I wanted to update you all on this event, which followed the Education Matters lecture with Teach First on Monday, and to provide a place for those who attended that event to continue the discussion. Drawing on the RSA’s caffeinated origins in 18thcentury London, it was a chance for Fellows and Teach First ambassadors to discuss one of the key questions raised by the event: how can we best judge what makes a successful school?
Attendees contributed responses to this question, which you can see on the ideas wall they created:
You might also want to look at a neatened-up PDF of all the ideas generated.
For those that were there - and those that weren't - what are the things we should be looking for from outstanding schools and outstanding teachers? And are they the things we look for at the moment?
Before we can answer any of these questions we need to consider what education is for. Are we talking about outstanding schools that are getting more students into HE, or an education that feeds the whole child and community, or one that instills a method of life-long learning, encourages autonomy and collaboration or helps all children flourish in their own particular skills / talents? Perhaps we are only talking about a school that is able to give students what they need to be able to become active citizens? Not every school can do all of this, and maybe we wouldn't want them to. Schools are not factories, nor should they be marked as one. Schools, like the children who attend them, are individual and dependent upon their environment, history, and time in which they exist and have existed. And many other things besides. Perhaps the 'one for all' marking system is the problem: both in terms of ofsted and school exams.