The joint statement below, authored by David Davis MP, Robert Halfon MP, and members of the Institute for Ethical AI in Education, Sir Anthony Seldon, Professor Rose Luckin, and Priya Lakhani, OBE, calls for the creation of an education and training system that nurtures talent and creates a ladder of opportunity for everyone.
Joint Statement on Education Reform
Originally published in the Sunday Times, 10th January 2021
One of the biggest challenges facing our nation is the creation of an education system that nurtures talent and creates opportunity for everyone.
However, debate about reform often focuses on two opposites — knowledge and skills. This is a false divide. Knowledge is only relevant alongside the skills to interpret it; skills are only useful when there is knowledge to draw on.
Our current system is not fit for the 21st century. Social mobility continues to decline, and even before the pandemic we faced significant skills gaps: by 2024, there will be an estimated shortfall of four million skilled workers. Now Covid-19 has wreaked further damage, with millions of children missing lessons.
"Urgent change is essential.
This starts with the scrapping of GCSEs."
Too much technology in schools has been out of date for 10 years. Worse still, teachers are not sufficiently incentivised to integrate it into their practice. The UK is 31% behind the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average in this respect.
1. Urgent change is essential. This starts with the scrapping of GCSEs. In their place we need a broad baccalaureate, incorporating academic and vocational education at age 18.
2. Second, the factory model — where each pupil advances at the same pace in every subject, regardless of ability and interest — must be swept away forever. Instead, we should enable personalised education through the use of new technology.
3. Third, we need a radical re-engineering of the classroom. The effective use of technology, including AI, can provide seamless learning between school and home.
4. Clearly, the growth of AI and robotics will have a profound impact. So, fourth, we need a special royal commission on education, AI and exam reform that would include experts and report within nine months. It is essential we understand and prepare the nation for the impending changes in our economy and society.
1. Damian Green MP
2. Flick Drummond MP
3. Mark Pawsey MP
4. Christian Wakeford MP
5. Lord Kenneth Baker
6. Lord David Puttnam
7. Lord Jim Knight
8. Lord Tim Clement-Jones
9. Lord Nat Wei
10. Professor Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor and President Brunel University London
11. Professor Steven West CBE, Vice-Chancellor and President, UWE,Bristol
12. Geoff Barton | General Secretary. Association of School and College Leaders
13. Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli Economist and Principal, University of Glasgow’
14. Joy Carter, Vice Chancellor, University of Winchester
15. Prof Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam
16. Mary Stuart VC University of Lincoln
17. Al McConville, Director of Learning and Innovation, Bedales School
18. Bob Harrison, Chair of Governors, The Northern College
19. Sir Michael Barber, educationalist
20. Luke Johnson, entrepreneur
21. Sherry Coutu, entrepreneur
22. Tom Hooper, entrepreneur
23. Deirdre Medler, Director of Initial Teacher Education, University of East Anglia
24. Professor Chris Wilkins, Head of School of Education, University of Leicester
25. Dr Eric Addae-Kyeremeh, Head of School of Innovation, Open University
26. Professor Simon Thompson, Head of Education, University of Sussex
27. Karine George- Award winning head teacher and advisor
28. Timo Hannay, Managing Director, School Dash Limited
29. Nick Kind, Senior Director, Tyton Partners
30. Margaret McCabe, CEO, DebateMate
31. Sherry Coutu CBE– entrepreneur and Investor
32. Anne Bamford – Strategic Director of Education, Skills & Culture, The City of London Corporation
33. Michael Barber – Founder & Chairman of Delivery Associates
34. Professor Chris Brown – Director of Research in The School of Education, University of Durham
35. David Gallagher – CEO of NCFE
36. Sir Andrew Carter – CEO Educational Trust
37. Richard Gerver – International Speaker and Author
38. David Crossley – Educational Consultant specialising in leadership development, school and system transformation