How a values-driven education can help us chart our way in uncertain times

Our eyes have been opened to the real purpose of education

Carolyn Laws Headteacher, St James’ Catholic High School, London

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School leaders are currently in the bizarre position of having to work simultaneously in parallel realities. Dealing with the situation on the ground right now – are all the hand sanitisers in place? Is that temperature gauge working? Planning forward to September and beyond – how will we organise the timetable? How will our kids cope after so long out of the school system? The changing landscape – how can we best adapt our curriculum, our assessment, our pastoral care, our policies? We’re developing the ability to hold three time frames in our heads at once as we plan – it’s challenging and exciting. 

In one way everything has changed and we need to change in response – we’re questioning our curriculum, the purpose of our policies and organisational structures and the nature and purpose of accountability measures. In light of the structural inequalities highlighted by the Black Lives Matters movement, we are looking at disadvantage in our schools and communities and figuring out how to do the best for our children. We are coming to a deep understanding of the role of school in the lives of families and the life of the nation.

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