Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A couple of activities to begin the school year - the Treaty of Waitangi and holiday fun



1 What was the best thing you did in the holidays?

It is a cliché about school that the first task teachers give their students is to write an essay about ‘What you did in the holidays’!
Few teachers today would think of doing such a thing. This is a shame because their students have just returned from having a range of experiences that they were fully involved in and that will remain with them for their lives.
We are the stories we tell about ourselves. Stories contribute to our identity and sense of self. What did you do in your holidays we ask others and most of us are happy to tell our stories to those who ask.
The best thing was...
The trouble comes when we are asked to write out such stories.
With clever teaching this needn’t be the case.
A simple process.
A simple process that many teachers have found useful is to ask their students to share orally in small groups what they got up to and /or to make list or ‘mind map’ of all the sorts of adventures they had. This works best if the teachers model one or two incidents from their own holiday experiences to illustrate that all that is required is a small memorable incident. Model your story: what happened, what you saw, how you felt and talk as if you were there. Make sure they understand what you want is a quality story – a lot about a little not a little about a lot.
After the students have the opportunity to share a few ideas get the students to choose one that would make great idea to share. Get them to imagine that they were back in the experience and
then to write what they were thinking at the time, what they saw and felt and what other said. The best writing is if what they write is much as if they talk. Encourage them to start with a powerful first sentence that attracts the reader and also to invent a heading for their story that doesn’t give the game away! After writing a draft they could share in small groups.
Over the next few days students could write out finished copies. Some may be able to use the word processor. Reluctant students, or very young children, might need their thoughts scribed by the teacher; the teacher asking questions and writing responses.
If an illustration is to be added the children need to understand the need to give such a drawing a real focus on the important aspect of their story. They might be able to import a digital photograph of the incident.
The work needs to be valued by the teachers . Perhaps a display of writing could be arranged with a suitable heading ‘Our holiday adventures.’
Value kids ' ideas
This writing for its own sake – to tell a personal story but as well such writing could well be the basis of real literacy – reading their own stories; being their own authors but most of all valuing their own sense of voice and identity.

This is all about helping students see the power of writing!



2 A lesson around Waitangi Day.

A wise teacher should take advantage of important events in New Zealand history such as the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.
As the celebration comes early in the year it is a good opportunity to introduce the students to how they will be expected to learn in the class; how to work together to develop critical thinking; how
The Treaty
to value their own ideas; how to deepen their understandings and how to apply lessons learnt to their own class.


The message teachers need to give is that in all learning students need to follow up their own questions, to learn how to make use of whatever resources are available and, as a result of their efforts, to gain a deeper understanding.
Such a study could begin before the day and conclude the days following.
The first thing is to ask the students what important New Zealand event is happening over the
Waitangi
weekend. Some students will be aware of the Treaty
.
When the Treaty is in their minds the next thing is to ask them what they know about the Treaty.
This can be done individually, in small groups (that could report their combined ideas back to the class) or done as a whole class discussion (with the teacher writing up their thoughts).
From such activities the teacher can then help the class write up all their 'prior' knowledge, misunderstandings included. Older students could write out their own 'prior' ideas - when such ideas are read by the teacher the range of understandings will be apparent.
At this stage teachers need to introduce some resource material for the students to study - most schools have facsimile copies of the Treaty to display and there is a range of pictorial and written resources that can be studied as part of the literacy programme as guided reading. A map of Northland would valuable to introduce focusing on the Bay of Islands. A chronological time line of events might be drawn up to clarify the happening before and during the signing. This is the time for some old fashioned teaching about the facts about the Treaty.

During the afternoon inquiry time the information gained from resources available can be used for students to answer key questions. Early in the year it is possibly best for teachers to help students define a small range of 'thinking' questions. Question should encourage comparisons and ask for students' opinions and feelings and not just be copied out as is often the case. It is a good idea to encourage students to list the resources they have made use of.
A range of outcomes could be negotiated with and developed by the students.
The teacher might take the opportunity for the class to develop a set of class rules and this could be written out on a suitable piece of paper to look like the original Treaty.
Students could study some of the main characters in and observers to the signing of the Treaty and write accounts from different peoples' perspectives - how such people might be feeling about the Treaty. Students would need to call on the knowledge gained during literacy time.
Junior teachers could write a 'big book' by scribing students’ thoughts about the Treaty.
Older students could complete a study chart, or booklet, following guidelines from the teacher.
The whole scene of signing the Treaty could be acted out with students dressed in suitable clothing (which will involve considerable research). Students could compose some thought poems about the happenings of the day. Perhaps they could compose diary entry for the day -as no doubt people would have done (those who could write that is).
Each student could choose an element of the signing that appeals to draw and later enlarge to paint or crayon. Once again this requires visual research and assistance from teachers to ensure the painting has some dramatic focus. In such times artists would have recorded the events by drawing - students could consider how such event would be recorded today.
To conclude the study parents might be invited to look at the work at the end of a school day or students ideas gained written out and sent home.
At the very least students could copy into their study books their prior thoughts and what they now know with suitable illustrations.
An event such as the signing of the Treaty provides an opportunity to bring history alive for the students as well as introducing ideas about how they will be expected to learn in the class


