Parents/carers are a child's most important educator and deserve better suport, and democratic schools are foundations for a learning society

Titus Alexander's picture
Working with local schools and communities in disadvantaged areas for many years brought home the fundamental importance of parents/carers as the most important and enduring teachers in children's lives, for good or ill, and families are our most important places of learning. Since then I've discovered that there is a lot of research evidence to support it. Parents get very little support in this role from schools or society, but are heavily punished if things go wrong. So support for parents is my top priority for improving children's life chances.

Second, what happens in classrooms is critical for learning, so support teachers, time for lesson preparation and continuous professional development are vital.

Third, formative assessment rather than SATS and GCSEs: if possible, abolish arbitrary external assessment and support effective school-based assessment.

Fourth, cooperative citizenship schools could become the foundations for a democratic learning society in which all our children can flourish. Get rid of standardised external inspection, but develop critical friends to interrogate school self-inspection.

Not much of a story: I went to a Steiner school, studied maths and history of ideas, refused to take exams at university on principle and worked in adult/community education for many years, was a local authority adviser/inspector, Ofsted accredited and wrote or edited a few books on education. Mainly taught adults and youth, but had a weekly Y4 class doing 'philosophy with children' and circle time for a year (with a teacher present).
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