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New technology will change for ever the way children in this country are educated, according to Tim Brighouse, a le...
New technology will change for ever the way children in this country are educated, according to Tim Brighouse, a leading player in the government's drive to boost school standards,
Professor Brighouse made the comments in a speech to the fourth City of York Annual education lecture at the National Railway Museum. The lecture was sponsored by City of York Council, North Yorkshire Training and Enterprise Council and the National Railway Museum.
The annual education lecture is now an established date in local education authority calendars across the country as well as being a key date in York's academic life. Last year's lecture was given by Oscar-winning film director David Puttnam.
Before taking on his present post as Birmingham's chief education officer in 1993, Tim Brighouse was professor of education at Keele University. Between June 1997 and March 1999 he was co-vice chair of the government's Standards Task Force. He is now a member of the Governing Council of the National College for School Leadership which aims to raise school standards by developing the role of school headteachers.
Chris Edwards, City of York Council's acting director of educational services, said: 'I am delighted that Professor Brighouse has agreed to visit York to deliver this important lecture.
'We know that York schools are good and improving schools but we also know that to build a truly world class education system here in the city of York we need to challenge some of the basic assumptions we all make about learning.
'Our expectations need to be much higher and we need to create a culture where all children are successful and high achieving. I know that Professor Brighouse will help us re-think, re-engineer and re-invent our learning systems and structures here in York.'
Tim Brighouse was brought up in the Midlands and East Anglia; attended state schools and obtained a teaching qualification and degree at Oxford University.
He taught history in grammar and secondary modern schools and spent some time in adult education before entering administration in what was Monmouthshire in 1967.
His administrative career also covers Buckinghamshire, work with the Association of County Councils, deputy in the Inner London Education Authority and chief education officer in Oxfordshire for ten years from 1978.
He has written for the press and broadcast on radio and television, as well as editing and authoring books. From January 1989 until September 1993 he was Professor of Education at Keele University.
He has been chief education officer in Birmingham since September 1993.
He was co-vice chair of the government's standards task force from June 1997 to March 1999.
He was appointed to the Governing Council of the National College for School Leadership in September 2000.
'I take some things as given. The first, and most important, is that the present influence of technology on the education and schooling process is significant and permanent. So it is worth examining what that means.
A first major change
There appear to be three waves of influence from computer-based technology: the first is for learning and clearly profound in its impact on the process of learning and the relationship between the teacher and the learner. The second, which is linked and acts as a multiplier to the effect of the technology for learning, is the technology that facilitates communication. And the last is the technology for management.
It seems to me that these three impacts have already had the following effects:
They have removed the barriers to children's learning. Our wheelchair bound youngsters at Wilson Stuart School with severe communication difficulties can overcome these barriers to such an extent that under the influence of a profoundly talented teacher they are able to perform with precision, grace and harmony at the Royal Albert Hall in the Youth Prom. Make no mistake about it, this was, and is, not an 'ahhh' factor performance, but one of a high and sophisticated standard judged by rigorous standards.
So micro-processors and their application are bringing down the barriers to the
successful education and learning of countless so-called SEN children who ten years ago would have had what have turned out to be unnecessary limits on their learning. At the other end of the same spectrum, the word-processor, the spell-check, the grammar-check and the capacity to choose impressive presentation means that dyslexic victims can look forward to a period when their barriers to learning can be more easily overcome.
On a different level, the computer-assisted learning programmes are proving powerfully motivational and seem to be helping youngsters acquire basic skills and develop higher level competency. To mention 'SuccessMaker' or 'Global' or 'Autoskills' is to underline programmes that in their different ways, and under the skilled guidance of the educator, are already changing life's chances of many children.
I am fond of one story because it illustrates my point graphically. Anne was in Year 7 at Bournville Secondary School: she had a reading age of 8 and came from Raddlebarn Primary. She was busy at Autoskills and had little time for me. When distracted from her work - not an easy thing to achieve - she told me she was doing 'comprehensions. They are difficult you know?' she added doubtfully when I expressed a wish to try one. 'They make your head hurt.' That in itself is a tell-tale expression, evocative for any adults of the moments when a successful teacher pushed us on to an understanding or skill level we had thought beyond our reach. This 11 year old girl, Anne, was exercising that phenomenon through a computer-assisted teaching programme which tested her for speed and accuracy.
There seemed to be an elasticity being induced in her brain and thinking which was impressive. Certainly the teacher thought so. We are in the foothills of
such progress. Now to the impact of the wave of technological communication when it is allied to learning. I cannot believe I am the only person in this room who is an e-tutor. Two years ago it would not have been possible for me to tutor a group of Year 6 pupils in writing because we could not have communicated by the Birmingham Grid for Learning at great speed and with great ease.
