t h e in evit a ble t r ips t h a t will come with t h a t '.

Non e of t h ese r espon ses is idea l, a n d I t h in k it is r a t h er u n for t u n a t e th a t we h a ve a syst em t h a t pu sh es people in t o on e of t h ose position s.

So wh a t n eeds t o h a ppen , wh a t ca n we do a bou t it ? On e of t h e in t er est in g t h in gs I h a ve oft en h ea r d polit icia n s sa y is t h a t t h ey ca n n ot get su ggest ion s fr om people a s t o wh a t r egu la t ion s t h ey wou ld a ctu a lly like t o r emove.

An d I fou n d t h is odd a t fir st bu t on r eflect ion I t h in k it is n ot su r pr isin g a t a ll. Beca u se few la ws a r e in t h em selves so obviou sly ba d th a t people will st a n d u p a n d sa y "t h is sh ou ld n ot be en a cted". An d it is oft en ver y ea sy t o vilify som ebody for opposin g a bill. So, con sider for exa m ple t h e r ecen t la ws r equ ir in g a ll pu blic bodies to pr om ote ever y kin d of equ a lit y. Th er e is a lr ea dy a sign ifica n t body of equ a lit y legisla t ion in pla ce. Th is wa s a fu r th er la yer of legisla tion r equ ir in g pu blic bodies n ot ju st t o obser ve bu t t o pr om ot e equ a lit y. I t h in k it r ea lly st em med fr om pr oblem s in th e police for ce, wh er e t h er e wer e clea r ly som e ver y du biou s pr a ctices a n d wa ys of t h in kin g a bou t r a cia l issu es. Bu t I ca n n ot see t h a t t h er e wa s a n y r ea son t o t h in k th a t t h ose pr oblem s ext en ded t o edu ca t ion . So if t h er e wa s n ot a pr oblem in sch ools in r ela t ion t o a sen sible a n d ba la n ced a ppr oa ch ed t o equ a lit y, wh y a dd on a n oth er la yer of obliga t ion s? Bu t yet if som eon e h a d st ood u p a n d sa id "we do n ot t h in k t h is la w sh ou ld be pa ssed", h e or sh e so ea sily h a ve been pa in t ed a s a villa in a n d kn ocked down : "look, sh e opposes equ a lit y, sh e does n ot su ppor t equ a lit y, h ow ca n you list en t o a n yt h in g t h is per son h a s t o sa y".

An ot h er exa m ple is t h e du t y th a t h a s been im posed on sch ools t o cooper a t e in t h e im plem en t a tion of loca l a u th or it y Ch ildr en 's Pla n s. Th is wa s a ctu a lly
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opposed by som e civil ser va n ts a t t h e DCSF wh o r ecogn ised qu it e r igh t ly, t h a t t h is wa s r e-im posin g loca l a u t h or it y con tr ol on sch ools t h r ou gh a ba ck door . E d Ba lls pu t it t h r ou gh n on et h eless. Bu t wh y did it go t h r ou gh wit h so lit t le pu blic commen t ? Well, wh o wou ld wa n t t o st a n d u p pu blicly a n d a ppea r t o sa y t h a t t h ey wer e opposed t o sch ools co-oper a t in g wit h Ch ildr en 's P la n s? Wh ich of cou r se is n ot wh a t t h ey wou ld r ea lly h a ve been sa yin g, bu t is h ow t h ey wou ld h a ve been ch a r a cter ised.

So, I t h in k t h er e is on ly on e t h in g t h a t you ca n sen sibly do wh ich is, a n d t h e a n a logy goes ba ck t o t h e bu sin ess wor ld, wh ich is t o a pply zer o-ba sed r egu la t or y r eview, t o cou n t er ba la n ce t h a t con st a n t pr essu r es t o in cr ea se t h e size of t h e legisla t ive m ou n t a in . I t h in k t h er e is n o su bst it u t e for goin g ba ck per iodica lly a n d look in g a t t h e body of la w fr om t h e gr ou n d u p a n d a pplyin g a r ea lly st r in gen t t est t o det er m in e wh ich sh ou ld be r et a in ed.

An d t h e r igh t t est is n ot ‘Is t h e pu r pose of t h is la w good?' Beca u se pr a ctica lly ever yt h in g wou ld pa ss t h a t t est. Nor cou ld you even sa y "Is it doin g som e good?" Beca u se t h e r ea lit y is t h a t a gr ea t dea l of la w is doin g som e good, bu t m or e h a r m t h a n good. So t h e fa ct th a t it is doin g some good is n ot en ou gh .

I wou ld a r gu e t h a t you n eed a t est mor e a lon g t h e lin es of "cou ld we possibly su r vive wit h ou t it" on th e ba sis t h a t if we cou ld, t h en it pr oba bly sh ou ld n ot be t h er e.

I a pplied t h is t o t h e cu r r en t edu ca t ion bill, a n d a s fa r a s I ca n see n on e of t h e m a in cla u ses in wou ld su r vive t h a t t est . H a ppily I t h in k it is u n likely t o be pa ssed.

So su m min g u p ver y br iefly, a s I ca n see t h a t I h a ve a lr ea dy been spea kin g for t oo lon g, th e t h in gs t h a t I wou ld like t o see gover n m en t doin g a r e:
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F ir st of a ll, m ovin g ba ck t o con ceivin g it self a s en a blin g r a t h er t h a n con t r ollin g.

Secon dly, en cou r a gin g t h e r igh t a ccou n t a bility t o flow t h r ou gh t h e r igh t ch a n n els. If you h a ve t oo ma n y a ccou n t a bilit ies, too m a n y people lookin g a t t h e sa m e t h in gs, you a ctu a lly dis-em power th e people wh o sh ou ld be exer cisin g a ccou n t a bilit y. So t oo m u ch power t o OFSTE D a ctu a lly disempower s pa r en ts. It r edu ces t h eir r ea l sh a r e of voice in wh a t h a ppen s in sch ools, a n d t h er e a r e m a n y t h in gs wh er e pa r en t s ou gh t t o be t h e m ost power fu l voices.

