Monthly Archives: November 2014

Make Learning Irresistible

Today was the fifth Blackpool Education Conference. This annual event held at the town’s famous Winter Gardens brings together staff from all schools across the region. For many, this first Monday of the second half of the autumn term is the first confirmed inset on the school calendar. It is an opportunity for teachers, support staff, governors and other interested parties to network, share ideas and hear inspirational, relevant and respected speakers. Today’s conference was opened by Gervase Phinn, former teacher and inspector, author, poet, radio and TV celebrity, and all round educational raconteur. Gervase remains passionate about the importance of teaching and the need to let children flourish and succeed. He warned of the dangers of rusty cynicism stating children are too precious to be tarnished by such an approach. Gervase delivers his message with humour but hidden beneath an apparently light exterior there are solid, age old beliefs about the difference a good teacher can make. Gervase and Mick Waters both champion teachers and it is refreshing to hear them both thank the profession, as Mick says, something politicians and society find much harder to do. Mick Waters followed Gervase as the second key note of the day. His central tenet is that learning should be irresistible, the curriculum broad and education an engaging and exciting experience that enables us to develop soft skills such as confidence, sensitivity and responsibility alongside core reading, writing and maths skills. Mick’s work with the QCA as Director of Curriculum left him in no doubt that learning should be treasured and valued and a school’s curriculum shaped to fit children’s lives. Both Mick and Gervase see learning through the eyes of children. They both encourage us to do the same rather than allowing politicians and Ofsted to dictate a narrow educational diet, driven by crude data and exam results.