26th April 2017
What is the purpose of education?
Dr John Hind, Principal at Dame Allan's Schools, discusses whether schools are delivering the skills that young people need to thrive
“What is the purpose of education? Are schools places in which children and young people are introduced to the great fields of knowledge – artistic, scientific, creative, mathematical, technical, cultural and linguistic – and encouraged to think for themselves, or are they, more prosaically, a place in which the workers of the future are prepared to take their place in the national economy? If that is our main purpose, then the recent report which claimed that almost two thirds of young people working in the fields of science, technology and engineering believe that schools do not understand – or deliver – the skills they are going to need, is worrying indeed.
Perhaps, as ever, the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. I personally adhere to the view that a good education is of value in and of itself regardless of future career options; I’ve frequently had to defend my history degree on that basis! However, as schools we must not be immune to the needs of wider society and we do have a responsibility to give our pupils the skills needed to thrive in the wider world.”
Should teachers advise children on their social lives and relationships?
Dr Bernard Trafford, Headmaster of the Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School, writes for the Telegraph stating that most heads recognise that schools are getting more and more requests from parents for help with social issues, and that’s one reason why independent schools in the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) has taken it upon itself to find out more about what’s going on.
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