An d t h ir dly, du m p t h e m ispla ced in t er pr et a t ion of ega lit a r ia n ism t h a t h a s been t h e ju st ifica t ion for bu ildin g so m u ch of th is in flexibilit y in t o t h e syst em . Th e idea t h a t ever ybody sh ou ld h a ve a s n ea r ly possible exa ctly t h e sa m e exper ien ce, wh a t ever t h eir edu ca t ion a l n eeds. Th is h a s been r espon sible for u n t old da m a ge a n d h u ge cost s, m on ey t h a t cou ld h a ve been so m u ch bet t er spen t elsewh er e. I will ju st m en t ion on e of t h e m ost depr essin g qu ot es I h a ve ever r ea d: in a book by H a r r y Br igh ou se, a ph ilosoph er of edu ca t ion . H e r efer r ed t o compu lsor y edu ca tion a s "15,000 h ou r s in wh ich ch ildr en ca n n ot ben efit fr om t h e a dva n t a ges of t h eir ba ckgr ou n d". An d I t h ou gh t t h a t wa s t h e m ost ba ck-t o-fr on t wa y of t h in k in g a bou t edu ca tion I h a d ever en cou n t er ed. I wou ld like a r ea l r e-t h in k of h ow we con ceive of edu ca t ion a n d a n edu ca t ion syst em t h a t m igh t deliver t h e k in d of ou t comes t h a t we wou ld a ll like to see.

ƒƒƒ

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Professor Richard Pring

P r ofessor Rich a r d P r in g, P h L (Gr egor ia n , Rom e), BA (U CL), P h D (Lon don ). H on ou r s: Ben e Mer en t e Meda l (P ope P iu s XII, 1959), H on . D.Lit t (U n iver sit y of Ken t , 1984), Aga Kh a n Awa r d of Dist in ction , 2008.

Ret ir ed a ft er 14 yea r s a s Dir ector of t h e Depa r tm en t of E du ca t ion a l St u dies a t Oxfor d Un iver sit y in Ma y 2003. Sin ce 2003, h e wa s Lea d Dir ector of t h e Nu ffield Review of 14-19 E du ca t ion a n d Tr a in in g. Th is wa s a £1,000,000 six yea r pr oject, fu n ded by t h e Nu ffield F ou n da t ion .

Cu r r en t gr a n t of £28,000 wit h P r ofessor An dr ew P olla r d of TLRP (Tea ch in g a n d Lea r n in g Resea r ch P r ogr a m m e) t o fu r t h er t h e wor k of t h e Nu ffield Review.

Sin ce r et ir in g h e h a s complet ed t h e followin g r esea r ch pr ojects in a ddit ion t o t h e Nu ffield Review: t h e eva lu a t ion of t h e Oxfor d Bu r sa r y Sch em e with J oh n F ox, a £125,000 pr oject fu n ded fr om Atla n t ic P h ila n t h r opies, a n d a n eva lu a tion of qu a lit y a ssu r a n ce in 11 Ara b Un iver sit ies, wit h a gr a n t fu n din g of £12,000 fr om t h e UNDP (U n it ed Na t ion s Developm en t P r ogr a m m e).

Resea r ch in t er est s

P h ilosoph y of E du ca t ion ;

Review of E du ca t ion a n d Tr a in in g 14-19 (Nu ffield Fou n da t ion fu n ded)

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F a it h ba sed sch ools (a r isin g fr om t h e Lever h u lm e Fellowsh ip, 2003/4, a n d fr om wor k with t h e Aga Kh a n Un iver sit y's In st it u t e for t h e St u dy of Mu slim Civilisa tion s)

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Rethink the aim of education: the need for a broader vision of learning

Th u r sda y 17 t h Sept em ber 2009

© Richard Pring, September 2009

Introduction: a bit of history

Th e Nu ffield Review of 14-19 E du ca t ion a n d Tr a in in g en t it led E du ca t ion for All wa s pu blish ed in J u n e. Th e t it le, t h ou gh n ot pa r t icu la r ly dr a m a tic, is n ot in sign ifica n t , beca u se th e Review is t h e most compr eh en sive exa m in a t ion of t h is ph a se of edu ca t ion sin ce t h e Cr owt h er Repor t F ift een t o E igh t een , pu blish ed exa ctly 50 yea r s a go. An d t h e Cr owt h er Repor t wou ld n ot seem , a t fir st gla n ce, t o believe in ‘edu ca t ion for a ll'.

As a n ewly a ppoin t ed Assist a n t P r in cipa l to t h e F E I Br a n ch of t h e, th en , Min ist r y of E du ca t ion in Cu r zon St r eet , I clu t ch ed t h e Cr owt h er Repor t t o m y br ea st – it wa s ‘t h e bible' wh ich sh owed th e wa y for wa r d. In deed, it wa s a gr ea t st ep for wa r d:

it a r gu ed for t h e r a isin g of t h e sch ool-lea vin g a ge t o 16, a lt h ou gh t h a t wa s a lso t h e expecta t ion of t h e F ish er Act in 1918 a n d of t h e E du ca t ion Act in 1944.

it r ecomm en ded t h a t t h er e sh ou ld be a n ew exa m in a t ion for som e of t h e 80 per cen t wh o wer e deem ed n ot clever en ou gh t o t a ke t h e Gen er a l Cer tifica t e of E du ca t ion ‘O Level'.

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in pa r t icu la r , it offer ed a ‘t ech n ica l a lter n a t ive' a lon gside t h e a ca dem ic r ou t e wh ich wa s r eser ved for th e sma ll gr ou p of su it a bly a ble st u den t s. Th e pr a ctica l lea r n in g ga in ed t h r ou gh a ppr en t icesh ip t o a n em ployer wou ld be complem en t ed by da y-r elea se to fu r th er edu ca t ion colleges. Th er e, t h e t h eor y wh ich en h a n ced t h e pr a ctice wou ld be t a u gh t , a s well a s som e con t in u in g gen er a l edu ca t ion for su ch a ppr en t ices – a n d cer t a in ly on e Wh it e P a per wa s pr odu ced on h ow th a t m igh t be don e.

H owever , t h e Repor t did n ot expect m a n y you n g people t o r em a in in fu ll-t im e edu ca tion a ft er t h e a ge of 16. Nor did it expect m a n y t o lea ve a t 16 wit h a n y qu a lifica t ion . Th e sixt h -for m s in gr a m ma r sch ools a n d t h e pr iva te syst em wou ld pr ovide t h e 10%, or so, of n ew r ecr u it s t o t h e u n iver sit ies; t h er e wou ld be ot h er s (m a in ly gir ls) en cou r a ged t o r em a in in fu ll-t im e edu ca t ion , n ot for t h e pu r pose of st u dyin g A Level, bu t t o r eceive som e for m of gen er a l edu ca t ion befor e en t er in g t r a in in g for t ea ch in g or n u r sin g. It wa s st ill a n a ge wh ich sa w edu ca t ion t o be for on ly ‘h a lf ou r fu t u r e' – t h e t it le of t h e n ext m a jor r epor t .

