Vision for schools of the future

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Over half of primary school children think that schools in the future will be totally different from today according to a new survey released by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA).

Today’s pupils believe that classrooms will eventually be accessed from anywhere in the world and lessons will link up with children in other countries via satellite.

Pupils think teaching and learning methods will look very different in the future, with half envisaging downloadable lessons or lessons that they attend remotely via webcam being common place. 
Alongside professional teachers, forty four per cent think that pupils in the future will also be taught by specialists such as artists, writers or professional sports people; and over 37 per cent think that pupils in the future will benefit from much more personalised teaching.

Many schools are also developing and improving teaching and learning by linking up with schools in different countries, bringing external experts into classrooms and encouraging pupils to have an input in the design of their lessons.

Urging schools to think about how they can adapt to the changing world, Graham Holley, Chief Executive at the TDA said: “It is interesting to see that primary and secondary pupils are anticipating new and innovative approaches to education for the future.  They clearly value teachers who produce inspiring, high quality teaching and manage behaviour so that they and all of their classmates can learn.  They are perceptive, and see these qualities as important for teaching in the future alongside the innovative use of technology and more personalised learning.

“Against this background, we are encouraging more schools to look strategically at how they use their whole school workforce to provide the best possible education for every child and young people now and in the future. The TDA’s resources are developed with schools to help and support them to do so.”

The TDA is urging schools across the country to learn from existing effective practice. One school, Aldeburgh Primary in Suffolk, has worked with a charity to provide lessons taught through art and gardening.

Linda Berry, headteacher at Aldeburgh Primary School in Suffolk said: “We worked with a charity - EastFeast - to develop effective learning outside of the classroom to give them unique opportunities and experiences. We made the project the focus for all areas of the National Curriculum. As well as giving them the essential tools for learning, primary education is about children experiencing the joy of discovery, solving problems, being creative, developing their self confidence as learners and maturing socially and emotionally.”

Examples of schools using innovative approaches include:

  • A school which runs a social network so that pupils can leave messages for pupils in Japan Partnering with the school in Japan, the two schools work on projects together. The two schools are currently growing plants together and are tracking their progress. They also share recipes etc.
  • Pupils are developing vocational skills through setting up a jewellery club, which stemmed from a pupil’s idea. The club gives children the chance to design and make their own jewellery, learning has gone beyond the boundaries as the project has involved children using data handling and they order their own materials.
  • A school in an ex-mining area with a textiles centre that provides bespoke textiles training and which has been championed by a small husband and wife company. The pupils can access the industrial machines and they learn the process from the idea to the retail outcome.
  • A school which uses a project called SHAPE - Social, Humanities and Personal Education - to develop a cross-curricular approach to learning, emphasise the importance of skills, produce independent learners able to work confidently on their own/in a team and learners fully equipped to deal with employment in 21st century. They are also given opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial and economic skills.
  • A school which has led a range of initiatives such as implementing a fully working Salon on the school grounds. The school has set up a Retail course, shared between three schools and the local business community, enabling students to gain a ‘real life’ retail experience.
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