Reimagining education

reimagining education

A year-long education commission, which took evidence from more than 600 experts across fields including business, the arts and education, has recommended major changes to the education system in response to the challenges of the coming decades. Many of the report’s criticisms of the current education system resonate with the critique offered by Life-Based Learning, which is focused on reimagining education and on the idea that we need to be thinking and planning long-term. LBL is an approach to education and development for children and young people in which the life challenges that we all face – now and in the future – become the focus of a fully rounded, life-based approach to learning.

The Times Education Commission was launched in June 2021, “a year-long project expected to inform government policy and to lead to radical change across schools and universities.” It claims to be one of the broadest inquiries into education ever held in Britain and the first to look at the system from early years through to lifelong learning.

A letter signed by former prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair, ten former education secretaries, business leaders, cultural figures and Sir Paul Nurse, the Nobel prizewinning scientist, says:

The commission has highlighted the importance of taking a serious, long-term approach to education, from the early years, through school, to further and higher education and lifelong learning, to better prepare young people for the challenges they face. The changing world of work, stalled social mobility, the growing mental health crisis and new technology means that reform is more important than ever to capitalise on all the country’s talent.

The commission heard that young people would leave education far better prepared if there was more focus on areas such as communication, creativity, problem solving and resilience. The businessperson Sir Charlie Mayfield, now a leading figure in the skills and apprenticeships sector, spoke of the disconnect between the world of education and the world of work:

Standards in education have always been measured by exams, assessments and grades, so it’s not surprising that this has been the focus. However, this is increasingly at the expense of what employers really value … resilience, communication and problem solving. How much time do young people spend developing those skills while studying for the mark scheme?

Sir Charlie Mayfield, quoted in the Times

The commission’s recommendations include:

  • a British Baccalaureate, offering broader academic and vocational qualifications at 18 and less of a focus on exams at 16
  • an ‘electives premium’ for all schools to be spent on activities including drama, music, dance and sport and a National Citizen Service experience for every child, with volunteering and outdoor pursuits expeditions
  • elite technical and vocational sixth forms with close links to industry, and a new focus on creativity and entrepreneurialism in education
  • a significant boost to early years funding – and a library for every primary school
  • wellbeing at the heart of education
  • a 15-year strategy, putting education above short-term party politics

In future blogs we will be looking in more detail at the commission’s report and how its thinking on reimagining education overlaps with Life-Based Learning.

Read More About Reimagining Education

Image at the head of this article by cherylt23 from Pixabay.

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