The world of education is at the foothills of exponential change. Artificial intelligence is poised to flood through every part of our lives with relentless and emotionless force; classrooms will need to be safe-havens where we research and teach ideas that promote the sanctity of human development and endeavour.
With this notion of promoting quintessentially “human” skills, 13+ Common Entrance has become a powerhouse of creativity and positive reform over the last three years.
The Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB) has introduced the ISEB Project Qualification (iPQ) along with some other exciting changes after a wholesale review of its offering. The research and change have been driven by Julia Martin and Durell Barnes over the last four years.
“13+ Common Entrance has become a powerhouse of creativity and positive reform.”
Cottesmore School has embraced the iPQ vigorously and with success. We would recommend it as an efficient tool to embed the “real world” skills needed in this new era of teaching and learning.
I was recently invited to tour a senior school and the students were walking purposefully across the campus with their AQA “Extended Project Qualifications” under their arms. There was a palpable sense of excitement in the air – they were about to present their ideas to a panel.
We walked into the hall where they were setting up and the whole effect struck me as a very similar situation to a real-life “pitch”. No matter where you come from or who you are, “pitching” is a skill that is key – even King Charles needs to pitch ideas, especially as one of the most famous environmental activists in the world.
The iPQ guides students towards a similar set of skills as the AQA EPQ and the ISEB defines these simply as learning how to “define, research, review, discuss, develop, reflect and present”. What a list!
“Educationalists need to brace themselves for perpetual, rolling change.”
The iPQ has been a hugely worthwhile development in our academic offering to its girls and boys. Our enthusiasm and the quality of the programme’s execution have been spotted by the ISEB team and they are presently using our school as an example of practice, as you can see in the article.
Educationalists need to brace themselves for perpetual, rolling change. A taste of how that felt was experienced during the lockdowns with the daily machine gun spray of new laws, policies and regulations that we dutifully deployed. It was quite a job keeping a grip on the change rollercoaster, but very good training for what is in store.
We will become masters of oscillation, ducking and weaving through the flying debris and incoming missiles, a bit like Luke Skywalker in his X-wing Starfighter. All the while we will be holding onto the things that should matter, with a firm grip on our human values and a backpack full of empathy for others and ourselves.
“We will become masters of oscillation.”
It might even be worthwhile creating a new leadership position in schools. Director of Change would be a suitable title.
Meanwhile, at Cottesmore, we will continue to look to the future with dynamism, to inhabit the present with gratitude and to respect the lessons and hard work of our predecessors. The iPQ will be part of that journey and, more importantly, the girls and boys seem to love it.
To find out more about the iPQ, listen to a podcast from our head of history and sustainability Ross Borthwick here.