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

'A World of Difference' :the philosophy of a Taranaki pioneer creative teacher - Bill Guild



 Bill's booklet. It is important for creative teachers to share their ideas

Bill exploring a wasp nest
A world of difference.

In 2003 Bill Guild attended the Frankley Road  150th Jubilee a school he had been principal of for 28 years from 1959 to 1986. An accomplished photographer Bill complied a book A World of Difference of the experiences and creativity of the students he taught to share with past students attending.. Later an edited booklet was shared widely with teachers throughout New Zealand who knew of the quality of teaching he was well known for.

Maybe its time to share his ideas again?

A little bit of history.
Historical photo of Frankley School
Bill was a key figure of a group of Taranaki teachers that had gained reputation for the  creative programmes they were implementing. My previous blog celebrated another such teacher John Cunningham and I thought it a good ideas to focus on Bill - who by the way turns 91 this year and is as enthusiastic about creativity as he ever was and a whiz on his Apple computer!.

Bill had been involved with the Related Arts courses run  by the Art Advisers of the time, courses which encouraged teachers to move away from fragmented timetables of the 50s  to  develop integrated programmes that have been under threat by the previous governments National Standards  and their obsession with assessment and accountability.
The cover shows one of Bill's students carefully observing a wasp nest
influences were the English primary schools which at the time were recognised for their child centred approach and the American Open Education movement. Bill , along with other teachers,  was inspired by the work of New Zealand pioneer creative teacher from the 50s Elwyn Richardson whose book In the Early World became our bible.
Recently republished by the NZCER

In 1976 Bill was invited to share his ideas a World Art Education Conference held in Adelaide. Bill's work was also a feature of the then Education Departments Art in Schools book. His contribution to education was also recognised by the NZEI.


The ideas that Bill developed 1970- 1986  may be useful for today's teachers and they return their focus to developing students creativity and  imagination.

In Bill's own words:

When Bill retired he gave me notes of talks he had given and his philosophy  aligns well with the spirit of the , all but currently sidelined, 2007 New Zealand Curriculum.


The raku kiln -art and science

The teacher's role

'To me the teachers' role is vastly different. No longer the font of all knowledge but rather a counsellor, adviser, partner, guide, questioner, prompter and confidant.'

School as a learning community.

'I believe that schools must be learning communities where students learn, with our assistance, the things they want to learn; when they want to learn them; how they want to learn them; and why they want to learn them; all through their own curiosity'.
A community of artists and scientists

'As a group we were disillusioned with the traditional pre-packaged approach ...largely adult conceived....including ability grouping. Attributes such as co-operation, understanding and sharing were largely given lip service. We believed that learning should stem from the natural but vital curiosity of children and it should centre around real experiences'.

Skill required to achieve quality work.

'Skills...such as focus, concentration, craftsmanship, introspection and independent inquiry need to be introduced.' 'Presentation and display skills need extra special attention and the creative areas given new emphasis.' We felt such independent self motivated learners would be more able to cope with the future with assurance and zest. People who are responsible for their own learning, able to make relevant choices, seem to be the kinds of people best suited to cope with future society.'
Interpreting a mountain spring

'To achieve work of high quality, which gives satisfaction and a feeling of personal success, there is a need to slow down the pace of work so the enjoyment is experienced as the work progresses and the finished piece reflects, not only thought, but pride of craftsmanship. Slowing down the working pace of children and allowing them time to reflect and saviour their discoveries and achievements.'

'The role of the teacher is to encourage and stimulate pupils to seek knowledge for themselves.'

