100 signatures reached
To: The Secretary of State for Education
Let's Build A Democratic Education System In England
1.We want to make the education system in England more democratic by involving students, parents, employers, professionals, unions and local communities in deciding what is to be taught, how and by whom.
2.We want to change the language with which education is discussed from that of management, measurement and accountability to trust, dialogue and local decision-making.
3. We must replace exams and inspections that each year write off as failures half the candidates and adopt a unified and inclusive approach which publicly recognises the talents of all students, the wider achievements of all schools and their contribution to the life of the communities they serve.
Why is this important?
We make this demand because the present system is deaf, divisive and dysfunctional. Neither students nor teachers are listened to. The system is becoming ever more class- based, deeply unequal and socially segregated. It creates too many casualties, most obviously those who leave school with little if anything to show for 11 years of schooling and who feel they have been written off as “failures.” The “successes” of the system meanwhile have become better at passing exams but poorer at learning; too many do not possess the creativity and independence of mind that a vibrant democratic society and modern economy require.
The scale, number and constantly changing nature of the reforms that have been introduced since 1988 by all the political parties have created an oppressive, dispiriting system which is driven by fear; fear of punitive inspection, high-stakes testing and league tables. Stress cascades down the system and smothers innovation and risk-taking by teachers, who sum up the current atmosphere in their workplaces as “toxic”. That is the same atmosphere in which our children and grandchildren are expected to learn and to grow up to be responsible citizens.