Mark Taylor - BMus (Hons)
National Council Member of NAPE
I don't remember much about the education policies at the time I was at school. I do remember the classes and teachers that got me excited about learning, and those that created an environment for me to grow, thrive and be me.
This is so key. If this feeling could encompass a whole school you know great things would be possible for everyone involved. It is down to each of us to be that person - to show how and what is possible to those around us and to be a beacon for growth. This helps pupils, staff and parents believe anything is possible. The world is a wonderful place of opportunity so let's make it our focus to 'be the change we wish to see in the world', to quote Gandhi.
It is this bed of creativity that will give rise to the skills, understanding and knowledge that we will need in the future for a sustainable, happy and tolerant planet. Let's show our pupils what has been achieved, what is known and how this came about. Then set them free to explore, enquire and grow so they can become the person they were born to be. In that gift the world has a bright, happy and exciting future of wondrous possibilities.
I am a professional musician. Everyday I get to do the thing I love most. This only happened because I found myself in a school like the one I described and had the opportunity to experience a wide range of skills. I knew immediately what I loved and the school was able to harness it and show me a path to explore. Trust me it wasn't easy or straight forward all of the time but I knew and felt it was possible. That is how it starts. Light the match, stand back and fan the flame.
I know how easy this is to say and how difficult it can feel in reality, but that is why I want to share stories of this exciting learning from real-life situations. Examples of what is being achieved in a system that doesn't always think this way. But great things are happening everyday and it starts in the NOW with every decision you make about how you want life to be today and in the future.
Lots of the ideas I share are not just country or government policy related, but more about what makes a child sit up and want to take part in life. Learning then becomes a way of achieving your dreams and not just something you have to do!
Music, sport and drama are things that draw us together in shared experiences. These are not separated by borders. Let us put the human back into the child as the starting point of why and what we learn and see where it takes us..................
Peter Cansell is my resident education expert. The person who provides the bigger picture and will tell me that you can't just play music all day at school other subjects are important too!
Peter has been in education professionally for 35 years, teaching in middle schools in Oxford, doing advisory work, teaching higher education and as a Primary Headteacher at Harwell Primary School. He retired from that post in September 2014, but has continued as Chair of OPHTA (Oxfordshire Primary Headteachers' Association), was elected to become Chair of the National Network of Chairs of Headteachers’ Groups in June 2014 and was delighted to have become a NAPE council member this year, serving on the editorial board for Primary First. In January of 2015 he co-founded the Oxford School of Thought, an independent education think tank. He is a trustee and chairs the management committee of another charity, Full Circle, which is well regarded for its ground breaking intergenerational work.