I’ve got several half finished blog posts on this theme, but on the day that the new white paper for Education in England is published, here’s my two pennies worth for now.
It seems to me, sat at a slight distance that the major problem facing the English Education is that no one really knows what it’s for. Unlike in Scotland, where (it appears to me) there was a wide ranging discussion among all parties as part of the development of the Curriculum for Excellence, the English system survives either because or in spite of a refusal to have that discussion.
Is it, as some in the last government believed, about providing as many young people as possible with relevant qualifications / skills to continue to learn as they went through life and into the workplace? [1. And if it is, one of the major failing of that government must be the failure to clearly articulate that, or deliver on it]
Is it, as many of the right would argue, a system for separating the wheat from the chaff? The academic from the rest? The question that we need to be asking ourselves, if this is the case, is what happens to ‘the rest’ in an age when the jobs that many people who didn’t fit into the ‘academic’ bracket at school used to go into have now been outsourced overseas or mechanized out of existence?
Is it, as some parents might argue, a government sponsored childcare programme, which allows them to go back to work to provide the necessary income for a modern British family?
My fear is that without that conversation, far from becoming the envy of the world, the English education system will reshape itself for a world which no longer exists while hiding behind the buzzwords of tomorrow.
A worse fear is that this contagion that will spread over the border here to Wales.