Education is moonshot

I’ve been doing a lot of Moonshot Thinking recently. If you watch the 3 and half minute video that lives on the other side of the link I just posted that you may be wondering how, as a deputy headteacher of a small primary school in a deprived part of Birmingham, I have time for such musings. That’s another story to be told another time.

Here’s one of my conclusions though: the education system is already a moonshot challenge. Let’s think of a system that will make things ten times better for the people are part of it – education already fits the bill.

It works like this: the sum of a culture’s knowledge is distributed on the shoulders of a few individuals. Let’s call these people ‘teachers’. These teachers are then trained to pass on this knowledge to new members of the culture. This second group are known as ‘students’. To make this as efficient as possible, the teachers are brought together in centres of teaching excellence. In most cases, these are called ‘schools’, although they are, on occasion, known as other things. The exact details of how schools, teachers and students relate to each other are worked out according to the differing demands of different cultures. The consequence of these education systems is that students lives are made at least ten times better, because they are taught the knowledge and skills that will give them opportunities within their culture.

When we try and change the education system we need to be clear that we are trying to fix something that already works really well. The teachers I know and work with are amazing. They do a fantastic job for their students, giving them opportunities that they would never have if they were not part of the education system.

When making moonshots to do with education, we need to be careful that we are not just tweaking something that is already really good, but instead thinking of something that will really makes things ten times better for our students.