The main consensus from the discussion was that effective implementation of any new model requires buy-in from all stakeholders. Whether teachers, students, parents, or employers, we must understand everybody’s unique needs and aspirations and address them up front. To me, a prime example that this buy-in is currently lacking comes in the form of teachers’ strikes.
While strikes often receive headline attention for being about pay, UK teachers in fact earn above average in the OECD. I believe, then, that the overly heavy focus on funding occludes other issues contributing to teacher dissatisfaction. Covid-19 would be the obvious example – it presented immense challenges for teachers and their hard work is not yet over. They are now burdened with the task of catch-up learning, for which they need greater support. Ultimately, we must identify and tackle the root cause of problems faced by all stakeholders. While the issues vary between groups, this ultimately boils down to working together. Collaboration, here, is key.
The event explored many points that warrant deeper discussion, and which I hope can translate into meaningful change. In my role as co-chair of the Schools, Learning, and Assessment APPG, my goal to ensure that every future manifesto – regardless of party lines – has ambitions for something similar to a National Baccalaureate. But it’s vital to exercise prudence here. Fools rush in, but it is only by working together carefully that we can hope to shape education for the benefit of young people everywhere, and for society as a whole.