Headteachers have settled back into the new academic year amidst plenty of educational debate and talk of exponential change.
AI, assessment, strikes in higher education, the RAAC controversy affecting our colleagues in the state sector, and, of course, the impact of VAT on school fees.
There is unlikely to be a single UK head across the sector who will not be feeling mildly daunted, excited even, about the impact of this shifting landscape in the education sector.
It is therefore apposite that the heads of IAPS schools meet today (Sept 25, 2023) in Liverpool for our annual conference. The theme – “Venture Out” – seeks to bring these subjects to the fore and enable the 350 heads in attendance the time and space to grapple with both the challenges and the opportunities.
“We will be looking closely at the implications that a possible change in government will bring.”
Venture Out brings together a number of eminent (and very different) speakers to challenge heads to consider the education we provide in 2023 and beyond, and thus enable our young people to thrive in a changing world.
We will, of course, be looking closely at the implications that a possible change in government will bring, but this isn’t the time to be defeatist or negative about our opportunities. Yes, we have great challenges, but we must also acknowledge our role in adapting to the dynamic attitudes to AI, assessment, wellbeing and EDI.
Walking the corridors of any IAPS school, a visitor immediately becomes aware of how children are taught a rich blend of skills and knowledge and encouraged to develop positive and productive mindsets and attitudes.
But educational terms such as a growth mindset, risk-taking, thinking laterally, meta-cognition, thinking outside the box, listening to another opinion etc, will not be captured on laminated posters. Instead, they will be lived out – no matter what curriculum or assessment model our schools are following.
Why, then, should heads who are leading the charge in this educational reform not be challenged to think in this way? The skills we as heads need more than ever are the very learning dispositions we are engaging with our students.
“Global society will not wait for education to keep up.”
The speakers over the coming days will challenge them to think laterally, take risks and adopt a truly growth-mindset approach to the opportunities that lie ahead. One such session will be led by Ben Edmonds, former principal engineer of Dyson, who will take us out of our comfort zones – as we encourage our teachers to do with our children.
Writing in his weekly blog, general secretary of ASCL Geoff Barton quoted a well-used Chinese proverb: “Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still”.
Global society will not wait for education to keep up. Change is afoot and much of it seems daunting. Venture Out seeks to help in giving heads the confidence to go back to their schools and embrace a changing educational landscape.