A n ew exa m in a t ion wa s in t r odu ced, followin g th e 1960 Beloe Repor t . Th e gr ea t m a jor it y wou ld be expected t o lea ve sch ool – lit er a t e a n d n u m er a t e, it wa s h oped – bu t wit h ou t a n y qu a lifica t ion a n d t o ga in em ploym en t in u n skilled jobs, of wh ich t h er e wer e ma n y. An d so t h er e wer e, on ce a ga in , t h e t h r ee t ypes of ch ildr en : t h e a ca demic few (a bou t 20%) for wh om GCE O Levels wer e su it a ble; t h e n ext 40% wh o n eeded a differ en t for m of exa m in a t ion – t h e Cer t ifica t e of Secon da r y E du ca tion (CSE ); a n d t h en t h e r est for wh om t h er e wa s n o n eed of qu a lifica t ion s.

Over t on es h er e of t h e Nor wood Repor t of 1943 – wh ich a r gu ed, ba sed on wh a t wa s sa id t o be ‘t h e n a t u r e of t h e ch ild', t h a t t h er e wer e t h r ee t ypes of ch ildr en , wa r r a n t in g t h r ee types of sch ool – a few wh o wer e ca pa ble of a bst r a ct t h ou gh t

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a n d in ter est ed in idea s; r ela t ively few ot h er s wh o wer e mor e in t er est ed in t h e a pplica t ion of idea s; a n d t h e la r ge m a jor it y wh o wer e m or e con cer n ed wit h pr a ctica l a ctivit ies. So, ba sed on t h e n a t u r e of th e ch ild (so it wa s cla im ed), t h er e wer e t o be t h r ee t ypes of sch ool: gr a m m a r , t ech n ica l a n d secon da r y m oder n . An d t h a t ‘t r ipa r t ite m en t a lity' – t h a t sim plist ic gr a din g of ch ildr en – seem s still t o be wit h u s, a n d in deed r ein for ced by t h e fr a m ewor k of qu a lifica t ion s, t h e m odes of h idden selection a n d t h e pr esen t a n d in t en ded policies of t h e t wo m a jor polit ica l pa r t ies.

An d t h a t r a ises qu est ion s a bou t t h e a im s of edu ca t ion for a ll you n g people. Ca n su ch a im s be differ en tia t ed in t h e wa y in wh ich we h a ve come t o divide you n g people?

Th e fir st ch a pt er of t h e 1963 Newsom Repor t h a d t h e t it le ‘E du ca t ion for All', a n d bega n t o focu s specifica lly on t h e edu ca t ion of pu pils of ‘a ver a ge' a n d ‘less-t h a n -a ver a ge' a bilit y – a t lea st ‘h a lf ou r fu t u r e'. It poin t ed t o t h e implica t ion s of so focu ssin g beca u se ‘below a ver a ge a bilit y' so ea sily su ggest s ‘below a ver a ge people', a s t h ou gh t h e boys a n d gir ls so descr ibed wer e bein g r ega r ded a s gen er a lly in fer ior a n d in some wa y less wor t h edu ca t in g t h a n t h eir ‘a bove a ver a ge' br oth er s a n d sist er s.

Bu t possibly t h e m ost sign ifica n t st a t em en t in t h e Newsom Repor t ca m e fr om t h e t h en Min ist er of E du ca t ion 's F or ewor d t o t h e Repor t . E dwa r d Boyle wr ot e t h a t th e essen t ia l poin t is t h a t a ll ch ildr en sh ou ld h a ve a n equ a l oppor t u n it y of a cqu ir in g in t elligen ce, a n d of developin g t h eir t a len t s a n d a bilit ies to t h e fu ll.

Th e Newsom Repor t , t h er efor e, h a d a vision of edu ca t ion for a ll, r ecogn isin g t h e r a n ge of a bilit ies wh ich n eed t o be n u r t u red, r efu sin g t o equ a t e ‘edu ca t ed' wit h

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a ca demic su ccess so n a r r owly defin ed. Th er e wa s a n eed for a wider vision of lea r n in g.

Toda y, we a r e in deed seein g th e ext en sion of edu ca t ion a n d t r a in in g t o a ll fr om t h e a ge of 16 t o th a t of 18. Bu t wh a t of t h e vision of edu ca t ion for a ll? We st ill h a ve ‘h a lf ou r fu t u r e', wh ich t h e Newsom Repor t spoke a bou t , a n d over t on es of t h e t r ipa r t it e syst em wit h a t h r ee tier fr a m ewor k of qu a lifica t ion s. ‘E du ca t ed' is st ill iden t ified wit h a n a r r ow vision of a ca dem ic su ccess, r eflected in a limit ed k in d of qu a lifica t ion , a n d t h en on ly if cer t a in gr a des a r e t o be r ea ch ed. Th e Sh a dow Secr et a r y of Sta t e for E du ca t ion is pr oposin g t h a t voca t ion a l qu a lifica t ion s sh ou ld n o lon ger ea r n a pla ce in t h e lea gu e t a bles a n d soft su bjects (a r t , dr a m a , per for m in g a r t s) sh ou ld n ot r eceive t h e sa m e r ecogn ition a s ‘h a r d' su bjects (m a th s, E n glish a n d econ om ics). F u r t h er E du ca t ion Colleges, wh ich ext en d t h e h a n d of sa lva tion t o t h ose r ejected by sixth for m s beca u se t h ey a r e lik ely t o depr ess t h e A Level scor es, a r e pla ced low in t h e lea gu e ta ble of A Level r esu lt s – r e-en for cin g t h e view t h a t t h e gen u in e edu ca t ion a l a ch ievem en ts of t h ese you n g people a r e r ea lly bu t a n exa mple of fa ilu r e.

