Change The Future
Putting the future of education in all of our hands
Putting the future of education in all of our hands
WhyFor absolutely loads of kids, school is boring and pretty horrible; at least for those of us that don’t have an awesome group of friends and probably a couple of amazing teachers.
If we’re honest, I think we can all agree that for children, the reality of secondary school is that it’s mostly about making your teachers not punish you and helping the school to compete in league tables.
If only students felt like the point of school was to make us happy; by helping us discover what we love, what we care about most, what we’re good at, and ultimately prepare us for the lives that WE want to lead. Then we’d wake up in the morning excited about going to school; a place where anything is possible, a place where our passion and curiosity leads our curriculum rather than gets us in trouble for asking questions or distracting us from a rigid lesson plan that everyone’s fed in the same way.
Change The Future helps fix the key problems in secondary education.
HowWe’re creating a website. This will be THE secondary education website, inviting everyone in our wonderfully diverse society to offer their unique insight and ideas for how to reform our education system.
The main focus is on the ideas of young people, because school is a service for us, not a tool of indoctrination for adults to shape us the way they want us to be.
The website is completely unique and very ambitious, but also totally achievable.
In essence, it’s a system that enables a nationwide revolution in secondary education, led by young people.
FEATURESSchool review & School finder
Why is it only Ofsted who are qualified to say how good a school is?
Now ex-students will be the voice of authority on how well their schools equip them for life.
These reviews (which include ratings), will be ‘attached’ to our highly detailed database of every school in England (which we already have) and this database can be queried by parents (for example) looking for a school for their 11 year old; the results being sorted by distance and ex-students’ ratings by default.
Students will also be invited to review their current school, and even the other users (such as parents and teachers) will be able to review schools, though they won’t be included on the front page by default.
Reviews themselves can be rated and reviewed, and as always, contributors can be nominated for promotion (which gives you greater powers of representation across the website)
Using a brand new web technology, users can propose things they’d like to change in secondary education and make points for it. Other users who disagree with the proposal are encouraged to make points against it. There is an innovate system allowing for debate which keeps comments neat and promotes the best ones.
Users rate the points for and against based on agreement and importance of the point. It’s a well thought through system, accounting for things like how similar the points are (which affects their weighting).
The ultimate goal is for influential people such as Michael Gove to be obliged by the overwhelming activity of the website, to look at the front page and see the top most-agreed-on proposals. Clicking on them will instantly reveal the in-depth discussion behind the proposal, including the best contributions from students, parents, ex-students, teachers and so on.
The idea is that if thousands of these people all pretty much unanimously agree on a proposal and have clearly put a lot of thought into it, it’s difficult for him to ignore and it puts pressure on him to implement it.
The most successful proposals are taken to the final stage in which users discuss the strategy of implementation and put milestones on the collective timeline, which we hope to become filled with action from petitioning to events and all kinds of campaigns.
Learn from each other
Combating the cantankerous trait of our education system that makes schools live in self-contained bubbles in which they spend little or no time researching and exploring different approaches to education, this feature will promote schools which are doing unusual things.
For example, if a school is trying out a new work experience strategy, they can submit a video of this (something PassionWorks Productions will assist with a lot in the first year of the website) which users can rate in terms of how pioneering it is and how successful it appears to be.
It can also easily become the subject of a debate that uses the same quality-moderated system as the proposals feature.
THE END PRODUCTThe best content from each section is promoted on the front page.
This obviously is constantly updating. On the front page are also the newest submissions, to help them to attract activity.
The final key feature (asides from an innovate new forum for general discussion and polls) is what we’re calling the ‘output machine’. Since we’re gathering such a wealth of information on education, especially with the user data it pulls from Facebook, it only makes sense to have a feature that can generate valuable information; for example;
- Which types of schools get the highest ratings from ex-students (single sex/faith schools/private/etc)?
- How have GCSE results been effected in schools that have implemented the most proposals?
- Is there a correlation between school size and student well being
We hope this feature will help us to gain sponsorship or partnering opportunities with education research bodies who value the data.
The site will feature Facebook connect, which will facilitate lovely efficient log in and allow for cunning things like automated invitations to review the school(s) you’ve listed on your Facebook profile. Of course it will also help attract new users like any well integrated application.
WhoThe project directors are two young people; Luke Flegg and Charlie Shread (student). We have business advisors and will recruit volunteers and ultimately full time staff to fill department roles such as Legal, Research and Marketing when and as required.
We have received funding, support and press opportunity from o2, The European Commission and UnLtd. We also have a number of patrons and other bodies behind us.
The trailer for our accompanying documentary TV series (with some similar themes to Jamie’s Dream School) can be found at
How much, When, etcThe site will cost anywhere around £30k - £100k to build and make live for the public.
After beta testing, the general public will be invited to use the service before 2013.
We will roll it out initially to recognised bodies of young people (including student unions) who will get the ball rolling with intelligent content, before we access the public through student councils and other avenues.