Many of my closest family and friends work in schools. Since this pandemic began they have

quietly and bravely done remarkable work, yet no-one stood on the streets to applaud them. 

It got me thinking. Why isn’t education loved like the NHS?

Watch 24 Hours in A&E and Educating Yorkshire and you’ll see talented doctors and teachers striving to improving the lives of others, often at the expense of their own wellbeing.  

So why is it that doctors are (rightly) praised and teachers (very wrongly) maligned?

I think the reasons are many, but the essence of the problem can be distilled into just two words – service and system.

The NHS is a service created to help people.

Education is a system created to meet societal need.

Anyone accessing our healthcare service is treated as an individual. It must be this way in order to deliver the best treatment. It’s natural then, that each patient feels seen, heard and valued. That’s what makes it special in most peoples’ eyes.

Of course, this is not the case in the education system. Parents and their children quickly come to understand that there’s little room for individual needs, interests and wishes.  Homogenisation must be delivered at any price. The human cost of this ‘systematic’ approach to education is incalculable. 

This is wrong and I feel so passionately about it, that seven years ago I walked out on my headship to try and develop a sustainable way to turn our education system into an education service.

In the time since, we’ve worked with amazing mainstream, special and deaf schools, exploring ways that technology can help them work together to personalise education for each and every child.

In doing so, we’ve discovered ways for each school to deliver the teaching they want, to the learners they choose, wherever they are, and whenever they need it.

This new way of enabling schools to learn and teach together delivers personalisation of teaching in any location. It’s almost like it was built for a global pandemic!

The schools we have worked in partnership with have (amongst other things) found new and

innovative ways to:

Personalise teaching to stretch all learners in all subjects, regardless of age and ability, starting from those with the greatest additional needs

  • Engage all parents and carers in their child’s teaching
  • Teach essential life skills more effectively, especially to the most vulnerable
  • Support educators to learn from each other – secondary learning from primary, mainstream learning from special, deaf teachers learning from, and supporting hearing teachers

Schools have always known that working together is the only way to improve. Brutal though this time is, now’s the time to seize every chance to work together and provide a quality, personalised education for every child.

In doing so, I reckon that we’ll turn this unlovable system into a much-loved service.