The RSA is considering a new campaign about schooling. There is currently a lot of talk about change in schools, and more importantly a lot of action. The campaign, currently in the feasibility stages, would aim to open up the conversation going on amongst educationalists about schooling to a much wider audience.
The idea is to draft a ‘charter’ for education in the 21st century that sythesises what we and many others have been thinking and doing, and to promote that vision to parents, students and teachers.
If people are excited by the vision in the charter, we would then hope to show them what can be done about it. By sharing accounts of exciting work already being done in schools, we would demonstrate what is already possible within the current policy framework. For people who get the vision and have read about the practice, we would then help them take action by creating connections between people who sign up to the charter at a local level.
And you never know – it might shift the media debate away from the tired round of negative headlines about behaviour, admissions, standards and results that currently dominate at the expense of the positive change many people naturally don’t believe is possible.
The below is a summary of the first draft of the charter. It is still being worked on. Once this is complete, it will be completely rewritten again to express the points so as to appeal to a broader audience if the campaign goes ahead. But this is where we are at so far.
We’d welcome any comments about the idea of an education campaign, the content of the charter or – even more valuable to us – examples of things that it might inspire you to do with your local schools.
A Charter for Education in the 21st Century
1. The primary responsibility of a school should shift from achieving exam
results to making sure that young people enjoy learning and exploring ideas,
and are capable of carrying on learning throughout life
2. Schooling is not just about transmitting subject knowledge. Education in
schools should seek to foster the emergence of wisdom in young people
3. No child’s experience of school should be defined by failure. Every child
must enjoy success at school and schools have a responsibility to actively
support all young people to fulfil their potential however they are
intelligent or talented
4. Schools should reduce the attainment gap between rich and poor students
through working alongside other local services and the wider community
5. Schools should not be sites of conflict, but be intelligent communities
where young people can learn to be happy and build relationships with
peers and adults that are characterised by respect
6. Students should work in partnership with their school to design their own
learning and shape the way their school community operates
7. Schools should engage parents in children’s schooling
8. Schooling should be made relevant and disengagement prevented through
the use of practical, real-life learning
9. Teachers should not be ‘deliverers’ of a set curriculum, but instead act as
creative professionals and curriculum developers
We’d love to receive your comments.