Th e Nu ffield Review, in fa cin g t h ese issu es a n d in en dea vou r in g t o br ea k t h r ou gh t h e ba r r ier s wh ich h a ve been er ected a r ou n d ‘h a lf ou r fu t u r e', sta r t ed wit h a r e-exa m in a t ion of t h e a im s of edu ca tion a n d con clu ded fr om su ch con sider a t ion s t h a t t h er e wa s a n eed for a wider vision of lea r n in g

Educational aims

Un lik e t h e gr ea t r epor t s of th e on ce Cen tr a l Advisor y Cou n cils for E du ca t ion – Cr owt h er , Newsom , Robbin s a n d P lowden – r ecen t gover n men t pa per s pa y lit t le a t t en t ion t o t h e a im s of edu ca t ion , a n d t h u s t o t h e va lu es wh ich sh ou ld sh a pe t h e st a n da r ds t o be a ch ieved, t h e kn owledge t o be t r a n sm it t ed a n d t h e vir t u es t o

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be n ou r ish ed. Of cou r se, t h er e a r e gest u r es in t h is dir ection . Th e 14-19 Skills Wh it e P a per in sists th a t we sh ou ld seek t o r ea lise t h e poten t ia l of a ll you n g people – a n a im r ecen t ly r e-it er a t ed by t h e Secr eta r y of St a t e in r espon se t o t h e Sh a dow Secr et a r y. Bu t su ch a spir a t ion s h a r dly do t h e job. A five yea r old visit or t o ou r h om e clever ly took t h e h a n dker ch ief, u n kn own t o m e, fr om m y pocket , a n d t h en t old m e h e h a d st u ffed it down t h e la va t or y. Sh ou ld we r ea lly be h elpin g h im t o r ea lise h is poten t ia l – a secon d a r t fu l dodger if ever t h er e wa s on e?

Th e pr oblem wit h su ch clich és is t h a t t h ey dodge t h e et h ica l issu es im plicit in t a lk in g a bou t edu ca t in g you n g people. An d yet va lu es a r e em bodied in a ll t h a t we do in seekin g t o edu ca te you n g people. F or exa m ple:

t h e oppor tu n it y n ow for you n g people t o dr op t h e a r t s a n d t h e h u m a n ities a t t h e a ge of 14 so th a t t h ey ca n pu r su e m or e voca t ion a l a ctivit ies em bodies on e u n der st a n din g of wh a t is wor t h lea r n in g (a n d th e r ecen t r epor t by t h e H ist or ica l Associa tion wa r n s t h a t H istor y fa ces extin ction in som e secon da r y sch ools);

t h e pr oposed r e-design a tion of m a t h s, scien ce a n d econ om ics a s ‘h a r d' A Level su bjects' (a n d t h u s wor t h y of gr ea t er r ecogn ition in t h e lea gu e t a bles), in con t r a st t o dr a m a a n d t h e per for min g a r t s wh ich a r e ‘soft ', is a n ot h er view of wh a t is wor t h lea r n in g;

t h e pr ivileged posit ion given t o a ca demic r a t h er t h a n t o pr a ctica l a n d exper ien t ia l lea r n in g is yet a fu r t h er embodim en t of r a r ely qu est ion ed va lu es;

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a n d t h e mode th r ou gh wh ich m er it is r ecogn ised in for m a l a ssessm en t s yet a n ot h er .

An d so t h e Review believed it t o be essen t ia l t h a t it st a r t s wit h t h e qu estion :

Wh a t cou n t s a s a n edu ca t ed 19 yea r old in th is da y a n d a ge?

Wh a t a r e t h e kin ds of kn owledge a n d u n der st a n din g t o be n u r t u r ed, t h e pr a ctica l ca pa bilit ies t o be developed, t h e socia l qu a lit ies t o be en cou r a ged?

E du ca tion is con cer n ed a bou t th e developm en t of per son s, t h u s h elpin g t h em t o a cqu ir e:

t h e k n owledge a n d u n der st a n din g wh ich en a bles t h em t o live fu lly h u m a n lives (or , a s t h e Amer ica n ph ilosoph er J oh n Dewey sa id, ‘t h e in t elligen t m a n a gem en t of life'),

t h e pr a ctica l ca pa bilit ies wh ich en a ble t h em t o flou r ish bot h a s in dividu a ls a n d wit h in t h e br oa der socia l a n d econ om ic comm u n ity;

t h e m or a l ser iou sn ess th r ou gh wh ich t h ey m igh t t h in k r espon sibly a bou t h ow life sh ou ld be lived a n d a bou t t h e big issu es wh ich con fr on t societ y (for exa m ple, socia l ju st ice, r a cism , t h e en vir on m en t a l ch a n ge)

t h e belon gin g to a wider comm u n it y t h r ou gh a ppr opr ia t e a ction s a n d comm it m en t s.

An d a ll t h a t n eeds to be lea r n t t h r ou gh th e in it ia t ion in t o t h e differ en t for m s of k n owledge a n d u n der st a n din g, in t o m or a l t r a dit ion s wh ich ca n so ea sily come t o

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be n eglected, in t o pr a ctices of doin g a n d ma kin g a n d in to civic a n d pu blic t r a dit ion s of ser vice. An in t elligen t u n der sta n din g of th e ph ysica l, socia l a n d econ om ic wor lds we in h a bit, th e pr a ctica l ca pa bilit y for su r vivin g a n d flou r ish in g in t h ose wor lds, m or a l sen sit ivit y a n d ju dgemen t a n d civic r espon sibilit y h a ve t o be lea r n t – a n d ‘lea r n in g' is m or e t h a n a m er e fu lfilm en t of pot en t ia lit y.

P r oblems in im plem en t in g t h is wider vision of lea r n in g

H owever , t h er e a r e t h r ee pr oblem s wh ich u n der m in e t h is br oa der vision of lea r n in g.

F ir st, t h e fa lse dist in ction is ma de, in docu m en t a ft er docu m en t , bet ween a ca demic a n d voca t ion a l a t t a in m en t a n d qu a lifica tion s, t h e la t t er bein g som eh ow in fer ior to t h e for m er – wh a t you do if you a r e n ot ca pa ble of a ca dem ic st u dies. An d yet t h e dist in ction , on closer exa m in a t ion , ca n n ot be defen ded. Is t h e pu r su it of a r t or dr a m a a ca dem ic or voca t ion a l? Well, t h e stu dy of t h e h ist or y of a r t wou ld seem t o be in t h e a ca dem ic ca t egor y, bu t wh a t a bou t doin g a r t ? Wh a t a bou t dr a m a t ic per for m a n ce? Wh a t a bou t t h e wr it in g of poet r y, r a t h er t h a n wr it in g cr itiqu es of ot h er s' poem s? Wh a t a bou t t h e t h ou gh t fu l, t en t a t ive cr ea t ion of a n a r t efa ct in woodwor k? Th e fa lse du a lism bet ween a ca dem ic a n d voca t ion a l h a s h a d t h r ee per n iciou s con sequ en ces:

it h a s dem ot ed t h e a r t s a n d t h e h u ma n it ies in t h e edu ca t ion of you n g people fr om 14 t o 18, t h ey bein g a ble to opt ou t wh er e t h ey ch oose t o pu r su e so-ca lled voca t ion a l opt ion s;

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it h a s h elped m a in t a in t h e t r i-pa r t ite division bet ween differ en t t ypes of you n g people: t h ose ca pa ble of a ca dem ic su ccess, t h ose good a t pr a ctisin g, a n d t h e r est .

