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Competitive schooling is turning young people off

Secondary education can be demotivating for many students and should not exist merely to sort them for the labour market, but to help them find their best selves

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Despite many ups and downs in my 40-plus years in teaching, I still hold to the ideal that brought me into the profession: that schools should help young people find and develop their best selves, using their skills, knowledge and insight to make a valuable contribution as positive, capable, caring citizens in our rapidly changing world.

My generation, equating secondary education with secondary schooling, did not fully succeed in this challenge. Despite many improvements, the statistics of attendance, exclusion and achievement that we use as proxy measures suggest that many young people still ...

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