Are our schools at the foot of change?

There is no uncertainty about where education is going (well almost none!). However, there is a lot of unsteadiness regarding how to arrive at this prescribed destination. With education systems globally under reform, much of the emphasis is now been directed, not so much how we measure student success, but indeed the evolving ways that we gauge our schools. Of all the nations on the planet, 80 per cent plus, now concur that education should aspire to prepare students to deal with the non-routine in life. Agreed. But, how do we measure and quantify such logical, vague and arbitrary mission statements such as this? Well the jury is out!

Many assessment practices are commonly based on an archetypal model. And yes, I mean archetypal, in terms of Carl Jung’s original thought, the belief that such things (in this case how we understand if a school is deemed fit or not), are risen out of the collective unconscious, or as he declares, ‘those that appear in dreams, mythology, and fairy tales’. To put this into context, the way we measure success in education is inherited, traced from an original concept (or dream), with little bearing on where we stand now. For example, there is an expectation in the vast majority of institutions, that a small number of students will achieve at peak level, a large group of students will be average, and a pre-determined number will fail. This model could well be traced back to fundamental human characteristics and behaviours.

Change in the air ‘data should not be king’

However, there is a resounding sense of change in the air. With regulatory bodies such as ISI, an international schools inspectorate, who are beginning to change the way in which they evaluate school performance. There is an increasing sense that ‘data should not be king’, and that a child’s holistic development is to be the new focus. Ofsted has recently said, ‘pupils exam results and grades will no longer be a focus in school inspections’. Rather, the focus will shift towards seven core values. RESPECT, as it is soon to be known, is set to run throughout a school’s essence, from the way school leaders make decisions to guiding policy, these seven values (resilience, empathy, self-awareness, positivity, excellence and communication) are being layed down with the intention of permeating all aspects of a school, ceiling to floor.

Only time will provide us with the evidence of its effects and impacts, positive and negative, but at least there is a change in the wind, whichever way it may blow.

Tune in next week if you are interested in some of the unique ways that the RESPECT values are being introduced to schools in the UK, which is likely to represent the future for independent and international schools very soon!

For an interesting take on demonstrating core values in the classroom through storytelling, please follow the link ➡ www.wiseowltrust.com/learning-in-action/

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