brain_scan_This article from Debra Myhill, taking a good swipe at the spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) tests for Y6 children next month, has got me thinking recently about the direction of progress and movement we adopt when thinking about schooling. I cannot for a moment imagine that doctors and nurses in the NHS would ignore for a second the latest advances made in important diseases, particularly those coming from neuroscience and immunology. They would be roundly criticised, don’t you think, if they did not seek to make use of them, once all the trials had been done? Why then, do we have a government that tells us that they know how children learn and devise a curriculum to fit that, largely using approaches devised in the first half of the 20th century and before that, in many cases? It seems strange to me that they can accept the advances in neuroscience in medicine yet ignore its implications for learning. It seems stranger still that they flag up a massive ring-fenced national budget to us all and then when spending it do not take notice of large parts of what we know works in helping children learn. Obviously there is a lot of tosh spoken by educationalists when banging on about “brain based learning”, BUT the research has pointed to some important understanding that we can use, and it deserves to be brought to the attention of class teachers. To quote Sir John Jones – “children deserve to have teachers in front of them who understand and use this stuff.”

I am aware that I have been off message for a week or more – fantastic time at Spring Harvest in Minehead, with some beautiful and soul-searching teaching, mainly from the amazing Gerard Kelly. No internet access at the time, so plenty to reflect in later posts.


About Huw Humphreys

I am a headteacher in the city of Milton Keynes, where I have been since April 2011, looking to make education effective for the whole child and keeping a distant relationship with the powers that be and their narrowing approach to education... but most of all I am looking to find out what it means to be both a follower of Jesus Christ and a passionate educator in the midst of an unsettled community. I am also a part time musician, part time linguist and lover of history and literature...committed both to freedom to learn and depth of learning for all our children. The views on this blog are all my own, and not in any way those of the school I lead!

Please comment here...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s