Some time ago I gave up being surprised by Scottish island mum. I now see it as a series of crossing on a journey with no end and that, to me, is the best of the best. It allows me to take my foot off the gas and consider these crossings as they appear before me in a reflective and compassionate way. The thing about blogging is that you are never really sure who is reading your blog and what they are making of it. That is until they speak out and followers of Scottish island mum are very good at speaking out.
Just today I have crossed paths with a woman that I had heard vague mutterings about but never the detail that I needed. Her name is Polly Higgins and she is a lawyer. My various circles had fluttered her name around but today I understood why she would become more important in my life. She is prepared to stand up for the planet and her work in ecoside is ground breaking in the legal domain. I admire that and I admire her. If you want to meet her listen to her TED talk – it will really make you think. Her dare to be great thesis has real legs and I hope that it continues to make strides forward into our thinking.
In her talk she references Satish Kumar and I have worked with him before and, for me, he laid down the agenda to start saving our own planet. His work has inspired me for a good many years. Now to the paths that have crossed….. Of late you will know that I have been preoccupied with education in the UK and I am presently writing a book that I hope will add something to the debate. Michael Gove, the education secretary, and I are sitting on opposite sides of the debate and more and more I am being asked for a view of educational issues. I take this role very seriously indeed and have, over time, established a view that our education system needs a significant intervention. When we get into the realms of 9/10 hour days and even more assessment we are truly losing the plot. By trying to mirror China we are sending exactly the wrong message to our children about what education is. My emerging theory now has a name – Education Untethered. My premise is that we have taken a dramatic wrong turn in our journey to offer our children the best education we can. Education untethered is a proposal that we need to let go of our obsession with assessment and standards and re-find an approach to learning that is inspired and capable of lasting a life time.
My Education Untethered proposal has been spotted in virtual land and Polly and I are now destined to meet. At this stage I can not confirm the details of this meeting because several options are being considered. The meeting will be in a forum of new thinking where we will both be able to offer up our proposals for change and development. To me this is incredibly exciting. Polly and I might work in different domains but our thinking stems for a similar place. My simple mind blog post was the catalyst for this coming together as someone who knows Polly well contacted me and presented me with this option to explore. Having spent quite a few weeks battling with thinkers that think like Michael Gove it is a refreshing and highly attractive option. Spending time with people who have grasped the need to think beyond themselves and to be the best they can be is incredibly humbling.
As developments become clearer I will, of course, update on this blog but I did think you would smile at the connections that Scottish island mum continues to make. Sitting by the fire escaping a terrible storm on my little island I seem to be able to find a voice and share some views that respond to topical issues that increasingly demand attention. This is because I speak to parents from all over the UK on a daily basis about their concerns for our education system and the experiences their children are currently going through. Last night I watched a programme that focused on a relatively new training method for ‘top graduates’ looking to enter the teaching profession. Just 6 weeks of training and then they are in schools for a further 2 year probation period. The standard of teaching was nothing short of horrendous and I would doubt the quality of any learning occurring in these classes. This is just further evidence that we have lost our way and that a quiet but building revolution is underway. Scottish island mum is talking to some very interesting people that are in positions where change might just be possible. Let us hope for a much brighter future.
Speak very soon. xx