Katharine Birbalsingh, the former Head Teacher famously sacked following her outspoken speech at the Tory Party conference.
Started with the story of challenging behaviour in Secondary Schools. How have we got to this point, a dark age of education? How can we move schools on into the 21st Century? Need to equip children with a bag of goodies to enable them to thrive in the World.
One thought is to stop teaching so much content and to concentrate on skills, group work etc.. Basic knowledge though is necessary to be able to be creative. Need to move back towards a more traditional form of teaching. A middle class child already has this as they pick up so much at the dinner table, from the Maths tutor or from Dad reading at bed time. Not so from less advantaged children who rely entirely on their schools.
Many reformers went to Grammar school and mistakenly think that most children are going through a similar education system. Creating a system where children do not get access to the ‘bag of goodies’ that they themselves received.
We know that exams are being dumbed down. We are letting down many many pupils.
Many believe that an injection of tech is needed. But this is reformers again misunderstanding what is needed. Eton has only 2 interactive whiteboards.
Katharine continued talking along these lines, pointing out that Eton etc are very different to main stream schools, but without really going anywhere with her argument.
Argued that lack of technology not an issue as children are already skilled to the hilt from their own use.
“The education that is best for the best is the education that is best for all”. Need to be educationally Conservative. Argued that main stream schools reject what is successful in the likes of Eton.
There is no hiding from negative feedback in this room, the Twitter feed on the hashtag #LWF11 throughout this talk was cutting in it’s criticism.