Wednesday, 17 March 2010

"Lets learn from abroad"

As part of the launch of the Policy Exchange report (see post below), Shadow Spokesman for Schools; Michael Gove spoke about his vision of how to improve education in the UK.

He placed considerable emphasis on the apparent success of the American KIPP and Charter Schools, as well as the Swedish free schools. Also, with the provision of choice, he praised the education system in Alberta, Canada, which apparently achieves the highest results in of any English speaking area. Reference was also made to Singapore and Finland and their high PISA education ranking in the world. (PISA - Programme for International Student Achievement)
He was convinced that lessons could be learnt and transferred into the UK, which would involve a significant culture shift in many schools. (I agree that there are many good ideas happening internationally - but we may not necessarily agree with which ones!)
Michael Gove also briefly outlined his plans for changes in building guidance, including scrapping the Building Bulletins that specify in detail school room requirements, as well as reference to the curriculum and rigorous appropriate testing. This probably would be welcomed by many in reality.
There is no doubt that education will be a significant issue for all the main parties. I just hope that with all the jockeying for position and talk of significant rapid change, none of them forget that the students currently in the system should be the absolute priority as well as the teachers working with them! These students only get one chance and mustn't feel that their achievements are being devalued!

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