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Monday, October 3, 2011

Meeting the education Guru

Today was an exciting day because I met with Derry Hannam.

He's a really important person to me because he is
  • an ex-Ofsted inspector
  • ex-Headteacher/Deputy head
  • Occasional government advisor on Education policy
  • Author and researcher
  • lovely
He's also a real advocate of alternative approaches to education although he works and focuses on the mainstream as opposed to residing in a bubble of hippy schools.
When I arrived he was just finishing an email essentially advising the dutch government on how to inspect Sudbury Valley schools. (In many ways, more radical that my democratic school)

 Asides from a random bird watching excursion he took me on at the mouth of Southampton, we were pretty thick in ChangeTheFuture for 2 days.
He was completely amazing and gave me many exciting leads we're following now.
I feel like it's coming together. Charlie and I just need to put in the time.

It's largely about finding a lead web developer now. All the other tasks feel within arms reach, largely thanks to Derry.

Derry convinced us to definitely include primary school.
"You can't just not listen to what a 10 year old  has to offer just cause they're a year too young to be in secondary school. The problems reach beyond secondary education."

IDEC, Grib, MY MOTHER and moving to Brighton

So I spent a couple of weeks at IDEC - the International Democratic Education Conference, this year held in England, by my old school Sands.
These are the Sands student volunteers!

I've been to 2 before (India and Berlin) and they were pretty great with an awesome bunch of people, though I've always found it a tiny bit like preaching to the choir/people slapping each other on the back or at least just being in a bit of a bubble... It's such a fundamental need of mine for beautiful education to be accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford to pay for it privately, which is what all these democratic schools (in England at least) have to be, cause the government can't get their head round them.

I held a workshop on ChangeTheFuture
where I invited people to critique the idea.

It was cool getting different peoples' ideas and particularly hearing the things they thought were the biggest risks...

There were some amazing speakers including Yaacov Hecht who is like mr Democratic Education of Israel and in particular a guy called Derry Hannam, who I was really impressed by.

He was a great speaker, kinda like Ken Robinson; enjoyed himself, but full of information and interesting and challenging ideas. I decided I needed to meet up with him to discuss ChangeTheFuture.

Before this, I would meet up with David Gribble; essentially the founder of Sands to talk about how CTF is shaping up. He's like my grandad, and always fun and inspiring to chat to about education (or anything) and learn about what books and things he's working on.

My mum's on the left.
She's realised her dream of horses suddenly a few years ago- something she was unable to do as a little girl in Rhodesia. Now she's swapped her last bits of money for a field of Rocky mountain horses.

She's always been really straight with me when I've not done things as well as I could have.
As a kid, I'd come to her showing off a drawing I did, and she'd usually say "Hm. Yeah it's alright I suppose" and she was right. And I'd do it again, better. She's a harsh critic, but also one of the most overwhelming knowledgable people; like an bottomless pit of information about politics and history and has a strong history of activism.

My brother works as a teacher, and my half brother (on my dad's side works in film)..my dad (who I only met when I was 12) is a bit more technical/computer savvy, doing graphic design. They're all people who enjoy a good debate in politics and have strong ideas about things. It's just mad that I am so much like all of them.

Moving to Brighton
I now live in a house of 10. Boys & Girls, half students and half not.
We had a housewarming BBQ with the neighbours who've just moved in :]