Trad v prog debate 'tired' and 'dogmatic', says MAT CEO

We need to stop seeing every issue in education through the lens of the trad vs prog debate, says Dame Rachel de Souza

Claudia Civinini

Traditional of progressive? We need to stop seeing every issue in education through the lens of the trad vs prog debate, says academy chain boss

The debate within teaching between traditionalist and progressive approaches has become "increasingly dogmatic" and polarising, an influential academy leader has warned. 

Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, said the debate had helped to develop her academy chain's thinking.

But she said today that there was now a need to "cut through" the conflict and move beyond it.

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"We see a need to go beyond the tired debate that we too often see in education," Dame Rachel told the Schools and Academies Show.

"There has been a huge amount of debate in and around education over the past decade or so, and that debate has moved the country on and it’s helped develop our thinking as a trust.

Moving on from the trad vs prog debate in education

"But it’s become increasingly dogmatic: every issue seems to polarise, every issue is met with criticism on the basis of whether someone's argument sounds progressive or traditionalist, rather than on the basis of what would be best for our children.

"We need to cut through it."

The academy leader continued by citing examples of issues that schools need to look at and that transcend either view. 

"It's neither progressive nor traditionalist to want great life outcomes for our black Caribbean boys and to recognise the odds being stacked against them," Dame Rachel said.

"It's neither progressive nor traditionalist to recognise that white working-class boys are now the least likely group to make it to university, and to want to do something about it."

And she concluded: "And it’s neither progressive not traditionalist to want our SEND children to truly thrive in any academic environment."


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Claudia Civinini

Claudia Civinini

Find me on Twitter @claudiacivinini

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