Jim McCormick, research director of the Scottish Council Foundation think-tank, kicked off a conference last Friday in Glasgow with a call for "a more personalised, tailored curriculum".
Mr McCormick's mantra was more "active learning" - examples being greater use of the community, of recovering addicts in drug education programmes and of unemployed people in combined work and learning packages.
He also called for "a young people's jury" to enlist ideas on what schools should look like in the future. This should reflect the importance of involving young people in actual decisions, not just consulting them.
The theme of learning beyond the school was taken up by Helen Law, education spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, which organised the conference with the Association of Directors of Education.
"Education has to be a collective effort, otherwise it's too much effort," Mrs Law said.
The conference heard of a number of new initiatives - out-of-school learning in Renfrewshire, raising achievement strategies in North Lanarkshire and a "youth voice team" in Highland.
The 70-strong Highland team was represented by Aissa Watson and Richard Macpherson, who have just left Inverness Royal Academy and Alness Academy respectively, along with Amy Johnson of Thurso High. Among their suggestions were "tougher" teacher training, involvement in job interviews and "flexibility to study the subject you want when you want".