An emphasis on displays to inspire students.
Display based on a colonial study

'Carefully arranged teacher displays', are a feature, and were based on, 'environmental, language, or maths topics'.'As the topic progresses the work of children is added to the display until it becomes an amalgam of both the children and the teachers efforts.' 'It is most important to acknowledge, in a meaningful way, the value of a piece of work.' 'These displays provide a window to the world revealing the work being done in literature, individual interests, the environmental and experiences shared by the class or as individuals.'

Making use of the immediate environment.

'There is an emphasis on the immediate environment. It is the teachers role to reveal the unknown in the familiar and to help children to discover the unnoticed world within their environment.' However, the interests of the children cover a wide range from fact to fantasy.' 'The school is a base from which to explore their environment.'
Crossing a 3 wire bridge on Mount Taranaki
An exciting experience but not possible today!
Great for language and art.
Providing student choice.

Gradually, with experience and growing confidence in their own abilities, children are given some choice within a very wide topic and finally many children may reach a stage they can be given a complete choice.'
Creating pottery involves a range of choices

'Questioning techniques must be suited to the needs of the learner ...and should be framed in a way as to stimulate greater powers of thought.' 'Plenty of time must be given the children to talk, discuss, disagree, argue, and revise opinions, all of this while refining and defining their solutions.'

The importance of observation
Students carefully observing a mounted pheasant

'Teaching observation is important. I believe we look at so much and see so little. Hence my belief that if we slow down our pace and allow ourselves the gift of observation.

'Without the input of looking ..no future artistic or intellectual output is possible.' 'But drawings must go further than factual information, they are also able to convey feelings, impressions, and emotion. People who look harder, see more and understand more.' 'Drawing is a way of asking questions and drawing answers.'
Such careful observation is a real skill
The process provides opportunity for reflection and for questions to emerge
Observation is all about slowing the pace of work

Drawing involves the, 'outward eye, which is our observing eye, and an inward eye, which looks at feelings, memory, and imagination.' 'Observational drawing is not concerned with mere reproduction'... but result in, ' drawings which are uniquely yours.'
An environment that celebrates students' creativity
Totems the result of American Indian study

Importance of aesthetics

' A sense of design and beauty is an obvious need in our society and very little emphasis, and even scarcer recognition, has been placed on this area of visual education,'


Quality art from a bush study
Note the variety of interpretations

Importance of a task well done- 'personal best'

Research and observations from a mountain trip
Chart illustrates skill in visual design and observation,
'If a thing is worth doing it's worth going well' C K Chesterton
Along with my colleagues I have tried to develop classroom programmes where children are exposed to a variety of ideas and situations. We have tried to take into account the backgrounds and interests of the children as well as they ways in which they learn. All children need success and we feel that this best achieved by children having confidence in themselves to select their own tasks, and through the development of necessary skills and abilities, to complete them to a deep sense of satisfaction in a task well done.'
Art work arising from a colonial study - Hurworth Cottage

The 'new' NZ curriculum  (2007)m with the change to a more teacher friendly government, provides an opportunity for the beginning of new creative era of education
The finished result of an afternoon's observing at St Mary's church




Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Creative teaching:Learning from the past - John Cunningham teacher 1970s

A study based on local and famous churches.
Students potato printed background.
Uncovering ideas worth sharing

The other day I was visiting my old friend John Cunningham. He had been recently sorting through old notes ( John is a bit of a hoarder) and had found some photos from his 1970 classroom and I suggested they might make an interesting blog..  In all areas of life we need to look backwards to move into the future; ' Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it' ( Santana ).

A little bit of pre-history.

 In  the  1950s the Director of Education Dr Beeby  established an art advisory service led by Gordon Tovey. The advisers encouraged teachers to develop  integrated related arts  programmes breaking away from the then tight timetables. In the 60s many teachers ( mainly in rural schools ) developed such student centred programmes and John Cunningham was one such teacher.  An important influence the time was the work of Elwyn Richardson who worked in the far North in the 1950s - his book In The Early World became an inspiration to us all..


John's 1970 class. All now in their late 40s!
It is pertinent to remember it was the 60s and traditional power structures were being challenged in all areas  of life.Education was not immune. In the UK  the Plowden Report (67) gave official approval of progressive educational developments.

My involvement

As an adviser ( in Nature Study and then Science) I worked with teachers developing integrated programmes in our province - Taranaki. .We were all impressed with an open ended approach to science known as the Junior Nuffield Science Approach. One  UKteacher we admired was Henry Pluckrose whose school I visited.
.
As a group teachers involved shred idea, notes and books. The above are a few of the books used.
Elwyn's book top centre. The booklet 'Learning with the Children'  was published for the NZEI 
World Education Conference 76 held at the  Ellerslie Racecourse. NZ's biggest  educational conference 
John and I presented our ideas at workshops.

