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VIEWS From the pen of… STEPHEN TIERNEY


In our regular series highlighting authors in education we hear this month from STEPHEN TIERNEY, author of “Educating with Purpose: The Heart of What Matters” published by John Catt Educational.


If the decade past focused on what works, the decade ahead must focus on what matters. The purpose of education must move to the heart of the educational debate. Much of the current


thinking and debate about education has concentrated on the curriculum. This has tended to focus on the individual acquisition of knowledge, increasingly within the context of disciplines and subject. This has seen a real strengthening of aspects of schools’ practice in the development of pupils’ intellect. Whilst the curriculum and the development of the intellect are


important, education is much bigger than this. Education must contribute positively to people having “a life well lived”. People are the substance of education, they are what matters. To enable this we need to give our children and young people a balanced education in which their intellectual, moral, spiritual, aesthetic, creative, emotional and physical development are all of importance. At the heart of what matters is our belief about why we educate.


For too long our focus has been on school effectiveness, the important “what and how” of education. These need to sit within the greater discourse of “why”. Schools have a significant part to play in making children and young people cleverer, happier, safer, more confident and increasingly responsible. Educating with Purpose explores the four key philosophies that


contribute to purpose in education: personal empowerment, cultural transmission, preparation for work and preparation for citizenship. Each of these philosophies is given a thorough explanation with associated theoretical underpinning from important works. For each, I provided practical implications from my experiences in


schools spanning over thirty years - the last twenty five being in senior leadership. Issues around decolonising the curriculum, zero tolerance behaviour systems, an over emphasis on the theoretical in the absence of any consequential action, cultural literacy, the lack of choice created by the EBacc, the impact of Ofsted as an all-powerful overseer and the inability of teachers to control their work/home balance due to demands of senior leaders are all discussed within the book. The reader is invited to think about their underlying beliefs about


why we educate. Thanks to the contributions of five experienced school leaders, the purpose of education in: Early Years; primary, secondary and special schools; as well as Alternative Provision are explored. In the final chapters of the book I present my thoughts on how I


would like to see the education system change as we journey to 2030. The Covid-19 pandemic has created our generation’s Great Pause. We are likely to re-enter the world changed. Hopefully, to challenge the sometimes immature, competitive, self-serving selves and systems we exist in. It is a call to be more than we currently are. In part, this “more” is ensuring a preferential option for the poor,


keeping closest to our hearts the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and damaged within our society. For this to become a lived reality, a number of aspects of our current system need either changing or re- balancing. We must sing into existence this future, one that will serve our children, young people and communities well.


Educating with Purpose – The heart of what matters costs £14 and is available from uhttps://www.johncattbookshop.com/educating-with-purpose- the-heart-of-what-matters


November 2020 BRITISH EDUCATIONAL SUPPLIERS ASSOCIATION (BESA) A rest is as good as a …well… rest


In her regular column for Education Today this month, JULIA GARVEY, Operations Director at school suppliers’ association BESA, offers some thoughts on managing student and teacher wellbeing.


I write this article in the depths of


half term, knowing that it will be published when traditionally we will all be counting down the days to the end of term and Christmas. It’s got me reflecting on the value of rest and recuperation – for staff and students – and how this year more than ever the stress of the unknown, the extra safety measures, and the need to learn new systems and procedures – may have left us all more in need of R&R than ever before.


The secondary school where I am a school governor has reported that


students have, on the whole, shown remarkable resilience during these difficult times but that those who are struggling may need additional support for many months to come. And many staff are also feeling the burden particularly when they may be worried about their own health or those of their family members.


While we can’t help manage the uncertainty over future school


closures or whether exams will be further delayed or replaced, we can provide a few sources of practical help and support.


At BESA we have been running CPD events for teachers during the


Autumn term to help you navigate these difficult times. We’ve tried to include sessions on wellbeing as well as focusing on technology products that will reduce teacher workload, as a way of helping to lift some of the burden. Each session has been recorded and is available for teachers to view and share at a time that is suitable for you. These are sessions delivered by practising teachers, who are sharing tips and advice that worked in their school – always a great place to start when looking for new ideas. You can access the content at LearnED.org.uk


Our Learning after Lockdown guidance booklet, which was made


available to all schools for free in September, and includes a whole section on managing both student and teacher wellbeing and mental health. As a trade association we aim to help connect teachers with suppliers who offer products and services that will support you in your work. This booklet provides a showcase of the assistance on offer and how other teachers have adopted the solutions in their schools. There is so much support and goodwill amongst the industry with everyone aiming to do their bit to ease the burden on schools, that we simply want to signpost the way. If you would like to download your free copy of the Learning after Lockdown booklet then please do go besa.org.uk/news/learning-after-lockdown/.


And finally, don’t forget our LendED.org.uk platform, the free to use


tool that enables you to identify and trial education technology products for your school, before making your purchasing decision.


These challenges we face are not going away overnight, but the end of


term and a few weeks’ rest will hopefully go some way towards recharging the batteries and enabling us all to reflect on what has been an extraordinary term.


Julia Garvey Operations Director uBesa.org.uk


www.education-today.co.uk 13


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