GELP Goes to Toronto
by Alec Patton
It’s been a couple of weeks since the Global Education Leaders’ Programme (GELP) mid-year event in Toronto. The four jurisdictions got together for three days of sharing, support, and challenge – and it was inspiring to hear about the radical work that they’re doing, exciting to see ideas cross-polinating between them, and fascinating to see the rigorous critique to which everything was subject.
So what have they been doing?
Ontario is kicking off a major curriculum review and a series of ‘provincial roundtables’ on education transformation, as well as introducing a new system-wide e-learning strategy.
New York City has created the ‘izone‘, a group of over 100 schools that are testing and incubating radical, game-changing practice.
Victoria, Australia, has created the Ultranet, an online learning network which has the potential to seriously change the nature of education across the jurisdiction – seriously, this is not just another online learning gadget.
The England leaders are focusing on school federations, and ‘learning communities’ (which extend beyond the school) as levers for change. using federations as a vehicle for transformation. Central Bedfordshire Director of Children’s Services (DCS) Edwina Grant is creating an integrated learning system covering a range of services and offering seamless support from ages 0-1, while Knowsley DCS Damian Allen is combining the ideas of ‘federations’ and ‘learning communities’ by creating a federation of ‘learning centres‘ whose role goes beyond the traditional role of schools. Meanwhile, Susan Tranter, Headteacher at Fitzharry’s school in Oxford, is leading a three-school federation which has allowed the schools to take advantage of economies of scale without losing each school’s ‘human scale‘, while at the Harris Federation of schools in southeast London, Dan Moynihan continues to push in new directions.
This is potentially powerful stuff… stay tuned.