Chalk Talk: Lesson one - don't pay too much attention to the Government
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 08 December 2011
To the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust conference in Birmingham, where headteachers were told that they should not take the Government's education reforms too seriously. The exhortation came from Sir Ken Robinson, the international expert on promoting creativity in education, who said that if they wait for government reforms to raise standards, many of their pupils will miss out because they will have left school.
"It's important for people in the profession not to get the Government's role out of proportion," he told me. "They came in with a wave of revolutionary zeal – mainly regressive rather than progressive. However, change is much more sophisticated than waiting for the latest White Paper to raise standards." Instead, they should ensure they have a tailor-made curriculum to develop the needs of each pupil. "Every child has talent," he said. "It's just a question of teasing it out."
Sir Ken chaired a national commission on creativity, education and the economy a decade ago for the then Labour government. He has advised governments around the world on how best to promote creativity in the classroom. In his speech, he also criticised what he sees as an over-concentration on the so-called STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. "As important as they are – and they are – the whole message is that if you're not good at science or technology or these activities then we don't need you at the moment," he said.
But the assembled heads took heart from the fact that the Government didn't matter.
A reflection on the one-day pensions strike last week that was apparently a "damp squib", according to Prime Minister David Cameron. Apparently, support spread to Washington, where there was a picket of the British Embassy organised by the National Education Association, which has 3.2 million members. Meanwhile, we may have somewhat underestimated the strength of Education International last week – which backed the strike. It represents 30 million teachers around the world, not 10 million.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness contradicts athlete version
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
South Korea ferry: Captain Lee Joon-seok could face criminal investigation as over 280 remain missing
Peaches Geldof dead: Private funeral for the family and friends of the socialite will take place next week
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: KS1 KS2 Crewe Teacher Perm Ch...
£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education is the lea...
£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: KS1 KS2 Teaching Cheshire
£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Long term position in large p...