With a general election on the horizon, the major political parties are starting to set out their vision for the future of education. SSAT has a proud history of championing the voices of school leaders and working collaboratively with academics and thought leaders to produce fresh thinking. We decided it would be interesting to seek an expert view of where we are now. What do the people who really know about education think is needed? We issued an open invitation to our networks, partner organisations and some of the leading academics we work with. We wanted to provide an opportunity for a range of informed opinions to be shared.
All of the contributors responded to the same question – What does education need next? Some chose to highlight a particular area of interest, drawing on their particular expertise or highlighting an issue that they believe requires urgent attention. Others took a broader view, setting out a range of issues that they believe to be a priority.
Not surprisingly, some of the significant challenges in the system currently were mentioned – school funding, recruitment and retention, mental health and wellbeing. However, what comes through most strongly is a sense of hope. Despite the very real issues facing school leaders and teachers currently, an optimism about what is possible remains, firmly rooted in the potential of our young people.
In its entirety, Beyond Manifestos reinforces that there is exceptional expertise and wisdom within the education sector. The answers to some of the most challenging questions can, and should be addressed in consultation with the experts in the system. Beyond Manifestos does not seek to make a political point or to endorse any particular view, but it does make a plea to policymakers to utilise the extensive expertise in the system and work in partnership with school leaders and other educators.
If you would like to join the conversation, please share your thoughts on the question ‘What does education need next?’ You can leave a comment below or join the conversation online – #BeyondManifestos.