Our Vision for the Future of Education with Angharad Holloway, Head of Talbot Heath School

Our Vision for the Future of Education with Angharad Holloway, Head of Talbot Heath School

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Good morning everybody my name’s Angharad
Holloway I’m Head of Talbot Heath School, my business is Education, but my business
impacts directly on yours in terms of the skill sets of young people, in terms of their
knowledge but also the growth of your companies. If you are not able to employ people who actually
meet your needs then business is going to struggle and I was told three years ago by
the Chair of Governors, “Mrs Holloway can you devise an educational model for 2050 please.”
“We want you to come up with a model that represents how we should be educating young
people for the future.” And I have to say looking at the current UK model with its emphasis
on rote learning, relentless testing, someone, the gentleman who devised it, I shan’t mention
him but his quote was “I want every child in the UK to receive the same education that
I received.” That was in 1950, and they were sat behind a desk and they had paper
books, and they just had to sit quietly and learn, and I feel actually such an education
is not going to prepare our young people for the future. So I looked at what the CBI were
saying, I looked at what global business leaders… if you follow the world economic forum and
see what they’re saying about what they expect in terms of skillset, knowledge, and
I devised a whole new curriculum and I thought what we are doing currently is wrong! So we need to educate in a different way,
and I looked at the areas in terms of the skills sets I thought that they would need.
They need to be adaptable, they need to be resilient, they need to be flexible, able
to problem solve, digitally proficient yes, but they also have to be creative, creative
thinkers. In a world of AI where you have computers number crunching, it’s going to
be that human flare, that inventiveness that’s going to make the difference that will be
the distinguishing factor, and I think the UK if we try and focus solely on STEM, Numeracy
and I understand why rigour is important, but actually we are not preparing our young
people and businesses if they then cannot think creatively outside of the box and come
up with solutions. So that was the skill set that I decided to embed in the curriculum
and then I thought what are we actually going to teach them? So from the age of 3 we are teaching all of
our pupils Material Science, they are going to have to know, how are things made? Is it
sustainable? Is there profit in that? How are you going to manufacture it? Let’s have
a look at lithium batteries, let’s have a look at the future. Driverless cars, they
need to understand that. They are also going to need to be very confident coders regardless
of the job that they work. They are going to have to understand AI, they are going to
have to understand systems. We teach them all design thinking, so my 3 year olds and
4 year olds, Goldilocks and the 3 Bears is the example; how could the three bears prevented
Goldilocks breaking the furniture? So they look at it and say well, it’s the
joints, it’s the structure it’s the material. Jack and the Beanstalk; how could Jack have
got twice as many eggs down the beanstalk in half the time? Well my 4 year olds are
reinforcing the beanstalk and they’ve got a pulley system to get the eggs down. Billy
Goats Gruff; we’ll avoid the troll completely, we’re going to construct a quick lightweight
pontoon bridge….job done! So we are teaching this in a whole interdisciplinary
way, so I think the top universities, the top companies, this idea that I’m a specialist
in Biology, Maths, Art, that’s all I do, that’s not going to be sufficient in the
future. They’re going to have to think outside of the box, they are going to have to think
across disciplines. If you look at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at these top companies,
they’ve got joint teams and round that table; they’ve got an architect , they will have
a finance expert, they will have a physicist and they will then problem solve, so global
solutions to global problems with a joint approach. So they are teaching in an interdisciplinary
way. In Classics they will be building trebuchets,
they will be catapulting soft toy animals at then a defensive tortoise shield formation
of 7 year olds, and we will be looking at the Physics, it’s not Monty Python but we
will be doing that. We have been granted an Explosives Licence to make gunpowder. The
police gentleman who came to see us said, “Unusual ask Mrs Holloway,” I said, “Yes
I’d like to make some gunpowder please.” Because we will be teaching them ballistics,
we’ll be looking at this whole idea, but we’ve got to get the spark in these young
people’s eyes. If you are a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle you will see that the UK
system, it is a relentless treadmill, and we are crushing under the weight our teachers
and our children. They’ve lost that spark, lost that enthusiasm and I think we need to
have an education system that actually keeps that flame going and puts them out there,
that’s a brave new world they’re heading into. Goodness knows what they will be doing
in 20, 30 years’ time, but they have to see that as a challenge, and embrace it and
not be scared by it. And by teaching them differently, different
curriculum, different skillset, keeping that intellectual curiosity going will be key.
I think the UK has a reputation for brilliance in terms of inventiveness, if you think of
our creative thinkers it saddens me greatly that our current system rewards Maths, English
but actually; Art, Music, Drama, Design Technology, they’ve all been put in Bucket 3 and schools
do not receive much funding for Bucket 3, so they’re closing the Art Department, they’re
closing the Drama Departments, they’re closing the DT, to my mind UK those brilliant people,
those people who think, “Actually well I’m a lawyer now.” “I’m a physicist now.”
but actually, “I love dance, I love drama, I love music!” They will come up with ideas
that then push things forward, they are often the change makers in terms of their approach. So what are we going to do? We’ve built
a new building. I said, “I want to educate differently, I don’t want them just sitting
behind desks.” We’ve got an interdisciplinary learning centre, I said, “I don’t want
walls between the classrooms take them down.” Put the walls up, put the walls down. I said,
“I want them to be able to project on the windows outside, on the walls on the floor,
interact, virtual reality, holograms.” I want the pupils to be able to do this for
them-selves from the age of 4 so they are masters of digital technology, they can operate
in any field, doesn’t matter if they are an author a performer a writer a lawyer. So we are now training all of our students
to do computer aided design from a very young age. Our 11 year olds have just done an architecture
module in Art they looked at the works of Renza Piano Zaha Hadid, they then designed
their own buildings, they did that on CAD software, they then went to a virtual reality
room, put on the headset and walked around their buildings that they had designed and
then modified and tweaked them afterwards. This is the brave new world that I hope our
young people will be entering, but as well as the virtual, they need to be in the real.
It’s not good enough to say we are just going to have young people who can work in
this virtual world, they’ve got to be able to interact, they’ve got to be able to talk,
you know for the sake of our planet and our future we’ve got to have good understanding
and relations, so we’re teaching them all ethics from the age of 3 because it’s really
important. You’ve got to understand the consequences of the new technologies, how
are they going to be used and how are you going to as a human being, use them for good
rather than for ail. So the new building is going to be open and
the new curriculum will be open to all in terms of community use, so we’re saying
to those schools, and to those community groups. If you cannot afford to have this facility
because of the government, we live in a time of austerity, they’re not going to start
pumping huge amounts of money into this, so we’ve decided to move ahead with the change
and say to schools, groups across the region, “Come and use our facilities, look at the
VR, look at what we’re doing with the holograms, we’ve got the curriculum and we’ll show
you.” We’ll train your teachers, we’ll open it up to community groups and that will
be happening from September, we go live with that. So we’re very proud to be driving change,
I think you’ve got to stand up and be counted. I went and asked lots of people, spoke to
councils, spoken to the government, I’ve been very fortunate, I’ve spoken to a number
of places, but actually will people commit? Will they do it? Well we’ve decided “yes
we will” and we’re doing it now, the excellent result of which is that people are coming
to us. We’re putting Bournemouth on the map and saying nationally and internationally
we have a radical new model of education which we think will prepare young people regardless
of the country, regardless of their background for the future. So if you would like to find
out more, if you would like to get involved we’ll be very happy to speak with you and
hopefully we shall bring about change for the good, thank you.

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