In 1969 I visited the UK to learn more about child centred teaching and the Nuffield Science.

In 1970 I began working with sympathetic local teachers to meld the related art and open ended science approaches. One idea that impressed me abut UK teaching was the emphasis they placed on motivational displays  to motivate curiosity room environments celebrating quality student work in all areas of learning.

In the following decade teachers involved became recognised widely throughout New Zealand as the Taranaki Environmental Approach.
.
The 'environment' referred to the intellectual, aesthetic, social and emotional aspects of the classrooms involved - today maybe 'culture' is a more preferable word.

John Cunningham teacher 1970

So this brings me back to John Cunningham. Contrary to other teachers involved John taught in a large urban school in what we now would call decile one. His 1970 year was an exciting and somewhat challenging one but  finally a very successful one.

An emphasis on displaying quality students work. Extra display boards were provided.
John recorded his progress and wrote detailed plans and evaluations of his progress. Moving from a tightly timetabled to open programme was to be no easy task. A rotary four group time table for the integrated study areas was established  with the fifth day used for students to finish off their work. The study units ranged from three weeks to most of the term and, where possible the language and maths programmes were integrated providing skills and content for the pm programme

Developing observational skills vital - the above relate to Land Wars study.
Work framed and mounted and displayed on coloured hessian.
Rotational group work

In Johns words the first attempts to develop four active social  rotational groups 'were an absolute disaster'. The students did not have the skills to take advantage of all the opportunities offered and John wrote 'I had neglected to take into account the need for a gradual change' and he continues 'there was an important need to slow down the pace of work and to encourage the idea of craftsmanship and finish'. 


Class studies linked all aspects of the curriculum. The display above was centred around
Hemmingway's book The Old Man and the Sea which the class really enjoyed.
.The rotational group work became more directed until students gained the skills required ( an important part of the language arts morning programme) and not all involved activity. One group were researching their questions and writing reports, another completing observational drawing tasks ( having been taught the necessary skills),  an art group and one working with the teacher.

Trips into the environmental feature - this photo is a part of an extensive bridge study.
Importance of personal best.

Slowly the students learnt the need for slow careful work giving John the opportunity to help students, or small groups as required. Lessons were taken to develop observational drawing ('OD') and presentation skills and students began to understand their concept of achieving their 'personal best ( ' PB'). Student bookwork began to show a real growth in quality - study books and personal writing books in particular.  Four page concertina books (made from a half sheet of cartridge) were developed to present finished work and aspects were part of the rotary group work.

 As John wrote 'independence, initiative and genuine interest were being fostered'.


Blackboards defined group rotational tasks as well as reading and maths.
Class, group and individual studies

Whole class themes rotated with group studies and individual research projects. Field trips into the local environment were a feature of the programme as were the variety of art media introduced. As success developed parents became involved both working in the classroom with designated groups an on field trips.

Spider unit. John made use of the Learning in Science inquiry approach

As the year (and teacher and students skills developed) whole day integrated programmes were introduced but reading and maths programmes  were mostly keep to the morning programme but, as mentioned, integrated as much as possible.

Display based on class trip to Mount Taranaki,
An evolving programme.

John's programme was constantly evolving as skills developed. Later John was to develop the ideas in an open plan situation working with four other teachers but that's another story.  John's experience in an open plan environment provides insight for those developing today's Innovative Learning Environments.
Display of work based om monarch study
It was the students themselves who effected the changing nature of the classrooms and we had to accept the children as who they are than what we wanted them to be. Those who visited John's classroom could not but be impressed with the quality of students work on display of the way they were able to work independently.

Quality art work based on local house study.

Students regularly visited from the Palmerston North Teachers College and one of their lectures , David Aitken, complied a photo book on John's classroom, The book was shown to Dr Beeby who commented the this was the kind of teaching he envisaged in the 1940/50s. Unfortunately this valuable record has been lost.


Art work from a snail study
John appreciated creative diversity in his classroom


There is always something to learn from the past it seems.


An illustration from 'our' booklet
Learning from the Children
John went on to be principal of Fitzroy and Spotswood schools where he developed a whole school approach based around the ideas he had developed. As mentioned he was one of the few to develop a highly successful Open Plan Unit in the 70s. Over the years John presented his ideas throughout at National Refresher courses..


