Preparing pupils for careers that don’t exist yet


- Credit: Archant

How do you prepare pupils for careers that don’t exist yet? By working with businesses and educators on the cutting edge of the Silicon South, says Angharad Holloway of Talbot Heath School

Angharad Holloway

Angharad Holloway - Credit: Archant

The world is speeding up, careering towards the future at a breath-taking pace. Over half the jobs that will be undertaken by current school pupils do not yet exist. As educators, we are preparing our young people for the unknown. So how should we approach this daunting task?

My view is that we have to look at the skill sets that young people will need and anticipate the nature of the roles that they will be performing, even if we cannot be sure of specifics.

The Confederation of British Industry has identified the skills that they believe will be essential for school leavers in the next 20 years. Our young people will need to be creative, digitally proficient, flexible, adaptable, as well as being able to work both collaboratively and independently.

Why then, does the British education system seem to be heading back to 1950, rather than pushing forward to 2050? Those at the cutting edge of education globally are moving away from a highly prescriptive curriculum that focuses on rote learning and relentless exams, advocating a style of education that recognises the fact that young people are information rich and skills poor. Training our children and young adults to jump through hoops, will not prepare them for a world in which they will have to think on their feet, adapt and innovate.

There is another way. Create a future-focussed, interdisciplinary curriculum for all pupils from the age of 3 to 18. While retaining the intellectual rigour and high standards for which Talbot Heath School is known, we will be opening a state-of-the-art learning centre that will allow students to learn in a whole new way.

I am horrified at the thought of subjects such as Art, Drama, Design Technology and Music being cut from the curriculum, as schools become judged and funded based on subjects ranked in ‘buckets’. Invention and creativity have always been at the forefront of innovation in the UK. We are a world leader in these fields and we need to remain so.

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Many predict that the future will be powered by STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics. Our ‘Think Big’ vision for the future, combines creativity with technology. A joined-up approach is required and with this in mind we have expanded our curriculum to offer exciting new strands, such as architecture, design thinking, CGI, robotics and artificial intelligence, in conjunction with Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) , Bournemouth University (BU), Bournemouth and Poole College and Southampton University. In addition we will be working closely with the technology companies in Bournemouth and Poole that are thriving. Our vision is perfectly aligned with that of Silicon South, those who believe that the high concentration of creative and digital experts in this area will be at the heart of its future.

Young people should not be crushed by the education they receive. They should retain that spark, that love of learning that will keep them curious, motivated and ambitious to succeed. It is time for educators around the world to ‘Think Big’ and stand up for an education that will prepare young people for the future that awaits them, not our past.

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