Now I can visit the school, read two-thirds of a scary story and then drown in the avalanche of offerings from the different groups' attempts at various endings. I can make intended and unintended errors of grammar, spelling and punctuation and my young friends can correct my mistakes. We can discuss the origin of sayings and indulge ourselves in using them in unusual contexts.
It is not that e-tutoring is a substitute for real and constant human interaction between teacher and taught - I do not fool myself that I have the same extraordinary rapport that exists between Mrs. Hull and her Class 6 - but I can enrich and extend. For the first time, and in a very real way, distance tutors can be deployed by teachers to great effect.
So too the video lesson holds out great possibilities. In an assembly I witnessed at one of our secondary schools an enormous screen which dominated the stage. On it appeared the various and familiar clips of music and TV programmes - usually from the soaps - which were used to illustrate the extraordinary sequence of assemblies which are that school's stock in trade.
As I did so, I thought of our conference last year when 500 people were riveted by the conversation between Professor Susan Greenfield and Howard Gardner about 'Thinking Skills'. One was in the UK, the other 6,000 miles away in Boston, Massachusetts. We are shortly entering a period where instant and vivid TV quality Newsnight interaction from all parts of the world will be part and parcel of what is possible on a wide-scale for youngsters.
It is not that teachers cannot emulate the best of the media, it is that they can and do surpass them.
The technology of communication too has enabled us to create new communities of learners. No longer is there a problem for groups instantly and effortlessly to work together on a common theme. At the moment I have the privilege of being an Adviser to Northern Ireland's Post-Primary Review and the ease of electronic communication enables us all to maintain a lively dialogue and discussion between our meetings.
I have spent some time on these developments. For many years I was one of those who was unimpressed by the first shambling attempts at introducing computers to schools. Timing is all. It is, after all, only 25 years ago that the head of Digital Computers declared that there would never be the call for a computer in the home. So I was in good company in being sceptical at that time about the impact of the computer in learning. I expect it was the same for teachers when the first book appeared. They seemed so laborious toproduce and so expensive that what could be seen as potentially useful to schooling was nevertheless tantalisingly and seemingly
perpetually out of reach.
But the technologies for learning and communication are infinitely more important than the ready availability of the printed book on education. The computer-based application touches all the Gardnerian intelligences - bodily kinaesthetic, linguistic, mathematical/logical/ scientific, musical, spatial, 'naturalistic or environmental' and interpersonal and intrapersonal. And the change is happening now in a great surge. Primary schools with three computers in the whole school suddenly have one for every three pupils: staff embrace it. You observe language teachers, teachers of art, music teachers and scientists - all extending the repertoire of their techniques in a great rush, inspired by their imagination as they bend the
technologies for learning to their pedagogical improvement.
So that is one change that makes me think again about schools - and how they will be a hundred years from now.
A second change
And there is one other major change to consider. It is now generally recognised that in the developed world - and I should perhaps have said that this paper proceeds from the basis that I am thinking all the time about urban schooling in a developed world when I am asking the question which is the title of this talk - there is a demography at work which means that there is, perversely, a prospective shortage of workers in the age range 25-60 as we all look forward to longer third and fourth ages, when we will be found to remain working longer in order to carry out the many jobs that will be necessary.
These jobs which need to be done will be in two sectors. First, there will be a call for higher levels of education and training to keep us at the cutting edge of economic prosperity whether in invention, creativity or business, but there will, secondly, be a huge expansion in the number of jobs for those who service them, whether in the professions or entertainment world. In that I incorporate restaurants, retailing, arts, sport and other services. Finally, there will be the caring professions ministering to the old, the young, the sick and the infirm.
Within the same future world I anticipate people coupling, decoupling and recoupling with a multitude of 'singles' thrown in for good measure. And increasingly the adults in the family will work. From these extrapolations it seems to me we have two forces on our schooling system pulling in different directions. The first, which is the technological, is so enormous in its possible implications that we could cheerfully contemplate the disappearance of school itself, but the second is such that, if schools were once needed close to factories so that both parents could work in the latter half of the 19th Century, so by the end of the 21st they will be needed even more to provide collective care for children whose parents are out at work.
And for my money, education is happening in such situations as children learn either serendipidously from the environment, or deliberately from the learning we try to plan for them.
