Schools' future? AI, inspection and underpaid teachers

What will education look like when today's NQTs retire? Probably a lot like it does right now, says Colin Harris

Schools' future: the teacher-pupil relationship will remain paramount

The future of education – what a fascinating discussion. What will education look like when those teachers just entering the profession are my age? What kind of school will they retire from?

We all have our ideas of what the next 40 years will hold. Will things be fundamentally different? Will teaching have totally changed


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I think not. Education, by its very nature, revolves changes around a very stable axis.

I am someone who can look back and see the changes that have taken place over the past four decades. Smaller classes certainly, with far more resources, both material and human. 

Lessons have also become more personalised. And, of course, we have moved from the blackboard to the interactive whiteboard, and from the textbook to the tablet.

All about relationships

And yet, 40 years ago, education was all about relationships. Today, it is about those same relationships, and the focus will be similar in another 40 years…

Pupils will always need to be taught how to learn, and also to want to learn. And they will also need to be taught how to get on with others. Learning will always be lifelong, and while every individual will be able to access what they want at the flick of a switch, they will still need to want to.

Pupils will still need to learn how to solve problems and how to work in a team to do so. No matter what technology is around, people will still need the skills of human interaction. Education from the earliest times has always been people-driven, and this will not change.

Data will also still be at the core of what schools do. But the inspection regime, in whatever form it takes, will focus not on what individuals do but on how schools motivate them to want to do it. It will focus on whether individuals can be a positive element in society.

In essence, while we all think education in the future will be dramatically different, it won't be. Children will still be children, parents will still be parents, and teachers will still be underpaid in an education system that is always in a state of continuous change.

And we will probably still be talking about Brexit

Colin Harris led a school in a deprived area of Portsmouth for more than two decades. His last two Ofsted reports were “outstanding” across all categories

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