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End of the system as we know it

"SCHOOLS of the future will be much like schools of the past," asserts think-tank guru Martin Johnson (TES, May 24). However, he fails to consider the more fundamental question - will we need schools at all?

The next 20 years could see the demise of the school as we know it - and bigger changes in the structure of learning than at any time since the Forster Education Act of 1870.

Changing technology is only the smallest consideration. Among others are: the theories of independent and co-operative learning will show how outdated is the model emphasised by Johnson of "groups of young people led by one or more adults"; empowerment and ownership issues will lead to learner-based learning rather than centralised curricula; emphasis on continued, lifelong and informal learning will reduce the power of institutions which operate ineffectively for such a small part of the learning life; changing financial and political structures will move the centre of gravity away from schools as organised today.

What will come in place of schools? That is a very useful question which think-tank gurus and every teacher (and child) could well consider.

John Bibby 1 Straylands Grove, York

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