I am tempted also to comment that as all the other institutions of society have declined (e.g. the church) the school has become more important as the repository of our collective hopes to bring up the young. We heap more and more into the curriculum of the one institution on which we can all rely. That does not mean, however, that school as we know it has, or will, remain the same. Indeed, I believe it will change profoundly.
Our future educators
I should now like to examine some of those changes. In a shortly to be published paper from IPPR, Christopher Yapp outlines some of the changes for the teaching profession. He argues for:
Master Teachers/Mentors
Learning Resource Managers
Learning Coaches
Curriculum Managers/Agents
Staff Development Managers
Advice and Guidance Professionals
Educational Administrators and Trainers
He provides a persuasive rationale. I have set this out in his own words as
Annex One to this paper because I think it deserves the widest consideration.
The only point at which I disagree is what I see as his failure to take into account the relationship between the teacher and the para-professional. We already have learning assistants - or teaching assistants - what used to be called classroom assistants. We also have teaching associates. The first are typically people who are excellent in interpersonal relationships and form a rapport with youngsters and who, under direction, can be support educators and often assistant coaches to the teacher.
The second - teaching associates - are people who for brief periods, as visiting artists for example, provide stimulation and inspiration to the learning process. There is a ready supply of both sets of support educators - associates and
assistants - in the locale that surrounds schools, especially in universities.
But Yapp's discussion of the profession and its future takes us on to consider how schools will work in the future. Every child - and I use that word to denote childhood as opposed to adolescence - will need a plentiful supply of people who know him or her so well that he/she acquires growing confidence in themselves, their surroundings and their amazing sense of competence and translation of dream to reality. During this period of childhood the words I put together in 1993 would probably, and hopefully, hold good for 2093, namely:-
'We must all work to make this world worthy of its children. Because they are 100% of its future. Let this be the beginning of a wish for every Birmingham child: that we would want them to be people with a strong sense of themselves and their own humanity, with an awareness of their thoughts and feelings, with a capacity to feel and express love and joy and to recognise tragedy and feel deep grief. We would want them to be people who witha strong and realistic sense of their own worth, are able to relate with others, to co-operate effectively toward common ends and to
view humankind as one, while respecting diversity and difference.
We will want them to be people, who even while very young, somehow sense that they
have the capacity for lifelong spiritual and intellectual growth. Above all, we would want Birmingham children to cherish the vision of the person they are capable of becoming and to cherish the same potentiality in others.'
In challenging circumstances parents need ready and immediate support in order to be 'good enough'. For many that means increasing their sense of empowerment as well as extra support. So our pre-school workers, lodged in health clinics and surgeries to pick up where the health visitors leave off, is probably a model that after much huffing and puffing will emerge from Sure Start.
Those same health outlets need to have learning rooms - in short, learning promoting practices to match the health promoting schools. Wrap-around care with education and some continuity of care - i.e. not too many locations - will be crucial for the child in those early years.
Our schools
Only the very rich will not want to avail themselves of the social and
educational advantage of collective primary school. But even here in the
later years of childhood, our Children's University points to a future
enrichment of primary schooling. It builds on the child's 'crazes' - the
sudden obsession with games or collecting, of preoccupation with one
activity to the apparent exclusion of all others. For the Children's
University offers safe weekend, half-term and after-school enrichment
activities on the basis of quality. Children are expanding their boundaries
and in the primary school, rich in computer-assisted learning programmes and
intranet resources, there is every likelihood that the 'crazes' can be
gently guided into activity that will serve the youngster in good stead when
they enter the bewildering years of adolescence.
The primary school of 2100 will guarantee:-
* the taking part in a public performance;
* an assessment of artistic talent so it can be supported and
developed at about the age of 7;
* the experience of a residential in the years between 7 and 11;
* participation in a group election of a multi-media
* story for presentation to a younger group;
* participation in an environmental survey of an issue that affects
the future of the local or wider community;
* an assessment of preferred learning style;
* an assessment of intelligence profile.
The primary curriculum in addition to providing these and perhaps a much
more extensive range of experiences, will acknowledge the need for a
sufficient platform of competence (especially in literacy, numeracy,
scientific and technological skills) that there is a predictably successful
springboard for the journey through adolescence.
The end of the secondary school
It is at this point that I think there will be a very real change. I expect
children at 11 to enter a collegiate academy with four distinct, but
innovative educational communities. The first will be the school with a
'personal coach' who orchestrates the successful marketing of the school
community, but also another three. The second will be the wider collegiate
academy consisting of, say, half a dozen different (and distinctively
different) schools. Separate faiths, genders, specialisms will come in
here. But their personal coach (if they are a subject teacher/master
teacher) will belong to the collegiate faculty for whatever subject is their
main discipline. There will, however, be more than ten subject faculties in
the academy - indeed, they will more closely represent in their range the
university faculty with which they are connected. For secondary leaders
will all belong to university faculties.
