Big Change, an organisation that aims to help young people thrive by transforming the education system, has released a bold manifesto. Entitled 10 Hopes, it outlines ten key points that Big Change believes can unlock potential, change the way children learn and overhaul education. Those hopes are:
1. There is a new public conversation about education
2. All young people are set up to thrive in life not exams
3. There is a broader view and story of success for every child
4. Every child can fall in love with learning and keep on learning for life
5. Every start has the best possible start in life
6. Multiple pathways through learning and into work are valued and supported
7. Professional learning is as important as student learning
8. All schools are actively supported to improve and learn together
9. Schools thrive as part of local learning ecosystems
10. Education is protected from short term politics
10 Hopes is different to many of the education action plans we’re used to seeing. It doesn’t focus on a certain number of students hitting above a certain grade, a set percentage of students choosing particular subjects, or the number of students going to university or landing jobs above a certain salary. Instead, it’s focused on wellbeing, a love of learning and redefining academic success. Instead of targets of C grades and above, there’s an emphasis on fulfilling potential; rather than pushing STEM, humanities or language, the focus is on finding and following passions.
While a renewed curriculum will be key to enacting such changes, the role that learning environments can play shouldn’t be overlooked. Flexible spaces which engender creativity have the ability to support 21st century skills that children can carry into the workplace, while dynamic, engaging libraries which cater to all ways of working can motivate children academically and promote a love of reading for reading’s sake. Schools with shared, civic facilities will become an inherent part of their local community, while teachers who have their own spaces to study and share knowledge are happier, more enthusiastic and better equipped to teach.
With a fresh approach, could learning environments be the catalyst for such an ambitious vision of the future of education?