Schools full of hope?
Sickness, suffering, disease, greed and bitter, hard work. As well as the headlines of the pandemic they are said to be the problems that escaped when Pandora peaked inside a beautiful box. The ancient Greek story is a pretty depressing cautionary tale of curiosity and consequence. But it’s also a reminder that dwelling among the awful and hidden by the hideous is one positive. The idea of hope!
We have seen schools close, children disadvantaged, exams stopped and progress has faltered but we have also been given a chance. Possibly a once in a lifetime chance. This is the opportunity to look at how schools have been organised and ask about the best ways to re-start and re-build them once the pandemic is over.
Everybody wants a fresh, new beginning and everyone has had enough of the bad times. In planning what to do next should we look to the past or hope for the future? In this horrible hiatus where so many things have stopped or slowed in schools, we can at least ask the big questions about what we should change in the years ahead.
Do we really need as many exams at as many ages?
Are the holidays the right length and at the right time of the year?
Is the day the right length for all the children?
Can we take the best from our new tech skills and develop new ways of learning?
Do we still have to do all our exams with a pen?
Can pupils sit exams more than once without repeating a whole year?
Can school leavers apply to university after they have their results?
It would be marvellous to renovate and rejuvenate our schools after the bad times.
I would like to think that our leaders in education will be asking their own big question at the moment, not just planning that everything somehow goes back the way it was. Like Pandora, the one thing we don’t want to lose now is hope.
Peter Hogan has been the Head of schools in the UK and Asia for 20 years. He writes about schools, teaching and learning at hogan.education and can be contacted at email@example.com