On the purpose of education…still

IAPS conference 2012 was an excellent occasion for a number of reasons – and not necessarily those one would wish to lay, stereotypically, upon on hardworking school leaders! Quite apart from the quality of the speakers, the camaraderie and the professional development, there was a clear sense that themes are emerging within independent education that are gaining credence among this audience.

Now, given that the all-embracing term “independent” prefixes our schools and association, it is a challenge to be so bold as to suggest that we might experience some kind of unifying, epiphanic (it must be right it didn’t spell-check it!) moment in our collective evolution as schools. However I will. Curriculum reform, the learning revolution of social-mobile-web2.0 technology and the overarching responsibility we have to educate citizens prepared for a future, environmentally and socially, beyond our predictive ability are all present in increasing numbers of conversations, seminars, training sessions and professional development opportunity.

School leaders are finding a voice and a language that is not an easy bed fellow with the traditional view of Prep School education. However, the perfect storm of the social and environmental imperatives, educational technology and contemporary pedagogy that swirls around us give cause to rethink just how, and for what purpose, we are preparing our pupils.

We are about to start some research within IAPS that will uncover the range of programmes and activities that provide pupils with the learning opportunities (cross- , co-, hidden- or extra-curricular) necessary for their futures. We already provide excellent, exceptional development of intellectual and academic capability. Yet their futures will require the knowledge, skills and understanding of sustainable living and development, the environment, personal well-being, justice and human rights. It is time that we shared how to make this successful.

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