‘What do we think an ENGAGING school is?’ David Price OBE

Below is an excerpt of an article, via his blog, by David Price OBE who summarises his thoughts of what an engaging school should be.  I tend to agree with his philosophy of an engaging school. I think his vision sits neatly with my previous post on Pasi Sahlberg’s book on the Finnish education system:

‘‘What do we think an engaging school is? Well, basically a school that integrates head and hands, knowledge and skills, through project-based learning. A school that sees ‘school’ as merely the basecamp for learning, not the destination. A school that believes that we need a diverse range of learning relationships to replace the teacher-student FM/AM model. All of this should be underpinned by a culture which we describe as the ‘learning commons’: a belief that schools should be open, shared spaces where parents, communities and businesses should have a stake in, and a say in, what goes on there. Most schools are ‘enclosures’ – closed, regimented, spaces and schedules, governed by the concept of ‘subjects’ and, of course, testing. So teachers teach the exam first, the subject second and the child third. A learning commons culture might teach the child first, support the community second, and involve the parents third. (Yes, I know, you’d worry about test scores with that culture, but every school that I know with a learning commons culture has exemplary test scores)’’.

The link below, also on David Price’s blog, highlights 10 key lessons to be learnt from the ‘Learning Futures’ program along with a 5 minute video showing interviews with SLT members from various UK schools discussing operational conditions and structures put in place for innovative change to be a success.


The key lessons that struck a chord with me are:

  • Getting students immersed in purposeful projects leads to engaged learning and builds relationships
  • Don’t atomise the timetable: fewer blocks, fewer subjects and fewer teachers lead to better relationships and deeper learning
  • Transforming engagement and learning cannot be achieved without transforming professional development

Enjoy the read and as always any comments or feedback will be warmly welcomed.


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