Monday, April 20, 2009

Looking at the panel (2)

Next in the line-up:



is Mick Waters, Director of Curriculum at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. According to the résumé I just linked there, his goal "..is 'to develop a modern, world-class curriculum that will inspire and challenge all learners and prepare them for the future. He finds it fascinating!" Fascinating indeed, then, that he should find himself on a board of elective home education reviewers, because I believe that our kind of curriculum is second to none, as regards inspiring and challenging all learners and preparing them for the future. A constantly adapting, no-holds-barred, no limits approach? Exactly what every student needs. Not just taking each person's ability and aptitude into account, but framing their whole education around those things, rather than the supposed demands of the workplace. This prepares people for the future better than anything else. Imagine a future in which everyone could easily find their own natural rôle in life! [opens YouTube]

Mick believes the curriculum should be treasured and valued and that it needs to be shaped to fit with children's lives. To make the curriculum work, people in schools need to set understandings of their children alongside the learning they should meet to create learning that is irresistible.

This sounds like a man who is definitely on our side. But wait. Stop. What was that..? "..the learning they should meet.."? What learning should they meet? Are we back to those old 'five GCSEs' requirements? Really, they're so last century and not remotely suitable for every child, though there might be one or two around who are suited to them.

Before joining QCA, Mick was Chief Education Officer for the City of Manchester. In a challenging education environment schools worked hard to break the cycle of urban deprivation, promoting a wide and rich curriculum and encouraging all learners to achieve as much as possible. Key agendas included the development of joint children's services, the 14-19 strategy, the employment and skills dimension and configuring all this around Building Schools for the Future.

We've met this Building Schools for the Future , thing before haven't we? Hmm.. a blog search says not, but we did look at one aspect of it. I can't help noticing a reference to change management in there. It's worth reading that Wikipedia page to get an idea of how very preplanned and scientifically manipulative the process of organisational change has become.

The role of Director of Curriculum at QCA enables Mick to work with all partners to develop a world class curriculum that offers all young people the chance to enjoy success at school and in later adult life. This involves exploring what really matters in learning and supporting new developments, linked to the five outcomes for children.

"..Enjoy success at school.." seems to indicate that he's not all that well-placed to advise about elective home educators. "..Exploring what really matters in learning.." Has he explored and decided, then? I'd like to know what he thinks really matters in learning. His expertise with the five outcomes perhaps makes a good person to work out how the ECM framework [opens pdf] associated PSAs need to be changed to avoid causing problems for elective home educators.

This Guardian article speaks very highly of Mr Waters. He sounds like someone who is genuinely interested in the learning process, but I think I would take issue with him regarding the importance of outcomes - especially of the pre-determined variety. This presentation of his [opens pdf] about the QCA's annual review of 2007, includes:

What makes learning worth it?

- which sums up, for me, the whole problem with schools: the people organising them know that students need complete freedom to learn properly, and yet pressure from government makes that freedom impossible. This will always be the case, whenever outcomes are demanded from learning by someone other than the learner.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Firebird said...

Saw him in this Teachers TV debate "Is the Curriculum Fit for the 21st Century?" http://www.teachers.tv/video/31411 and he came across as pretty reasonable, but that only makes him potentially able to understand EHE when what we want is some people who DO understand it.

Anyway, I'd rate him as one of the less problematical choices. He's not evil.

9:57 pm, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Carlotta said...

"which sums up, for me, the whole problem with schools: the people organising them know that students need complete freedom to learn properly, and yet pressure from government makes that freedom impossible."

I think this is exactly right.

8:13 pm, April 22, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

That's good news Firebird :-)

Thanks C.

5:27 am, April 24, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

It was good to come and re read this after following Ali's link . I had posted that his latest spoutings were somewhat positive http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1213904/Weve-tested-joy-childhood-says-National-Curriculum-guru.html

will I never learn to come and refresh my memory on 'sometimes' before making ill informed comment ;)

1:46 pm, September 17, 2009  

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