Secon d, t h er e is t h e im pover ish ed idea of su ccess especia lly wit h in t h e a ca dem ic t r a dit ion . On e piece of r esea r ch u n der t a ken by t h e Review con sist ed of in t er viewin g over 200 a dm ission s t u t or s fr om 22 u n iver sit ies. All sa id t h a t t h e A Level stu dies did n ot pr epa r e t h em well for u n iver sity st u dies; t h e pr epa r a t ion for t h e t est (wh ich is r eflected in t h e r epor t s of t h e Ch ief In spector for Sch ools) did n ot en a ble t h e su ccessfu l ca n dida t es t o wor k cr it ica lly a n d in depen den t ly wit h in th e u n iver sit y con t ext .

Th ir d, t h is im pover ish m en t of lea r n in g is r eflected in t h e n ew, Or wellia n la n gu a ge of m a n a gem en t of edu ca tion – th a t of in pu t s r ela ted to ou tpu t s, lea r n in g r edu ced to per for m in g in or der to r ea ch pr e-specified t a r get s, a u dit s of t h ose t a r get s or per for m a n ce in dica t or s, tea ch er s a s deliver er s of a cu r r icu lu m developed elsewh er e, lea r n er s a s cu st om er s. Su ch a focu s on m ea su r a ble pr odu ctivit y a n d in st r u m en t a l va lu e of lea r n in g h a s lit tle r oom for t h a t st r u ggle t o u n der st a n d, t h a t explor a t ion of idea s, t h a t tr ia l a n d er r or in exper im en t s or in t h e cr a ft s, or t h a t explor a tion of m ea n in g in life's exper ien ces.

A broader view of learning

La n gu a ge sh a pes ou r exper ien ce. Th e wor ds we u se em body a pa r t icu la r wa y of seein g t h e wor ld, of u n der sta n din g ot h er people a n d th eir r ela tion sh ips a n d of wh a t is wor t h pu r su in g. By a dopt in g t h e la n gu a ge dr a wn fr om bu sin ess m a n a gemen t , we h a ve come t o see lea r n in g su ccess to lie in t h e h itt in g of

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t a r get s, a n d t o see efficien t t ea ch in g t o lie in en a blin g you n g people t o h it t h ose t a r get s. H en ce, t h e con st a n t compla in t of t ea ch er s a n d st u den t s a bou t ‘t r a in in g for t h e t est '. E ven t h ose you n g people wh o su cceed oft en feel disillu sion ed by t h e exper ien ce t h ey h a ve u n der gon e; a s on e 17 yea r old wr ot e t o t h e Review in r espon se t o it s Issu es P a per on a im s a n d va lu es:

F a r t oo oft en in edu ca t ion t h e em ph a sis is on a ch ievin g t a r get s a n d r egu r git a t in g wh a t t h e exa m boa r d wa n ts, a s opposed t o a ctu a lly t ea ch in g ch ildr en som et h in g. As a sixt h for m stu den t m yself, th is fr u str a t es me on a da ily ba sis, especia lly in h ist or y, wh en we m u st lea r n t o wr ite t o t h e specifica t ion s of t h e exa m boa r d, in st ea d of a ctu a lly lea r n in g a bou t th e pa st.

As t h e la n gu a ge of per for m a n ce a n d m a n a gemen t h a s a dva n ced, so we h a ve pr opor tion a t ely lost a la n gu a ge of edu ca tion wh ich r ecogn ises th e in tr in sic va lu e of pu r su in g cer t a in sor t s of qu est ion , of t ryin g to m a ke sen se of r ea lit y (ph ysica l, socia l, econ om ic a n d m or a l), of seekin g u n der sta n din g, of explor in g t h r ou gh lit er a t u r e a n d th e a r t s wh a t it mea n s t o be h u m a n or of cr ea t in g t h r ou gh t r ia l a n d er r or som et h in g n ew wh ich dema n ds t h e a pplica t ion of skill a n d t h e m a st er y of st a n da r ds. H ow differ en t t h e pr ovision of edu ca t ion a n d t r a in in g m igh t be if we em ployed differ en t m et a ph or s, for t h e wor ds we u se em body t h e wa y in wh ich we con ceive t h e wor ld, ot h er people, t h e r ela t ion sh ips bet ween t h em a n d t h e wa y in wh ich t h ey sh ou ld be t r ea t ed.

Initiation into the world of ideas

Th e ph ilosoph er , Mich a el Oa kesh ot t , r efer r ed to edu ca t ion a s a n in it ia t ion in t o t h e wor ld of idea s, a wor ld of idea s wh ich h a d a r isen fr om th e con ver sa t ion

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bet ween t h e gen er a t ion s of m a n kin d, in wh ich t h e you n g per son is in t r odu ced t o t h e differ en t voices in th a t con ver sa t ion – th e voices of poet r y, of scien ce, of h ist or y, of ph ilosoph y. Th er e is a n en ga gem en t between lea r n er s a n d t ea ch er s wh o a r e a ble t o r ela t e th a t con ver sa t ion to t h e in t er est s a n d n eeds of t h e lea r n er .

Th e so-ca lled ‘a ca dem ic lea r n in g' is a t it s best a n in t r odu ction t o t h a t con ver sa t ion – a n a cqu isit ion of t h ose con cept s, idea s a n d modes of en qu ir y t h r ou gh wh ich we h a ve come t o m a ke sen se of t h e wor ld a n d wh ich a r e ca pt u r ed in t h e r espective su bjects. An d t h ese key con cept s a n d idea s ca n be pu t a cross t o a n y ch ild a t a n y a ge a t som e level of u n der st a n din g. Th e cu r r icu lu m , a ccordin g t o J er om e Br u n er , is idea lly spir a l in t h a t it con st a n tly r evisit s t h e key idea s, bu t in a differ en t m ode of r epr esen t a t ion – m ovin g fr om t h a t pr a ctica l a n d exper ien t ia l gr a sp of t h ose idea s t h ou gh a n ever mor e a bst r a ct a n d sym bolic on e.

