Update education.md

Proposer
mjnaber
State

Rejected

Vote Score

-1002

Age

2313 days


@mjnaber edited manifesto/education.md - over 6 years ago

Scottish authorities will no longer be legally obligated to appoint unelected religious representatives to school boards. Instead, elected councillors will be appointed by a vote of the full council.

Syllabus Control

We believe that a flexible outline syllabus which does not restrict the creativity and individuality of both teachers and pupils is appropriate until the end of Key Stage 4. We should trust our well trained teachers and head teachers to do their best to educate our children in a flexible and creative manner.

We believe that citizens with a breadth of knowledge are better equipped to participate in society and democracy and therefore, a breadth of interest through the study of a wide range of subjects should be encouraged and specialisation delayed until people enter higher education.

mjnaber

@mjnaber - over 6 years ago

Suggestion to largely hand back control of what is taught to teachers, and to encourage breadth of subjects studied until later in the education system.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

My (limited) understanding of the reason for the 'National Curriculum' that was established in the late 80s was to ensure a pupil could move schools across the country, as families sometimes do when parents change jobs, and easily continue their studies. Year 8 Maths is Year 8 Maths whether it's being taught in Winchester or Worcester. Wouldn't your proposal undermine or even completely remove that uniformity? Or do you think it isn't really much of a problem? (ie not that many pupils move schools).

mjnaber

@mjnaber - over 6 years ago

I think that this is a real problem, but if teachers know what is allowed to be on the GCSE exam paper, then they will teach to that anyway. Denying them flexibility through a very detailed curriculum purely to retain ease of transfer between schools seems like a sledgehammer to crack a nut, and has the serious downside of demotivating teachers and crushing individualism in both pupils and teachers. My view is that allowing and encouraging creative and original thinking and allowing teachers to teach to their own strengths and to their pupils' needs and abilities will help to motivate everyone involved. There does still need to be oversight of the curriculum, but I think that doing that indirectly via (for example GCSE and A-level exams) is enough. Other measures might be used to help pupils catch-up when they move schools (tailored assessment and revision notes when they arrive at a new school for instance), but again I would be inclined to allow head teachers to sort this level of detail out locally.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I'm abstaining here, because I don't feel qualified to decide. I'd love to have more teachers involved for our education policy... ✋

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

I can see the aim here, and it's a good one but I'm gonna jump straight in with a 👎 for two key reasons; 1. Already faith schools are given more freedom over some aspects and that's led to actions that have harmed students' abilities to achieve academically. 2. #71 - Education is governed far too much by ideology and not nearly enough by reliable, scientific studies of what actually works. Any policy on Education should focus on finding that out, not just implementing an untested theory.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

Ooh those are good points @philipjohn! Hmm I'm going to become ✋ whilst I consider some more

mjnaber

@mjnaber - over 6 years ago

Mmm... good points there. I take the one about faith schools on the chin (that was always such a bad idea!). I'm also with you on the evidence-based policy. I do remember that Finland was held up as a paragon of educational glory for many years and it has a much more teacher-led system, although recently the image has been a bit tarnished by them slipping in the dreaded international league tables. There is an article here: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-are-finlands-schools-successful-49859555/?no-ist that has some anecdotal evidence in it about how the Finnish system benefits some kids. There is also an interesting snippet here: http://www.isam.org.tr/documents/dosyalar/pdfler/islamarastirmalaridergisi/sayi17/167174.pdf about how the Finnish system deals with Islam (and other faiths) within a still pretty biased Lutheran background. But I also found (google scholar is great!) a really interesting article here: http://matex.zozlak.org/DataBases/PISA%202000-2009/Simola2005_Finnish%20PISA%20Miracle.pdf which essentially argues that it's not just the school system that makes the international rankings look so good, but that it's also to do with the cultural background and a bunch of other factors. I guess that part of the problem with policy on many things like this is that genuinely scientific approaches are really difficult to find because there is almost never a real "control" group. But I guess "evidence-based" is a bit less rigorous than full-on science.

I think my experience (I teach in university) is that many of the most creative students (in science and engineering anyway) tend to come from non-conventional schools in the UK (eg. Steiner/home-schooled) or from places like Scandanavia, the Baltic states and Holland. My evidence-base is limited to a few hundred students over a decade or so, but it is very clear that many of the (conventionally schooled) UK students find it very difficult to step outside the curriculum and examine things critically in anything other than the most superficial way. I think what I would like to see is some way of encouraging more school kids to be genuinely enquiring in their attitude, and one way to do that is to allow teachers to respond more directly to them as individuals rather than drilling them to pass tests and exams. How else could this be achieved? There must be other ways...

Sorry for the wall of text, it's something I'm pretty passionate about :-)

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

Yeah absolutely, and that principle of your proposal certainly resounds with me. I think the note about "culture" is an interesting one. Something that bugs me about schools (and has since I was still there myself!) is that a lot of them have "policies" which talk about students being able to become individuals etc, but at the same time have ridiculously rigid uniform policies and such like. Something that, in my opinion (and as such not evidence-based!), is likely only to stifle individuality, creativity and self-exploration.

That one particular aspect also has real-world parallels. More and more working environments now have very relaxed dress codes, making schools more of a societal exception in that sense.

So I think there's scope for doing something in non-curriculum areas in that sense, based on your original principle, and for the curriculum we should be looking more at what research studies are available, and what gaps there are in the evidence for different curriculum approaches and teaching methods.