I read with interest a recent article in the Times Educational Supplement regarding the pressures that state schools are under following budget cuts. As is often the way with such cuts, it seems that creative subjects will suffer and many schools will be narrowing their curriculum offer.
What’s more, this narrowing is,
opinion more concerning in light of a future where artificial intelligence and, more immediately the retreat from the single market will change the shape of our job market in ways that we don't even know about yet. AI has already started changing the insurance business in Japan as computers do more to decide the impact of claims. Now, perhaps more than ever before we need students who are resilient, flexible, creative and sociable in order to enter an uncertain job market.
We are very lucky in the independent sector not to be governed by such abstract targets and these tragic budget cuts that are affecting state schools. All schools today face challenges in coping with the rapid pace of change and the huge amount of information that is created. Schools such as Ipswich High School for
Girls however are able to decide our own path in terms of our curriculum and approach and we ensure that we build our pupils skill set in a way that we think will benefit them in the future – no matter how the job market develops.
How do governments decide what is important, how do exam boards decide what is relevant for all pupils to learn, and how do schools adapt?
My concern is that many schools are moving away from the very thing that students will require in the future. The reduction in numbers of students taking the creative subjects and Modern Languages throughout the country must be reversed as soon as possible. These subjects are incredibly valuable for not only broadening students’ perspectives
but developing us as unique individuals. If we are to compete with robots, we need to be different to computers - our USP is our humanity, our individuality and our ability to connect with people.
As educators, along with developing core skills we should continue to nurture the soul, feed the imagination and the individuality, encourage empathy and teach students how to decide for
information is relevant and from a trustworthy source. Our pupils at Ipswich High School are certainly individuals and have these crucial qualities, strengthened by our commitment to creative subjects, that will hold them in good stead in the future.
By Mr Joe Earley - Head of Design & Technology
The TES article
referred to in this post can be found here.