What is the point of school?

I’ve been toying with the idea of what teachers need to do and stop doing (What can teachers stop doingWhat is learning #2 and How little I know about learning) when I decided to revisit my outdoor instructor training and ideas. This was after reading Legacy where four ideas leaped out:
1. Sweep the Sheds – always be prepared to do the smallest task yourself.
2. Simple mantras – When it’s all going badly, over complicated routines and policies break down. Keeping it simple during a mountain emergency is vital to save life but simple is just as important in a school. The simpler things are the better. Policies should be on a page and reduced to the essentials, leaving teachers and department leaders to fill in the gaps. For example, in the outdoors, we stick to the Plan, Do, Review cycle.

3. Champions do extra. It’s not good enough to stick to the contract. What are you doing to allow deliberate practise for teachers and students?
4. Leave the jersey in a better place. This is the idea that leaders are motivated by the bigger ideals and legacy of what they leave behind rather than worry about short term, intrinsic values. In education, we know that the hard work we put in will not be seen.  What are we doing to leave our current role in a better place, or are we being motivated by personal career goals. We should be worried equally with the fortunes of those children we are yet to receive as well as Year 11.
If you haven’t, I’d recommend reading the book. For me it’s more important than educational research.  It’s not about teaching mindset or teaching character (both ideas that I remain unconvinced about), it’s about walking the walk.
What is the point of school?  What is clear is that this won’t change because we have a Conservative Government.  The point of school is down to us to decide.  It doesn’t change over night. Our job is about to get tougher – what’s your message going to be? One of despair and waiting for Superman? Or one of hope, energy and passion?  After all, we don’t need a government to tell us what to do……

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