A good cu r r en t exa m ple of th is wou ld be t h a t of Applied Scien ce. Th is in volves u n der st a n din g scien t ific kn owledge a n d meth ods of scien t ific en qu ir y embodied in t ech n iqu es u sed by scien t ist s. Th ese t ech n iqu es cr oss a r ea s of a pplica t ion (e.g. in t h e u se of m icr oscopes by pu blic a n a lyst s a n d m icr obiologist s). It develops t h is u n der st a n din g t h r ou gh a u t h en t ic wor k-r ela t ed con t ext s (e.g. a doctor or n u r se dea lin g wit h cyst ic fibr osis). It focu ses on people wh o a pply scien t ific tech n iqu es a n d k n owledge, lookin g in t o th e t h ou gh t pr ocesses a n d skills in volved (e.g. qu est ion in g t h e t h eor etica l a n d pr a ctica l lim it a t ion s of a given t ech n iqu e). It pr ovides oppor t u n it y for pr a ctica l pr oblem-solvin g, emph a sisin g a bilit y t o u se t ech n iqu es, skills a n d kn owledge for t a cklin g scien ce-r ela t ed pr oblem s (e.g. in t h e a n a lysis of blood sa m ples in t h e dia gn osis of a n illn ess). It en ga ges wit h con t em por a r y scien t ific issu es, especia lly t h e r ela t ion between scien ce, t ech n ology a n d societ y. An d it r equ ir es h igh -level n u m er a cy beca u se of t h e cen t r a lit y of ‘qu a n t it y' a n d st a t ist ics in t h e wor k-r ela t ed scien ce; a ccu r a te m ea su r em en t is cr u cia l. Applied Scien ce, in em ph a sisin g pr a ctica l a n d

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exper ien t ia l lea r n in g, over comes t h e fa lse du a lism bet ween ‘a ca dem ic' a n d ‘voca t ion a l', a n d h a s led t o a n impr essively la r ge in crea se in t h e n u m ber of you n g people wa n t in g to con t in u e post -16 wit h t h e st u dy of scien ce.

Practical capability

Th a t m et a ph or of t h e ‘con ver sa tion between t h e gen er a tion s of m a n kin d' cou ld be ext en ded t o t h e t r a dit ion s of ‘pr a ctica l ca pa bility' wh ich ca n so ea sily die t h r ou gh n eglect – or be iden t ified wit h t h e voca t ion a l skills a ssocia t ed wit h t h e less a ble. An d in deed t h a t is wh a t is h a ppen in g. Th er e is t h e gr a du a l dem ise of pr a ctica l su bjects in secon da r y sch ools – n o lon ger t h e woodwor k a n d m et a lwor k , t h e t ech n ica l dr a win g wh er e h a n ds a n d br a in st r u ggled cr ea t ively t o m a ke a n object a n d t o m eet dema n din g st a n da r ds. Cooker y beca me dom est ic scien ce. Th e Gen er a l Na t ion a l Voca tion a l Qu a lifica t ion , n ow given wa y t o t h e n ew Diplom a s, fa iled beca u se, a lt h ou gh a im in g t o bu ild on t h e m or e occu pa t ion -r ela ted a n d pr a ctica l in t er est s of you n g people ot h er wise disen ga ged fr om t h e m or e ‘a ca dem ic cu r r icu lu m ', it wa s t h en a ssessed t h r ou gh wr it t en a ssign m en t s. Su ccessfu l ‘doin g' wa s su pposed t o be r eflected in su ccessfu l ‘wr itin g a bou t doin g'.

P r a ctica l kn owledge (k n owin g h ow) ca n n ot be ca pt u r ed in pr oposit ion a l k n owledge (k n owin g t h a t ). Th a t n o dou bt is wh y it su ffer s in a h igh -st a kes a ssessm en t syst em wh ich r equ ir es su ccessfu l lea r n in g t o be a dequ a t ely r eflected in t h e wr it t en wor d – essa ys a n d m u lt i-ch oice qu est ion s. Bu t t h e su ccessfu l ca r pen t er or plu m ber , t h e su ccessfu l en gin eer or a r ch it ect, is dem on st r a tin g a n u n der st a n din g a n d kn owledge wh ich ca n n ot logica lly be r edu ced to pr oposition a l

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k n owledge. P r a ctica l ca pa bilit y is t oo oft en a ssocia t ed wit h voca t ion a l skills – a m ode of lea r n in g for t h e oth er ‘h a lf ou r fu t u r e'.

Bu t t h a t is a t r a gic mist a ke. As t h e Roya l Societ y of Ar t s (wh ich for 250 yea r s h a s st r iven t o br in g t oget h er t h eor y a n d pr a ctice, th in kin g a n d m a kin g, in t ellect a n d sk ill) decla r ed in it s 1986 m a n ifest o, E du ca t ion for Ca pa bilit y,

Th er e exist s in it s own r igh t a cu lt u r e wh ich is con cer n ed wit h doin g a n d m a k in g a n d or ga n isin g a n d t h e cr ea t ive a r t s. Th is cu lt u r e em ph a sises t h e da y t o da y m a n a gem en t of a ffa ir s, t h e for mu la t ion a n d solu t ion of pr oblem s, a n d th e design , m a n u fa ctu r e a n d m a r ket in g of goods a n d ser vices.

Rob Ma t t ock, wh ose fa mily h a s gr own a n d sold r oses for over 100 yea r s, ca pt u r es t h is in h is a ccou n t of wor k wit h a gr ou p of boys in a n Oxfor d pr epa r a t or y sch ool wh ich pr ides it self in it s a ca dem ic su ccesses. Th ese boys wer e in volved in t h e h ybr idisa t ion of r oses, n ot for a n y a ca demic pu r pose – it wa s n ot on t h eir exa m in a t ion pr ogr a m m e.

