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Education view: Focus on individuals, not league tables

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 January 2019

Archant

Taking a break gives us time to enjoy life a little more; to read that book we’ve been meaning to get round to; to explore and discover the cultural wonders that this city has to offer.

Taking a break is important, as it gives us an opportunity to broaden our horizons and grow as individuals.

For me, the Christmas holidays were spent with family, friends and Mary Poppins, who these days I consider an old friend after over 30 years as my seasonal companion! I also reflected on what education was like when I joined the profession 20 years ago, considering what is education now and what I believe education should be.

It didn’t take me long to conclude that I hold a very different view to past, present, and no doubt future political leaders across all parties, from whom we hear consistent talk of “Education, Education, Education”. Somewhere down the line between the halls of Westminster and the Department for Education, the word “education” became synonymous with “qualification” and consequently “qualification” with “grade”, which is where my problem lies. Political parties continue to use education as a tool to drive their definition of success.

Over time, success in the UK has become about the number of qualifications and grades at which they are achieved. This has been driven by an obsession of getting better results so the UK will rank higher in league tables and make our populace more employable. This completely forgets about the individual dreams, ambitions, and needs of students. Well, not on my watch!

It’s my belief that qualifications should not be the only goal. Education should be about providing outstanding support to an individual’s wellbeing; help build confidence and enhance social skills; provide exciting opportunities relevant to a student’s personal ambitions; inspire their curiosity, and equip them with a range of skills and wider knowledge to enrich their lives.

So let’s stop focussing on individual qualifications alone and start focussing on the individual as a whole.

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