8th July 2016 at 00:00

The most significant referendum this century has left young people looking hopelessly at a fractured, leaderless, ill-tempered and often irresponsible adult world. How are we in education helping disenfranchised under-18s with their concerns, hopes and aspirations for the future?

Over recent years, there has been a real growth in pupil voice. This must now address Brexit and the changed future it has created. More curriculum attention is needed to allow children the opportunity to be citizens in their communities. Voting at 16? Children on interview panels and associated with governing bodies? Why not?

The international dimension assumes an even greater importance and the government must ensure that previous levels of EU funding – with the excellent school programmes linked to research – is maintained. Being out of Europe makes it even more important to link into it.

Doug Springate and John Cook

Retired primary educators

Given the growth of racist incidents, the prime minister has rightly paid tribute to the great contribution to the UK made by Polish and other EU communities here today. However, I agree that the promotion of British values will be more important than ever before (“After Project Fear comes Project Uncertainty”, Editorial, 1 July). We also need a public discussion about what British values are.

As a British Indian, I am told that I must integrate with British society and conform to British values, such as speaking English. Should the same not apply to migrant communities from the EU?

Shouvik Datta

Teacher of English for speakers of other languages

Pity students stuck in secondary

I was interested to read Kate Townshend’s article on secondaries easing transition by being more like primaries (“Primary sources of growth”, Feature, 1 July). Whereas primary pupils benefit from nurturing care and cross-curricular learning, and sixth-formers from independence and respect, secondary pupils often get the worst of both worlds. Little wonder that “GCSE pupils value teacher organisation over kindness” (Insight, 1 July). Should we be surprised that, once they start having less robotic relationships with teachers in sixth form, they go back to being interested in them for something more than pieces of paper?

Martyn Steiner


More of the same from Ofsted

Teachers must feel they have gone out of the frying pan and into the fire. The preferred candidate for chief inspector Amanda Spielman’s responses to the Commons Education Select Committee’s gentle questions (bit.ly/Spielman14) hardly inspired confidence in either her leadership or depth of understanding of the schooling system or its workforce.

So the era of Wilshaw will trundle on unchallenged, with regular platitudes about standards rising or falling to justify its existence. We should be worried. Why? The model based on self-sustenance is unwieldy and unchallenging and already attracting the attention of quacks.

Professor Bill Boyle

Tarporley, Cheshire

Why must we assess what we value?

Your excellent piece on Martin Seligman (“Build resilience by teaching positivity before puberty”, Insight, 1 July) makes us think that what we value in education needs to be assessed – something that the article does not explore.

Across the world, research is exploring whether wider skills such as creativity, critical thinking and grit can be assessed and, if so, what the consequences of this will be.

We strongly agree with the OECD’s Andreas Schleicher that creativity is the literacy of the 21st century. But Pisa’s newish collaborative problem-solving test will enshrine a different kind of league table to the more familiar English, maths and science. Is this a good thing or not? Do we necessarily need to assess something this complex?

Professor Bill Lucas and Dr Ellen Spencer

University of Winchester

A goal-focused manager for England…

If we ran our schools the way the FA runs our national football team, we would have been sent packing long ago. We need somebody with the authority to deal with overpaid footballers, who whinge about being held to account for having to score the odd goal. The choice is obvious: Sir Michael Wilshaw for England manager!

Stephanie Gibson

Headteacher, St Catherine’s Primary School, Surrey

Facebook users on how MFL could hold the key to teaching tolerance after Brexit bit.ly/BrexitMFL

“Amen to that. We’ve always said [MFL] is good for understanding English and comes with lots of cultural knowledge.”


“Brexiters are not racists on the whole, and I don’t see how MFL can solve the issue of those who are…no amount of education can help them!”


“It’s been this way for years!! MFL in the UK has no value.”


And on “Part-time roles may tempt ex-teachers” bit.ly/PartTimeRole

“Going part-time meant I worked most people’s full-time – basically I got paid less and had a weekend.”


“I would love to be part-time. I tried it for a term and found my work-life balance improved beyond all recognition. I would happily take the financial hit.”


“Being part-time didn’t help my workload. In fact it made it worse. I found people’s attitudes quite negative, too.”


From the TES Community forums

What does the future hold for education after Brexit?


No one knows for sure. However, based on how little the EU did to stop the awful conditions we have now, is it not at least nice that we have a totally new ball game in many areas of teaching? It is a fair point that it should lead to native English speakers from abroad (Australians, South Africans, Canadians and Kiwis, for example) finding it easier to work here.


The big problem will be the rise in xenophobia and racism in schools as well as an even more negative attitude towards MFL. It will add more pressure to squeezed school budgets. This will be the biggest own goal in history!


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