I sh owed h ow t o cu t off t h e m a le pa r t of th e pla n t (t h e a n t h er s a n d t h e st a m en s) t o lea ve t h e fem a le st igm a . Th e boy a r r ived ba ck wit h a flower fu ll of pollen a n d we br u sh ed it s pollen on t h e st igm a of t h e ot h er . Th a t I expla in ed wa s in ven t ion . We h a d t o ma ke t h e decision of wh ich pollen t o u se, ba sed on wh a t we wa n ted t o cr ea t e. Ba ck t o t h e ga r den s, I expla in ed th a t lookin g a ft er th e pla n t we h a d h ybr idised, t h e cu lt iva tion of t h e pla n t s wa s t h e job of t h e cr a ft sm a n . Th e cr a ft sm a n ta kes h is t im e, h e is m et icu lou s in h is a t ten tion t o det a il a n d it is h is exper ien ce, n ot t h a t of t h e in ven t or , t h a t per m it s th e su ccessfu l ou t come of t h e h ybr idisa t ion , th e n ew pla n t , for wh ich h e m igh t ju st ifia bly feel pr ou d. It is t h a t pr ide in h is wor k t h a t en a bles t h e cr a ft sma n t o in cen t ivise h im self t o do t h e best h e ca n . It is t h a t pr ide in h is wor k t h a t en a bles t h e cra ft sm a n t o r espect n ot on ly

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h is wor k bu t t h a t of ot h er s. Mu t u a l r espect for ea ch ot h er s' wor k is a sou n d, pr a ctica l ba sis for m u t u a l r espect for ea ch ot h er 's cu lt u r es, pa r t icu la r ly for a sch ool fu ll of boys fr om a cr oss t h e wor ld.

Con t a in ed in t h is pa ssa ge a r e ch a r a cter ist ics of pr a ctica l lea r n in g: lea r n in g t h r ou gh doin g a n d exper ien ce, bein g sh own r a t h er th a n bein g t old, deliber a t ion over wh a t is possible a n d wh a t is desir a ble t o cr ea t e, pa t ien ce, pr ide in t h e qu a lit y of wh a t h a s been a ch ieved a n d crea t ed, r espect for ot h er s t h r ou gh t h e en ga gemen t in a comm on a ctivit y. St a n da r ds of su ccess a r e in t r in sic t o t h e a ctivit y. Mot iva t ion lies in su ccessfu l crea t ion , r a t h er t h a n a s a m ea n s t o som e fu r t h er en d su ch a s a qu a lifica t ion . Of cou r se, t h er e is t h e gr owt h of t h eor etica l u n der st a n din g – you ca n 't get fa r wit h ou t u n der sta n din g su ch ba sic con cept s a s m a le st a m en s, fem a le st igm a , h ybr idisa tion , bu t th ese a r e lea r n t wit h in a con t ext, t h e exper ien ce of wh ich gives t h em m ea n in g.

Th ese ch a r a cter ist ics a r e tr u e of t h e cr a ft sm a n – a cqu ir ed th r ou gh t h e t r a dit ion a l a ppr en t icesh ip, a s is sh own by Rich a r d Sen n et t in h is r ecen t book Th e Cr a ft sma n . Th er e, t h r ou gh m a n y exa m ples, h e poin t s t o t h e in t ima t e con n ection bet ween h ea d a n d h a n d, t h e dia logu e between con cr ete pr a ctice a n d t h in k in g, t h e r ela t ion bet ween pr oblem solvin g a n d pr oblem fin din g, th e k n owledge ga in ed t h r ou gh t ou ch . In so a r gu in g, h e cr it icises t h e du a lism bet ween t h eor y a n d pr a ctice wh ich ‘dem ea n s' pr a ctica l a ctivit y ‘divor ced fr om su pposedly h igh er pu r su it s' – a n d cer t a in ly per m ea t in g t h e cu r r icu lu m of ou r secon da r y sch ools (t h ou gh th a t pa r t icu la r poin t is n ot m a de by Sen n et t ).

Sa dly, pr a ctica l lea r n in g is seen in t h e ma in t o be a ppr opr ia t e for t h ose wh o h a ve fa iled a ca dem ica lly. An d yet it is a mode of lea r n in g t h a t open s u p a wa y of k n owin g a n d u n der sta n din g (‘ca pa bilit ies' to u se t h e wor ds of t h e RSA

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Ma n ifest o), a s well a s givin g en t r y t o m or e t h eor etica l u n der st a n din g. Bu t it s a t t a in m en t is t o be sh own in wh a t is don e, n ot in t h e wr it in g a bou t wh a t is don e.

In t h e cou r se of th e Review, we sa w m a n y exa mples of wh er e pr a ctica l en ga gemen t h a d t r a n sfor m ed t h e lives of you n g people ot h er wise, th ou gh by n o m ea n s in ever y ca se, disen ga ged fr om for m a l lea r n in g, fost er ed t h r ou gh th e wor k of th e RSA's Open in g Min ds pr oject, th e Pa u l H a m lyn F ou n da t ion 's Mu sica l F u t u r es, t h e E dge F ou n da t ion 's pr omot ion of pr a ctica l en ga gem en t , F u t u r ela b's E n qu ir in g Min ds, UKSkills' celebr a tion of pr a ctica l kn owledge t h r ou gh skills-ba sed a ch ievem en t (a n d r ecen t ly r ecogn ised in t h eir su ccess in t h e Wor ldSkills Ch a m pion sh ips in Ca lga r y), UK You t h a n d You t h a t Risk. Th e t r a in in g pr ovider Skidz pr ovides m ot or mech a n ics a n d veh icle m a in t en a n ce cou r ses for you n g people sen t by t h eir r espective sch ools – m ot iva t in g t h ose you n g people n ot on ly t o r e-en ga ge in edu ca t ion bu t t o wa n t t o con t in u e beyon d t h e a ge of 16.

Th e difficu lt y h owever lies in br in gin g t h ese in n ova t ion s in to m a in st r ea m edu ca tion for a ll – in get t in g r ecogn it ion for pr a ctica l lea r n in g a s pa r t of gen er a l edu ca tion for a ll.

Learning to be human

J er om e Br u n er a r gu ed t h a t t h e cu r r icu lu m , idea lly, sh ou ld a ddr ess t h r ee key qu est ion s:

wh a t m a kes u s h u m a n ?

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h ow did we become so?

h ow m igh t we become m or e so?

In a n swer in g t h ose qu est ion s, h e sh owed t h e n eed t o dr a w u pon wh a t Dewey r efer r ed t o a s t h e ‘a ccu m u la ted wisdom of th e r a ce' – em bodied in t h e va r iou s or ga n isa t ion s of kn owledge a n d wisdom a s we h a ve in h er ited th em t h r ou gh t h e st u dy of h ist or y, dr a m a , a n t h r opology, t h eology, t h e scien ces, a n d so on . We n eed t o dr a w, t oo, u pon t h e m a n y t r a dit ion s of cr a ft a n d of pr a ctice, a n d u pon t h e m or a l tr a dit ion s t h r ou gh wh ich we h a ve come to see ou r selves a n d ot h er s a s per son s, wor th y of r espect.