A third community to which the pupil will belong will be the University of
the First Age, the external accreditor and validator of a rich set of
'beyond' academy experiences at the weekend, in the holidays - most of which
will lead to accreditation. A fourth community will be a virtual college
using the technology for communication.
Pupils entering the collegiate academy will have two clearly routed possible
alternative maps of learning which culminate at thirteen or fourteen in the
profile of further and accredited progress in the basics at foundation level
and some externally accredited success at intermediate or advanced level,
which will prove competence or mastery at that level in a range of skills or
If I said that these skills or competences will have been labelled under communication (linguistic, numerical, technological) physical, analytical, research and artistic) and that the knowledge will have been in selected areas across what the universities traditionally describe as the arts and the sciences, I am trying to convey the need for shared agreement about what constitutes fairly precisely basic and key skills, but more broadly the huge terrain of knowledge. In respect of the
latter, I have some sympathy with the view that there are some key staging posts of knowledge which a particular country or region feels are a pre-requisite for the development of less traditional and particular culture of that country or region - 'the capes town rivers, poems and books debate'.
But by then the national curriculum will be seen as a modest ten pages - twenty scrolls is perhaps a better way of describing it a hundred years from now - The wider international and individual curriculum will be locally determined and ultimately accredited through validation from a range of regional, national and international universities.
By thirteen or fourteen, therefore, the student will have been equipped and registered, rather like a driver, as an accredited and competent learner with some intermediate/advanced features in their profile of competence and knowledge.
They will have acquired most of that through belonging to their 'school' in
the collegiate academy. But they will also have gained from the academy-wide 'weeks' and 'days' when the timetable is organised into 'conventions', sometimes on sites other than the home school when the whole academy staff lay on a working conference designed to take pupils' learning towards success, which is accredited externally by the completion of assignments and end of module tests at an intermediate or advanced level. This is but one part of the pupil's membership of the school or academic-wide community. They will be familiar with the academy's
interactive and televisually broadcast lessons by the various faculties under the broad headings of 'arts' and 'sciences' which are an ingredient of all intermediate and advanced timetables.
The academy also runs the essential course in dialetics for all advanced level students. This requires both the oral and written mastery of the capacity to argue
diametrically opposed points of view about issues of the moment. Every tutor group of six pupils also submits their named person for participation on their behalf in the debates about the international issues of the day which are part of a weekly debate. All these features are facilitated by the huge screened interactive assembly hall in each of the schools or colleges of each academy.
The academy too adopts a local, national and international 'community service cause' to which all contribute, either through distance technology or by harnessing the response of the collegiate's community. Sport and arts have a programme that is both school and collegiate and academy based. The opportunities for excellence have an academy as well as a collegiate or school expression.
When students move into senior college at thirteen or fourteen, they embark on individualised courses with personal advice which ambitiously aims for an international lifelong learning diploma, or passport, which allows the holder to show their intermediate, advanced, degree and post-degree qualifications. They will be encouraged to add to each level during their working life. Degrees can be taken at a real university or the Open University - now 125 years old and called the International Open University.
A feature of each student's life in 'senior' college is their 'career-check' discussions with their tutor so that their eyes are kept not just on their learning horizon, but on their intention for independent activity as an adult citizen either in self-employment or employed career. They will be encouraged to think of themselves as citizens who may live and work locally or abroad - a choice which they must make from time to time in their adult lives.
The international dimension of schooling will have been a feature of collegiate life. ICT connections with sister schools on each of the other continents will have been a feature. And those taking the international diploma will, in gaining it, have demonstrated communication competence at intermediate level in at least three or four languages. E-Tutoring will be a feature of the tuition offered by the collegiate academy. Both at foundation level across the key and core skills where the e-tutoring is via the local school faculty networks, but also at intermediate and advanced levels. At those levels the e-tutors are provided variously by the paired local or regional university, and especially those who are in their third
and fourth ages after their full-time employment is finished.
Typically a young adult's learner's profile will show foundation level success in the core and key competences, five or six intermediate successes in each of the arts and sciences taken variously at eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen up to their current age, and two, three or four at advanced level in one other, or both, of science and arts.
Some of these successes will be qualified as theoretical and some as implied to describe the distinction which highlights experiential learning and study. The foundation or honours degree will be followed by other learning successes, self-recorded as the individual's careers unfolds.
