Your child, your schools, our future: building a 21st century schools systems

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John Pallister

Jul 1, 2009, 9:45:07 AM7/1/09
to ePortfolios and PLTs

The white paper, that aspires to "lead a debate on world-class
pedagogy both within and outside the classroom, is generating a lot
of discussion about teacher licensing etc, but not a lot, yet, about
the teaching and learning environments it is trying to promote.

It describes schools that provide learning environments where every
learner is “taught in a way that meets their needs". Where "the
curriculum is tailored to every child’s needs”; a curriculum that is
“broad, balanced and flexible” and includes “skills for learning and
life"; a curriculum that ensures that they are equipped to “succeed in
this changing world" and that they are “inspired to develop a lifelong
love of learning".

Learners working in an environment that offers learners better
“curriculum and qualification choices” and provides activities and
opportunities that are appropriate to individual learning needs, by
“tailoring teaching methods and the curriculum". They are expected to
use “proven, evidence-based teaching and learning practices, such as
assessment for learning”. The teaching practice will be “focused on
the strengths, weaknesses and needs of each child."

The report adds a new feature to the existing expectation that school
should support personalised learning; it adds the "entitlement to
personalised support for every child". Learners operating in a
Personal Learning Environment, with 1:1 support.

It recognises the "new challenges” created by our world and society,
and the resulting demand for “higher skills”, including:
• “key skills in science, technology and mathematics"
• "the opportunity to gain functional skills "
• “personal, learning and thinking skills so that they have strong
• "functional skills in En and ma needed for life, as well as the key
personal, learning and thinking skills” .

It emphasises the value of collaboration between schools and providers
and details an expectation that “schools take some responsibility for
pupils in the area more widely". The school is no longer expected to
only service the learning needs of those in its classroom; it must
look to the wider community and learners, anywhere anytime. New
challenges and opportunities enabled by "(ICT), and online systems and
resources in schools” to provide greater flexibility for learners at
school and at home. With every learner having “access to modern, high
quality information technology, equipment and other facilities."

It describes an environment where the teachers is a life-long learner
supported by partnerships that “create opportunities for sharing
professional development, for examining practice elsewhere" with
teachers having an entitlement to continuous professional development.

Personalisation that relies on curriculum choice, thay relies on
assessment for learning, that relies on the ePortfolio process – they
must have read

Or should I read it again?


Jul 2, 2009, 6:07:21 AM7/2/09
to ePortfolios and PLTs
As you rightly say John there is not a lot yet about the teaching and
learning environments the white paper is supposed to promote. Another
way to say this is that there are a lot of good words, very little
substance. Issues such as contracts with parents, teacher licencing
etc.. are simply red herrings put there to try and give the impression
that some serious stuff is happening. The real problems with our
education system is not that parents aren't involved enough, or aren't
discharging their responsibilities, not that teacher's aren't
licenced, not that we need more discipline, but that the complete
system simply is out of touch with the young people it purports to

It is notable that on the question of 'pupil voice' this is last in a
list of things that include behaviour, discipline, curriculum, safety,
progress checking etc. When finally it is mentioned it is worded 'they
have the chance to express their views'. No requirement for young
peoples views to be listened to, no requirement for young peoples
views to be acted upon. Note the furore that erupted when the 2008
education act required school governing bodies to listen to and act
upon young peoples views. Many teachers were furious about this. Taken
altogether this sends a message to young people that they are not
valued, not trusted, should be seen but not heard.

It is my view that unless and until we properly trust and respect our
young people, until we listen properly to them, until we allow them
greater responsibility and control over their own learning the
education system will simply limp along in the 21st century.

Foir me this this white paper simply confirms this view, is not
progress, is a mere sop and makes depressing reading.

On Jul 1, 2:45 pm, John Pallister <> wrote:
> must have read

Ray Tolley

Jul 2, 2009, 6:48:58 AM7/2/09
to ePortfolios and PLTs

Yes the paper is full of good sounding phrases, but, as you say, very
little substance.

A quick scan of the whole paper makes no mention of e-Portfolios and
only one brief reference to Learning Platforms and, again, no
reference at all to the Home Access Programme.

I just wonder how all these great sounding expectations will actually
come about - or is it all wishful thinking?

What I want to know is what tools will teachers have at their
disposal? When will children be allowed to bring their own mobile
devices into schools? Is "collaboration" a rude word filtered out
from every Lesson Plan or VLE? When will e-Portfolio tools be
introduced? When will support and training be provided? and, as I have
said elsewhere, How will the new strategies change teaching and
learning? Or are we to continue delivering in a highly teacher-
controlled style as we have always done for the last few 100 years?

Quite simply, are we really expected to build pyramids to the glory of
the great Pharaoh without straw?

Ray T
> > Or should I read it again?- Hide quoted text -
> - Show quoted text -
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