Calculated risk

Captains of industry and creative geniuses get where they are by aiming high and sometimes falling short. But in an education system that revolves around targets and accountability, how can teachers encourage pupils to take risks and navigate failure? Caroline Henshaw finds out

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Alistair McConville walked into the school sports hall to take his chemistry GCSE last year and, as he did so, he felt the familiar thrill of pre-exam excitement. But unlike the other students in the hall, this was the first time he had taken a test like this since 1991. These days, he spends most of his time teaching classes rather than attending them.

“It was a bit surreal,” says the 43-year-old director of innovation and learning at Bedales School in Hampshire. “It was nostalgic and in some ways it makes you realise that not much has changed … Well, nothing had changed other than some of my ...

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