Th e m a in pu r pose of t h e a r t s a n d h u m a n it ies, a s t h ey a r e en ga ged wit h t h r ou gh r ea din g, discu ssion a n d per for ma n ce, is to pr ovide t h e cu lt u r a l r esou r ces a n d t h e st im u lu s for a ddr essin g t h ese qu est ion s. Wh a t is t o be lea r n t fr om pr eviou s explor a t ion s in t h e a r t s, dr a m a , lit er a t u r e, poet r y, h ist or y a n d t h eology a bou t wh a t it m ea n s to be h u m a n ? Th e r ecen t Ch a n n el 4 ser ies ‘Ba llet ch a n ged m y life: Ba llyh oo' illu st r a t es wh a t I mea n . Th e Bir min gh a m Roya l Ba llet pr ovided t h e oppor t u n it y a n d t r a in in g for you n g people, disen ga ged fr om edu ca tion a n d in m a n y ca ses in t r ou bled sit u a tion s, t o pa r t icipa t e in t h e ba llet Rom eo a n d J u liet , a n en ga gem en t wit h a cla ssica l ba llet th a t ma y a t fir st sigh t seem r emot e fr om t h eir in t er est a n d exper ien ce. Bu t t h in k a ga in . As t h e Ch a ir of t h e Ar ts Cou n cil a r gu ed:

it wa s a n in spir ed ch oice of st or y: cr oss-st a r r ed lover s, dysfu n ction a l fa m ilies, ga n g wa r fa r e, m a ch o ga m es, self-h a r m , dr u g a bu se a n d kn ife crim e; it h a d t h em a ll.

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Th r ou gh pa r t icipa t ion in ba llet (a n d on e m igh t spea k equ a lly of a ll t h e per for m in g a r t s) so you n g people a r e a ble t o get deeper in sigh t in t o h u m a n r ela tion sh ips a n d em otion s, wh ich a r e en ca psu la t ed by t h ose a r t s, a n d wh ich h a ve a u n iver sa l a s well a s a per son a l dimen sion . Th e eviden ce fr om t h is a n d ot h er in volvem en t s in t h e per for m in g a r ts su ggest s a t r a n sfor ma t ion of h ow you n g people come to see t h em selves, t h eir sit u a t ion s a n d fu t u r e possibilit ies open ed u p. Su ccess lies n ot in pr ovidin g a ba sis for fu t u r e ba llet da n cer s a n d a ctor s, bu t in th e power fu l in sigh t s wh ich t h ey pr ovide.

A fu r t h er exa m ple fr om m or e m a in st r ea m edu ca t ion wou ld be t h a t of t h e H u m a n it ies Cu r r icu lu m P r oject, wh ich u sed t h e dist in ctively h u m a n st u dies a s r esou r ces u pon wh ich t h e lea r n er s wou ld dr a w a s t h ey explor ed issu es of deep per son a l a n d socia l con cer n – socia l ju st ice, r ela t ion sh ips wit h pa r en ts, th e exer cise of a u t h or it y, r a cism , pover t y, r ela t ion s bet ween t h e sexes, a n d so on . Discu ssion wa s cen t r a l, bu t discu ssion ca r efu lly ch a ir ed by th e t ea ch er wh o wou ld in sist t h a t views expr essed wer e r ela ted t o eviden ce t o be fou n d in lit er a t u r e, h ist or y, sociology, t h eology a n d ot h er a r ea s of t h e a r t s a n d h u m a n it ies.

Bu t in bot h t h ese exa mples, it wou ld be tot a lly in a ppr opr ia t e t h en t o gr a de a n d t o pu t in t o h ier a r ch y of competen ce t h e deliber a tion s a n d t r a n sfor m a t ion s wh ich t r a n spir ed. Sh ou ld t h e la dy Ca pu let be given Gr a de A for t h e in sigh t sh e ga in ed in t o h er own feelin gs a bou t h er m ot h er , by wh om sh e h a d been a ba n don ed so m a n y yea r s pr eviou sly?

Wh a t is cen t r a l t o edu ca tin g you n g people t oo oft en get s m a r gin a lised in a syst em wh ich n eeds t o m ea su r e a n d st a n da r dise per for m a n ce a n d wh ich va lu es t h e a t t a in m en t of qu a lifica t ion s over t h e t r a n sfor ma t ion of exper ien ce.

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Conclusion

I h a ve ca lled t h is pa per ‘Th e n eed for a wider vision of lea r n in g', beca u se, in pu r su in g t h e a im of edu ca t ion for a ll, a s t h a t is pr ocla im ed or im plicit in so m a n y pu blica t ion s a n d legisla tion s over th e la st 60 yea r s, we h a ve n ot esca ped fr om a con cept ion of lea r n in g wh ich gu a r a n tees on ly a r ela t ively sm a ll n u m ber will a n d in deed ca n su cceed – n a m ely, t h ose wh o per for m well in a r a t h er n a r r ow u n der st a n din g of a ca dem ic st u dies.

H owever , r eflection on t h e br oa der vision of t h e lea r n in g wh ich en a bles u s t o live fu lly h u ma n lives will sh ow h ow in a dequ a t e t h a t is, n ot on ly in t h e edu ca t ion for a ll, bu t a lso in t h e edu ca t ion for t h ose few wh o a r e deem ed t o su cceed. Su ch lea r n in g mu st embr a ce:

t h e developm en t of u n der st a n din g for t h e in t elligen t m a n a gem en t of life – t h a t in it ia t ion in t o t h e wor ld of idea s, wh ich en a ble u s t o ma ke sen se of t h e socia l, ph ysica l a n d econ om ic wor lds in wh ich we in h a bit ;

t h e pr a ctica l ca pa bilit ies t h r ou gh wh ich we come to u n der st a n d t h e wor ld in a differ en t wa y a n d a ct cr ea t ively with in it ;

t h e u n der st a n din g of wh a t it m ea n s to be h u m a n a n d to live a dist in ctively h u m a n for m of life.

Th is r equ ir es a t r a n sfor m a t ion of ou r edu ca t ion a l idea ls a n d a r efu sa l t o h a ve t h em betr a yed by t h e im pover ish ed la n gu a ge a n d pr a ctices of per for m a n ce m a n a gemen t .

ƒƒƒ

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