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The history of New Zealand's TOMORROWS SCHOOLS and time for fresh thinking?

With the election of a new government maybe it is time to reflect on the history of educational change since the 1980s and also for some fresh thinking? The below blog written December 2012 



Cathy Wylie outlines new wave  of change for New Zealand Schools!


Time for a new wave of change!

In the 1980s a new political ideology swept through Anglo American countries. It was a time of dramatic change as the democratic welfare state was replaced by  what has come to be known as a ‘Market Forces business oriented’ approach based on small government, valuing self-interest, privatisation, competition, choice and accountability. This neo liberal approach was believed to be the only way to cope with dramatic worsening worldwide economic circumstances. A common phrase at the time was TINA (there is no alternative).
New Zealand was not immune. The recently elected Labour Government led by David Lange was influenced by finance minister Roger Douglas and the Treasury. ‘Thatcherism’ in the UK, ‘Reaganism’ in the US and ‘Rogernomics’ in New Zealand – continued by National’s Ruth Richardson and alive but not so well today!
The new ideology was applied across the public service and education was not immune.
In 1986 an ‘earthquake ‘hit education in the form of ‘Tomorrows Schools’; following the publication of the Picot Report self-managing schools were born.
Now, almost three decades later, A  NZCER  chief researcher Cathy Wylie has written a definitive and compelling story of school self-management called ’VitalConnections: Why We Need More Than Self-managing Schools’. For two background papers: link one - link two
Cathy Wylie
Cathy answers the questions: What was the real effect of ‘Tomorrows Schools’? Has the New Zealand Schools system improved as a result? And what changes are needed now to meet our expectations of schools?
People who were principals during the transition (as I was) will find the book enlightening and younger principals will learn that a lot of shared wisdom was lost in the process.
It is interesting to find that New Zealand was the only country to take self-managing schools to such extremes of local control and now Cathy believes that we have ‘made self-management into a barrier’ if we want all students to be treated equitably. Keep in mind our growing ‘achievement gap’.
The impression given at the time was that the then system was too bureaucratic, too centralised, to allow school flexibility and initiative.
An early chapter Principals  focuses on the situation before ‘Tomorrows Schools’. Contrary to the myth  being spread by those propagating change schools enjoyed considerable latitude in comparison to other education systems. They had on-going connections with the inspectorate, the local advisers and curriculum experts in the Department of Education and teachers often belonged to networks of teachers developing and trialling new ideas.
Inspectors and advisers could ‘connect individual teachers with expertise ….. They knew where good practice was occurring…they could identify and encourage talent’. All schools had liaison inspectors and inspectors arranged for teachers to visit other schools and to develop and share ideas. As a result there was a healthy cross fertilisation of ideas. As Cathy writes ‘they could connect the dots’ and ‘foster collective strengths of teachers working together’.
An OECD report in the early 80s was full of praise for existing educational provisions and did not find people wanting dramatic changes and was impressed with the engaging and active learning that keeps children motivated to learn. New Zealand students do well and still do, in international testing
But there were shortcomings. There was no national systematic way to support schools. The locally elected Education Boards looked after property and finance while inspectors focused on educational issues. Both were involved in principal and teacher appointment. There was growing concern with the failure rate of Maori students, communities were not fully involved with their schools and a growing number of students were not being catered for in secondary schools as students we were encouraged( by lack of jobs) to stay at school longer.
Education Boards and inspectors disappeared in the change and advisers placed with College Of Educations (later Universities) and employed on contract. In the process connections and collective wisdom was lost.
So where was the bureaucracy and over centralisation that was blocking the initiative and creativity of the system? It was in the regulations to do with staffing, with property and with resources for teaching. ’Tomorrows Schools certainly had its attraction when it came to these issues. Responsibility for such areas really appealed to principals.
‘Tomorrows Schools’ would tackle bureaucracy but this came at a price. Key interconnections were lost. Schools and Boards were on their own and this would create winners and losers.
An overseas observer described the New Zealand approach as the ‘earthquake method of educational reform’. Teacher unions were excluded. Changes were less to do with educational reasons but with political determination to restructure the economy and the role of the state. David Lange, as Minister of Education, at least did not allow education vouchers or privatisation to be part of the mix.
It seems there was not much thought given to the infrastructure needed to support the self-management of schools and the sharing of useful ideas. The general tenor was that schools were to be left to make their own decisions.
