Projects are like this all the time – you set out to create one thing, and end up creating something completely different. But in the case of the Government’s “Building Schools for the Future” programme, you would think that the name of the programme says it all…that it’s all about “Building Schools”. But of course it isn’t – it is actually about creating a model of transformed learning for the future. Addressing fundamental questions about how we move from an “industrial” age of learning to an “individual” age.
So the article No more school as council opens ‘learning centres’ in The Independent makes interesting reading. To quote a couple of parts:
“Knowsley Council in Merseyside, which – for years – has languished near or at the bottom of exam league tables, has abolished the use of the word to describe secondary education in the borough. It is taking the dramatic step of closing all of its eleven existing secondary schools by 2009. As part of a £150m government-backed rebuilding programme, they will reopen as seven state-of-the-art, round-the-clock, learning centres…”
“Youngsters will not be taught in formal classes, nor will they stick to a rigid timetable; instead they will work online at their own speeds on programmes that are tailor-made to match their interests. They will be given their day’s assignments in groups of 120 in the morning before dispersing to internet cafe-style zones in the learning centres to carry them out.
“Madeleine Cotson, the headteacher of Bowring, said: “Provided they can show they have developed their learning, there is no reason why they couldn’t do some of their learning from home.”
“Let’s stop right now building new old schools,” said Nick Page, who is in charge of transforming children’s services in Knowsley. “We’re building for the next 25 to 50 years and 25 years is a hell of a long period if we get it wrong.”