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Learning revolution will lead to fewer teachers and an 'explosion' of data, says Sir Michael Barber

A learning revolution that will mean fewer teachers, an “explosion” of data and a departure from traditional schooling, has begun, according to one of the world’s most prominent educationalists.

Sir Michael Barber (pictured) believes that a combination of globalisation, new digital technology, and the failure of top performing schools systems to further improve is about to trigger the first major changes to formal education in 140 years.

These “game-changers” will “shake the very foundations of the current paradigm of school education”, the former Prime Ministerial adviser argues in a paper published today. And that will mean big changes for teachers, he told TES in an exclusive interview.

The chief education adviser for Pearson, parent company of Edexcel – England’s biggest exam board – argues that this country’s exam system remains a potential barrier to improvement.

“We have got to get over – and the technology will allow us to do this – the view that only a formal written two or three exam is rigorous,” he said. 

He also called for a 10-year cross-party strategy to overhaul assessment in England. “The risk is that we see rigour associated with the past and the gold standard, as used often in England, tends to mean A-levels sometime in the 1950s,” he said. “But really the gold standard is Singapore or some place in the future.”

Read the full article in the 5 December edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

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