The world is speeding up, careering towards the future at a breath-taking pace. Over half the jobs that will be undertaken by current school pupils do not yet exist. With educators preparing our young people for the unknown, how should they approach this daunting task? Talbot Heath headteacher Angharad Holloway considers the options…

My view is that we have to look at the skill sets that young people will need and anticipate the nature of the roles that they will be performing, even if we cannot be sure of specifics.

The Confederation of British Industry has identified the skills that they believe will be essential for school leavers in the next 20 years. In order to face the future, our young people will need to be creative, digitally proficient, flexible, adaptable, as well as being able to work both collaboratively and independently.

Why, then, does the British education system seem to be heading back to 1950, rather than pushing forward to 2050? Those at the cutting edge of education globally are moving away from a highly prescriptive curriculum that focuses on rote learning and relentless exams and advocating a style of education that recognises the fact that young people are information-rich and skills-poor. Training our children and young adults to jump through hoops will not prepare them for a world in which they will have to think on their feet, adapt and innovate.

There is another way. At Talbot Heath, we are establishing a future-focussed, interdisciplinary curriculum for all pupils from the age of 3 to 18. While retaining the intellectual rigour and high standards for which the school is known, we will be opening a state of the art new learning centre that will allow students to learn in a whole new way.

Many predict that the future will be powered by STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics). Our ‘ Think Big’ vision for the future, will combine creativity with technology. I am horrified at the thought of subjects such as Art, Drama, Design Technology and Music being cut from the curriculum, as schools become judged and funded based on subjects ranked in ‘buckets’. Invention and creativity have always been at the forefront of innovation in the UK. We are a world leader in these fields and we need to remain so.

A joined-up approach will be required and Talbot Heath will offer exciting curriculum strands, such as architecture, design thinking, CGI, robotics and artificial intelligence, in conjunction with AUB, BU, Bournemouth and Poole College and Southampton University.

In addition we will be working closely with the technology companies in Bournemouth and Poole that are thriving. Our vision is perfectly aligned with that of Silicon South, those who believe that the high concentration of creative and digital experts in this area will be at the heart of its future.

Young people should not be crushed by the education they receive. They should retain that spark, that love of learning that will keep them curious, motivated and ambitious to succeed. It is time for educators around the world to ‘Think Big’ and stand up for an education that will prepare young people for the future that awaits them, not our past.

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