Richard Gerver discusses the future of education

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RICHARD GERVER has been described as one of the most inspirational leaders of his generation. He argues however, that great leadership is about serving the needs of the people that work for you and rely upon you. The three core principles that underpin Gerver’s philosophy are communication, empowerment and impact.

Richard Gerver 

Richard was awarded the School Head Teacher of the Year Award for his work at Grange School in Derby.

Richard began his working life as an actor who worked as an advertising copywriter to make ends meet. He began a teaching career in 1992 and rose through the ranks fast being identified by the school’s inspectorate in 1997 as one of the most outstanding teachers in the country.

By 2003 Richard was working with Tony Blair’s Government as an advisor on education policy. In 2006 his work was celebrated at The UNESCO World Arts Education Conference in Lisbon, Portugal and in the same year he was invited to Shanghai to speak about education transformation to members of the Chinese Government.

By 2005 he had won the prestigious “School Head Teacher of the Year Award” at the British National Teaching Awards for his work in leading a school on the brink of closure to becoming one of the most innovative in the world. Richard developed his organisational philosophy of living, learning and laughing which reached his full development during his time as Head Teacher.

Richard’s global best-selling book Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today (2009) deals with education transformation, his second book, due by the end of 2012, and deals with human capacity and leading change.

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Meet Richard Gerver...

Richard is the former Headteacher at Grange School in Derby, which won a UNESCO Arts Award. He is currently an educational speaker, author and broadcaster.



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Does education in Britain need to change in the next 20 years?

"Education has to change, because in theory education needs to reflect the challenges of the society into which young people are entering."

"By nature over the last 30...40...50 years the world has changed dramatically, but actually education hasn't changed that much."


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Will changes in education in the coming decades be evolutionary or revolutionary?

"To those who say education has evolved, I'd say it has evolved at such a slow rate that we have fallen so far behind adequate provision and preparation for our young people, for their future, that we are hindering their prospects and chances to thrive."

"If we are serious about education we need to be the ones who take a giant leap into the unknown, because one of the restrictions in education development has been our fear of the unknown as a society. Our constant fear of 'what if'..."     

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What is the role of creativity in education?

"One of the most common issues around in education and source of debate is, I think, how the term 'creativity' has been overused."

"The problem with the word creativity is just how diverse the definition has become."  

"Creativity is fundamentally the ability to be curious, to find something of interest, find the confidence to then explore that concept or abstract, and work out what it could be and how you could use it. Then to have the confidence to challenge your own assumptions. It is an evolutionary process of discovery. In those terms I don't see a difference between creativity and learning itself."

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Should children be encouraged to take more risks in education? e.g. learning from their mistakes

"We have to resist the urge to protect our children from everything. We have to celebrate their risk-taking and realise that they are going to make mistakes and fail. But we must encourage them to do so."

"It strikes me that the greatest people throughout history have been risk-takers. Whether scientists, geographers, artists, musicians or performers of any nature. The people that have driven humanity forward have been people who have failed more than they have suceeded."

"Our urge, as society has developed and evolved, has been to nurture and protect our children to an increasing degree as the generations go by. Almost the danger is the more we know...the more we are scared of...the more we are scared of...the more we protect our children."

"We are trying to grasp a certainty in order to protect our children from the maelstrom that is occurring outside of our doors and in society."

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  • Sally Todd said
  • 10 February, 2012 at 4:01pm

Thankyou for motivating and refreshing talk today to staffs schools(it made me laugh and cry!!) and hopefully has given us all renewed energy to bring about some big change!