Competing against a balmy evening outside, we were delighted to welcome so many people to our debate this week on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and, specifically, the legacy of the 1978 Report of the Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People, otherwise known as the Warnock Report.
The report was hugely significant for how society thought about the education of children with, using the new terminology of the time, ‘special educational needs’ – encouraging these pupils’ inclusion in mainstream schools and pressing for their needs to be met as an entitlement. At the time, its recommendations were radical and, in the words of our first panellist, former Chair in Special Education at the IOE, Klaus Wedell, represented ‘a paradigm shift’. On the report’s 40th anniversary we wanted to reflect on how those recommendations have played out in practice and whether the time is ripe for another enquiry of the same scale and ambition. On the basis of our panellists’ contributions it would seem that it is – and for a paradigm shift that encompasses all pupils. (more…)
Archive for the 'IOE debates' Category
Although estimates of the impact of automation on the labour market vary widely, it is generally agreed that the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, and especially the advance of AI, is set to transform how we live and work. The question we wanted to address in the next in our debates series was what this means for education – particularly, for how we prepare the next generation of citizens and workers to thrive in a very different context. Will the addition of a few more classes on coding and machine learning suffice? To help us in our quest we brought together experts from the fields of education and technology: Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner Centred Design at the UCL Knowledge Lab; Gi Fernando founder and CEO of Freeformers; Professor Mark Bailey, High Master of St Paul’s School; and Baroness Sally Morgan, whose engagement with the education sector ranges across the compulsory and post-compulsory phases. (more…)
Sometimes it’s not just the victory; it’s the manner of the victory.
Just last month, London teacher (and IOE alumna), Andria Zafirakou, beat more than 30,000 entrants to win the Varkey Foundation’s annual Global Teacher prize. Leading the tributes, Theresa May highlighted the qualities of ‘resilience, ingenuity and a generous heart’ that earned Andria the closest thing teaching has to a Nobel Prize – and with it, a nifty $1m.
For all its sincerity, the Prime Minister’s eulogy must jar a little. The English education system, with its obsession with academic performativity, is at best ambivalent towards ‘progressive’ art and textiles teachers like Andria. Had she been nominated for a national ‘best teacher’ prize, adjudicated by May and her education ministers, one can’t help feel she wouldn’t have made it out of the group stages.
Andria, and teachers like her, are motivated not by the numbers game of dragging a proportion of their pupils over some arbitrary – and often slippery – grade boundary, but by how they can change the lives of them as individuals. All the more so if they have the additional challenge of social disadvantage.
The rhetoric of ‘evidence-informed practice’ – or ‘what works’ as it is sometimes known for short – now pervades the school system in England, as it does in many other places. Through our latest IOE debate ‘What if… we really wanted evidence-informed practice in the classroom’, we wanted to look behind the advocacy: where is this agenda taking our education system and the teaching profession in practice? How do we realise the prize and avoid the pitfalls?
We kicked off the debate with an individual at the centre of the what works movement in education, Sir Kevan Collins of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). Sir Kevan set out what was on offer if we truly moved beyond the rhetoric: transparency in place of black boxes; collaboration in place of competition; empowerment over compliance; professional curiosity in place of ritualised behaviours – oh, and an end (more…)
Next up in our ‘What if…’ debates series was the matter of the teaching profession: What if… we wanted to transform teaching as a career choice?. To address this question we had union and think tank representatives in the form of Mary Bousted and Jonathan Simons, and international perspectives from Professor Martin Mills of the University of Queensland (and incoming Director of the IOE’s new Centre for Research on Teachers and Teaching) and Lucy Crehan, author of Cleverlands.
That there is a pressing problem with recruitment to and retention in teaching has become all too evident. Recruitment targets for initial teacher training courses have now been missed for five years in a row, while head teachers have been increasingly vocal about (more…)
Vocational education suffers from its second class status – variously seen as a ‘consolation prize’ and ‘for other people’s children’. It deserves better – for its own sake and for the sake of social justice, but also, as the speakers at the IOE’s second ‘What if…’ event this week noted, for the sake of our economy.
As Tony Little, chief academic officer of GEMS Education and former headmaster of Eton, remarked, ‘we’re preparing our army for the last war’; the economy and labour market are changing fast, and young people need a broader education. As evidenced by November’s Budget and Industrial Strategy, the government itself seems to have woken from its slumber on skills, and vocational education’s time has come (again). We have been here before, of course, so how can things be different this time around?
Also responding to the question, What if… we really wanted to overcome the academic-vocational divide? were (more…)
This week the IOE held the first in our ‘What if…’ events series, which challenges thought leaders to bring some fresh and radical thinking to key debates in education. We kicked off with education’s role in relation to social mobility, asking the panel ‘What if… we really wanted to further social mobility through education?’
First up was Kate Pickett of Spirit Level fame. She rejected the very premise of the question, highlighting the greater impact of wider, pervasive inequalities. Nevertheless, she saw some scope for education policy to help lessen those inequalities – banning private education, randomising school admissions and ending student fees were a few of her recommendations.
Next was James Croft, chair of the Centre for Education Economics. James was more sanguine about what could be achieved through education and ‘working with the grain’ (more…)