What eventuated was at best ‘fragmented freedom’. Schools in ‘better’ environments had the local expertise to do well but self-management was ‘sown on uneven ground’. Principals and BOTs learnt ‘by the seat of their pants’ and became occupied with compliance and the ‘demanding twins’ of property and finance issues and less a focus on teaching and learning. Competition between schools – the result of an emphasis on parent choice had unfortunate effects. Some schools ‘had the upper hand’. As a result self-management put one’s own school first.
The years that followed were demanding as the Ministry chopped and changed to keep schools viable. It was an era of ‘CRAP’   as the Ministry and ERO ‘continually revised all procedures’ Charters came and went. Strategy and annual plans were introduced. Growing problems with failing schools resulted in a number of safety net interventions. The introduction of the New Zealand Curriculum was rolled (and NZCEA in secondary schools) added to the confusion. Schools were clustered but schools took only what they needed. ERO were ‘the watchdog and scold’. The new curriculum with its endless objectives, and arbitrary levels, was a ‘mile wide and an inch deep’ but conscientious teachers did their best to tick off objectives taught. ERO ensured they complied.
And for all this, the very students, who were to be saved by self-management, still continued to fail. Literacy tasks forces were established and Numeracy projects, and other ad hoc projects, to try to help failing students.
Benign bureaucracy had been replaced by fragmentation – out of the frying pan into the fire! ERO and the Ministry worked in isolation. The Ministry has become risk averse. It needs a more effective engagement with schools but there is no longer the trust necessary.
The ‘too hasty and undercooked’ National Standards, a throwback to earlier days, are being imposed – the worse sort of centralisation and schools were bullied into supplying their data to the Ministry. Ironically schools that resisted were showing initiative and developing the creative programmes (based on the revised Labour introduced 2007 New Zealand Curriculum) that underpinned the ethos of self-managing schools. On the horizon lie league tables and national testing – issues that will narrow the curriculum and encourage teachers to teach to the tests and down play the creative arts.  What is to be measured will become the measure – will become the default curriculum.
The time has come for fresh thinking. We ought not to have asked schools to stand alone without being part of a supportive school district. Other countries have shown the success of supportive infrastructures to both support and share ideas. Schools can no longer work in isolation reinventing the wheel – too many schools ‘do not know what they do not know’.
The current focus on school failure, the ‘achievement gap’, has increased markedly as a result of market forces ideology which has widened the ‘winner loser’ gap. Schools can always do better but can only be truly successful if a more communal narrative (ideology) replaces the current emphasis on self-interest.
Cathy concludes her book with some hard hitting recommendations.
Schools need to ensure all students succeed to realise their unique set of gift and talents, equipped with the learning competencies to thrive in the uncertain times ahead. ‘The current New Zealand schooling system,’ Wylie writes, ‘cannot meet these expectations’. We have not been able to make the best about self-managing schools…..Tomorrows Schools has certainly enhanced school initiative…..(but) on their own they are not sufficient to improve educational opportunities and outcomes across the board…..it has been too uneven. It has yet to reach all students. Our system lacks the national and local infrastructure of connections to share and keep building effective teaching practices so that schools can do what we ask of them…The Ministry has largely played a hands off role’ providing one size fits all solutions relying on ensuring schools comply to regulations.. Between 16 to 20% of schools struggle each year’.
Schools need the’ opportunity to learn from their peers in other schools…There is an unmet need for cross fertilisation that the inspectors and advisers once played, such as arranging inter-school visits so that teachers and principals can see more effective practices and have the opportunity to discuss how these practices work, how to bring about change’.
We need a fresh approach. We need to construct a network of education authorities that support and challenge schools….in ways that make more of the schools than schools can make of themselves – ways that nurture the capacity of schools to self-manage. ‘We haven’t the time or the money to reinvent the wheel.’
The current fragmentation of government agencies are counterproductive. ‘The past 33 years have shown limitations of positioning each school as a separate island. It will be connections that increase the effectiveness of our schools.’ What is needed is ‘integrate the key strengths of what was lost with Tomorrows Schools….This means more than tweaking our current structures and ways of doing things. It means changes in the government agencies and some changes for schools and boards… I suggest more challenging support at the local level, more connections to share and build knowledge and more coherence between the different layers of the schooling system.’
Such connected infrastructures will make real difference.’ We have the experience and knowledge now to create the more dynamic schooling system that our children need. It is time to give all our self-managing schools the vital connections, support and challenge they need to succeed.’

(To appreciate the full message best to read the book particularly the recommendations)