This post by Australian thought-leader and educator (and friend of the former National CPD team) Greg Whitby informs and contributes to SELMAS conversations on transforming schools – ambition or reality? We’ve been asking these questions for some time now, and there is a clear tension between the ambition of some reforms and the inherent conservatism when it comes to changing structures, just one example might be working the original “big ideas” of CfE into a 30 period week in secondary schools. Paradoxically a consequence of CfE in primary schools seems to be a more rigidly timetabled curriculum for younger children, which seems to work against some of the principles and original intentions of the reform.
Greg here makes references to other thought leaders who have featured in SELMAS discussions and all in all makes a great contribution to the debate which we developed at the Spring Forum. It reminds me very much of the conversation going on at my table. There was a lot of talk of the structures of education being pared down, and people putting things back that had been removed, but we were asking the question, what if the structure isn’t fit for purpose? Do we need a different structure? Ken Greer used the analogy of the Forth Road Bridge, a structure in constant need of repair and reform. Maybe we don’t need a bridge, maybe we need a boat instead?