The collegiate academy's staff incorporate a range of participants described earlier in this paper. They will be supplemented by a range of experts from colleges, the world of work, politics and sport - some on an occasional, others on a more regular basis using both the virtual electronic medium and a range of visits to the college, or as visitors to the main site for the 'conventions' to which I have alluded.
There are implications in what I have said for the buildings a school occupies. If we continue to have separate schools as large as 600 or 1,000 - and there is a case for doing so - their interiors are bound to be different. The learning resource centres (large areas of collective study), the conference hall and seminar rooms; the cafeteria (all designed to a specification that is very high) with spaces for arts and sport as well - all these seem essential.
Finally, a word about poverty and disadvantage. We have never yet experienced a society which has overcome these twin ghoulish fellow travellers. How they blight the chances of so many children unlucky enough to be born in environmental circumstances which seem to predetermine their outcome. They will still be with us at the end of the 21st Century, but surely we can bequeath to our successors a better pocket map and set of devices with which they can seek to navigate those at risk out of their apparently predetermined problems.
The Health Service talks in terms of 'risks' and 'resilience' factors and I have set out in a table below some of the ones that they use to describe the factors that affect youngster's life's chances. What I would like to end with is a first shot of a map of in-school 'risk' and 'resilience' factors that all schools might consider as they perform their valuable role of enabling a child to win the race between successful educational outcomes and the catastrophe that will overtake those who are vulnerable should they not take advantage of it.
In setting these out, I suppose I am making the suggestion that armed with better and better data and equipped with a commitment to the sort of learning which will ensure that schools are places where everybody learns, schools will be able to intervene much more precisely to add resilience tothose children at risk. For by the end of the century, we shall have truly individualised learning for pupils who will attend primary schools, not dissimilar to those we already know, but collegiate academies which will provide them with membership of a set of much wider communities which will make 'secondary school' a concept of history.
In the child
* boy
* Summer born
* between level 2C (or 4 at Age 11 and 5 at 14)
* push to speaking
* SEN code 3
* 10% absence (or regular missing of days)
* has attended three or more primary schools

In the family
* domestic violence
* no record of education beyond 16 in parent/carer
* free school meals
* not involved at all in school life.

In the school
* low staff morale
* high staff absence
* below 20% 5 or more A*-C (or 70% level 4)
* high pupil mobility
* staff arriving late/leaving early
* high staff turnover
* no parental involvement
* no out-of-school activity
In the school
* mediation/circle time
* school's council
* peer tutoring
* mentoring
* 'young teacher' group encouraged
* improved child/adult ratio (learning assistants)
* thematic culture (e.g. achievement - research)
* emphasis on 'appreciative enquiry' as well as 'problem solving'
* school improvement team
* bullying survey
* surveys of student, staff and parent views
* Head and leadership team take part in out-of-school clubs
* cognitive accelerated learning programmes
* learning and teaching policy and practice updated each year
* review of progress individual and collective
* formative assessment
* assessment of child's preferred learning style and profile if
* access to planned non-metronomic experience, including
* healthy school standard

From Chris Yapp's 'Reinventing the Teacher - The impact of pervasive technology
Master Teachers/Narrators
This is the most obvious role and is that of the 'subject' expert. Given
the increased availability of digital learning resources the role will
change over a period of time. The ability to teach, inspire, lecture will
remain central, but with the content being available digitally, the
increased importance of context and joining knowledge together to create
learning constructs will be an area of development. It will also be
possible for the best of teachers to be available remotely to a range of
schools, so that small rural schools, for instance, will not necessarily be
disadvantaged in the teaching of shortage subjects. Also, the availability
of experts in museums, galleries, libraries as well as industry to make
their expertise available to schools through technology will increase the
expertise available to all schools and children.
Learning Resource Managers
With the increased availability of digital learning materials, the role of
the school librarian along with D&T technicians, IT support staff and other
para-professionals will evolve into this new role of creating learning
environments for the students. For example, a BBC Education programme on
history and its associated website might be linked to websites relevant to
the local community to create rich navigable systems for the learners. A
key role for this group will be able to understand when physical or virtual
resources are best to support the learner. For instance, in a chemistry
experiment, when will the real lab environment be needed and how can a
virtual simulation enhance or prepare a learner for the lab environment.
These staff will also be responsible for the introduction of external
initiatives, best exemplified by the CISCO academy, a leading example of a
private sector approach.
Another area where these teachers would be expected to develop would be in
the field of teachers as content creators. I would see this as a role
shared with the master teachers.'
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