GCSE results are out today and I’m sure these will be met with the usual many mixed emotions across the country. The moment you open that envelope will stay with you for many years, in fact, I remember the day I received my results quite clearly.
When we look at the news surrounding ‘education’ there are a plethora of articles about our education system (the framework as opposed to actual learning). What can be seen quite clearly is that our system is going through many changes at the present. We have free schools, the uprising of academies, a new curriculum on the way, with all the arguments about whether our GCSEs and A-levels are too easy, the debate about how and whether phonics is taught, as well as how successful all the different teaching strategies are and which ones to use, a new Oftsed framework and now a new criteria from September.
The big questions are: What is it we want from our schools? What do we want our schools to achieve? Is it all about results?
Ultimately we want our schools to equip our youngsters with the skills and resilience to survive and prosper in a, lets be frank, turbulent and complex world. We want what goes on in our schools to be instilling in young people a confidence to take risks, we want them to challenge and be challenged and so to thrive in life. We then need to be thinking about what our children are going to need in order to achieve this and without doubt this conversation needs to involve teachers, parents, the community and not forgetting the pupils themselves.
I believe there needs to be much more independent learning happening our classes. ‘Building Learning Powers’ in schools is becoming much more widely talked about and is concerned with helping young people to become better learners in school and, just as importantly, out of school. It is about preparing children for being lifelong learners – of course we are all learners! The ethos is: ‘It is about creating a culture in classrooms – and in the school more widely – that systematically cultivates habits and attitudes that enable young people to face difficulty and uncertainty calmly, confidently and creatively’.