Randstad – Education Reform Summit London

July 2014. | Randstad Education

This was a post event write up for circulation amongst senior management in Education.

The Education Reform Summit: 10/07/14

Thursday 10th July was a great day for Randstad Education. As sponsors of the first, global Education Reform Summit, our UK team actively contributed towards radical discussions intended to shake up the Education sector and ultimately influence the future of employment, worldwide.

The London-based event was attended by a number of high profile leaders and contributors. Michael Gove MP, UK Secretary of State for Education opened the proceedings with a liberating discussion on the “moral mission” we face in England to improve standards of education in a bid to increase the employability of our future generations and “defeat the evil of youth unemployment”.

Controversially, Gove states that the big decisions in Education reform should be “made by teachers, not politicians”. This favourable stance on autonomy being placed on teachers to drive positive changes in schools was prevalent throughout the day.

Sander Dekker, Minister for Education in the Netherlands took to the podium to discuss what his country do well and where improvements could be made. Through humorous bicycle analogies he explained that in the Netherlands, the system was good at addressing and improving underperforming schools but not so good at “lifting satisfactory schools to outstanding levels”. He concluded by stating that “no matter how good you are, you should never become complacent”.

We enjoyed various accounts of Education system successes and drawbacks from leaders in Spain, Poland, Shanghai and Portugal but amongst all, there was one common theme; all of these high profile Education leaders emphasised the need for us to learn from one another.

Each speaker expressed that they have learnt a lot from the UK’s Education system. Despite our somewhat mixed societal response to the current system (highlighted by yesterday’s public sector strikes) countries from across the world have seen progress and great results emerging from the UK Education system and the policies and processes we have put in place.

Our very own Jenny Rollinson took part in a keynote panel designed to discuss the role of business in educational and vocational reform. Jenny agreed with earlier comments from the Regional Minister for Education in Spain when she said “let’s not leave it too late – let’s start engaging students with business from primary school onwards”.

Jenny also touched on the considerable value that supply teachers can add, and described them as an “invaluable task force” with “a focus on quality and innovation – whether it’s for a day, a term or a year – supply teachers can focus all of their attention on the teaching”.

Technology was a hot topic of the day with the main question being; how can we integrate technology into teaching to improve productivity without losing the fundamental role of a teacher? This remains an unanswered question and is something all stakeholders in education must ‘figure out for themselves’. Risk taking was identified as a key driver in instilling positive change in Education, and it’s something we need to get better at and encourage further.

The resounding lesson from the day was that change is possible. We were all ‘making it happen’ in our coming together yesterday, and proving that collaboration and information sharing is the key to success in our shared mission to ensure continual improvement in education.

Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Adviser from Pearson, echoed what we were all thinking when he said that we were “on the brink of doing something transformative, globally”.

To conclude, Jenny aptly identified that “both schools and business leaders are on the same page” and “if we work collaboratively, we can help every child reach their full potential”.

And it is with this, and with the acknowledgement that education is an emotional affair that must coexist with business principles that we all left yesterday’s Education Reform Summit hopeful, but with much work to do.