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Mahatma Gandhi once said:

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Learning without walls

Dear Ivor

Please tell me I’m not dreaming! Last time a sensible observation concerning the current state of our education system was published, it was withdrawn quicker than Labour MPs’ objections to the third runway at Heathrow.

The Cambridge Primary School Review has reported that the existing regime is “compromising” children’s “natural curiosity, imagination and love of learning” and is suffering from the over micro-management of schools.

We have ourselves had many discussions on the deficiencies of our education system, including the multiple choice style of learning over reliant on the regurgitation of facts. This report only goes to reaffirm already widely held views that schools must have more autonomy.

However over regulation by government, like a runaway train, is extremely difficult to stop. The addiction to initiatives is an increasingly pervasive and corrosive issue in our society and not only with regard to education. Excessive government intervention shifts responsibility from the individual to the state and leads to public disempowerment, resulting in a vicious circle of blame and counter blame culminating in resentment.

Ministers impatient to put their stamp on policy decisions need to take a step back. Allow us to take some accountability for our own lives, our schools and our wider communities.

A certain amount of regulation has its place but when it constricts the very thing it is designed to protect it must be time to loosen the chains and make way for a degree of common sense and spontaneity.

Poll xx

Ps Not that you could be accused of suffering from a lack of spontaneity! Thank goodness Aunty Gladys has taken the leek costume back to the Oxfam shop. Good luck in France!