Changing education from the ground up

This is the latest talk given by Sir Ken Robinson at the RSA. I thoroughly recommend you watch it. The talk itself lasts 30 minutes. The second half is a question and answer session/interview.

Just imagine if he was Education Secretary…


Preparing students to fail – on purpose!

BBC News – A top girls’ school is planning a “failure week” to teach pupils to embrace risk, build resilience and learn from their mistakes.
The emphasis will be on the value of having a go, rather than playing it safe and perhaps achieving less.
Pupils at Wimbledon High School will be asked how they feel when they fail.
The headmistress, Heather Hanbury, said she wanted to show “it is completely acceptable and completely normal not to succeed at times in life.”

National Curriculum review – Studying Geography or History could be made compulsory to end of KS4

Pupils may have to study history or geography until they are 16 under plans for a shake-up of the national curriculum.
Daily Mail‘An independent review ordered by Education Secretary Michael Gove called for the move yesterday as part of a wider drive to address concerns that England’s schools are falling behind the rest of the world.

A separate report yesterday warned of a sharp decline in history teaching, with 159 schools not entering a single pupil for a GCSE in the subject last year.’
Read the full article here

The full Expert Panel National Curriculum review document can be viewed on the Department for Education website here. However, a good summary of the main points has been produced by lkm Coaching and can be viewed here

Natural Curriculum expert Panel review Bluffers Guide:
  • There must be knowledge and development in a curriculum
  • There is a difference in prioritisation of subjects from Early Years to Key Stage 4
  • Breadth and balance must be reserved until KS4.
  • Attainment targets and National Curriculum levels should go
  • While agreeing with Wolf that academics rather than ‘skills’ development is crucial, development of skills does have a place in curriculum and it should inform provision in a school
  • The National Curriculum load has been lightened by reclassifying some subjects to ‘Basic curriculum’
    Core at all ages: English, Maths & Science
    Foundation (KS1-4): History, Geography, MFL, PE
    Foundation (KS1-3): Music, Art
    Basic: D&T, ICT, Citizenship, PSHE, RE, careers – not within new NC (must be delivered, but schools decide how and what).

Changes to GCSEs in 2012 – confirmed today

Source – Ofqual website

Ofqual has today confirmed the changes that will be made to GCSEs in England for teaching from September 2012.

Changes are being made to GCSEs in order to implement the policy aims set out by the Department for Education in the 2010 White Paper, ‘The Importance of Teaching’.
As a result of the changes:
·               Assessment will take place at the end of the course of study 
·               Assessment opportunities for the majority of subjects will be restricted to summer only
For English, English language and mathematics there will be an additional assessment opportunity in November
Any pilot qualifications that are exceptions to this arrangement will be separately identified
In GCSE English literature, geography, history and religious studies, additional marks will be awarded for the accuracy of spelling, punctuation and grammar in questions that require extended answers

National Curriculum changes delayed until 2014

BBC News –  overhaul of the national curriculum in England is to be delayed by a year, the education secretary has confirmed.
A written statement on Monday says the review of core subjects will now be implemented in autumn 2014.
Michael Gove says he wants standards to match high-performing systems such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
“The longer timescale will allow for further debate with everyone interested in creating a genuinely world-class education system,” said Mr Gove.

Using social media in Geography

A great article here in the current Leader Magazine, about Millie Watts from Richard Huish 6th form College in Taunton.

I couldn’t agree more with everything she says and what she is trying to do. It is such a shame that in so many schools, leaders and managers are afraid of social media and are unable to see the massive possibilities for raising student motivation and achievement.

The revision materials I place on Abbeyfield Humanities (Blogger) get a thousands of visits each month, especially around exam time. However, not all the content is accessible in schools (especially my You Tube videos) which is eternally frustrating!

How often have you tried to use social media in lessons and found the site you are trying to access blocked?

Try accessing my sites from school and you may see what I mean:

Abbeyfield Humanities
You Tube – Humanities channel

It is great that decision makers at Richard Huish 6th form College appear to have realised the potential of social media and have allowed Millie to take this forward.