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If we could have the education system that we all really wanted for our children, what would it look like? This is a question I often ask of my friends, colleagues and other educational professionals.

Here are my thoughts for what they’re worth:

1.      Teachers require three things in order to achieve greatness: AUTONOMY, more AUTONOMY, and even more AUTONOMY.

2.      Schools need to be safe. The policy of ‘inclusion at all costs’, regardless of an individual’s behaviour, is the single biggest reason for our educational decline.

3.      STEM subjects are not the most important subjects. We need to dismiss this notion of a hierarchy in subject disciplines. The Arts REALLY matter too, for example, particularly if this is the area in which you excel.

4.      Teachers are crying out for schools to be places of genuine engagement and learning once more that are, most importantly, properly resourced and supported and where indiscipline is tackled head-on.

5.      We must worry less about Government’s obsession with meaningless assessment data and concentrate more on individual development.

6.      Consign the notion of ‘success criteria’ to the bin of ‘useless educational jargon’.

7.      A core principle of learning should be a reminder that good examination results are the by-product of a great education, not the end-product.

8.      Schools are often far too large, and many pupils simply get lost in the system. In other words, build more.

9.      If CfE is truly about individual progression and personalization, then students should be able to study the subjects they want to.

10.  Government needs to trust educational leaders and stop interfering in educational policy.

So, that’s my tuppence-worth. What would your list look like? What would be your Number 1?

However, before you consider your own responses, can I take you back to the hugely influential Scottish Advisory Council on Education paper that stated, way back in 1947,

‘the good school is to be assessed not by any tale of examination success, however impressive, but by the extent to which it has filled the years of youth with security, graciousness and ordered freedom’.

Our national school system is not currently ‘permitted’ to get anywhere close to that once revered and noble aim.

Rod Grant
18 January 2023