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Don’t shout at the telly: The East London Science School

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Don't shout at the telly: The East London Science School

In this edifying sofa discussion, school teacher David Perks tells us why, with a group of passionate teachers, he is setting up a science ‘free school’ in East London. What is key, he argues, is the need to challenge the pervasive low expectations we have for young people’s ability to learn. Comparable with the best public schools in the country, his school promises to offer:  specialist teachers with a passion for their subject; the English baccalaureate; intensive mornings and practical afternoons; homework in school and more. With extraordinary ambitions to open the door to young people in the East End based on ‘line of site’ proximity to the school, his school will be a first in giving many young people the chance to win a place at the best universities to study science. The litmus test for success he tells us will be how many of his students make an impact on the world. His compelling case leaves discussants more than a little inspired. WORLDwrite is delighted to announce its support for this unique and aspirational venture.

Recommended links:

  • The East London Science School website

Related topics: Debates, Science & Progress, Social Change

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Tivendale said:

Why has Dave Perks, as a rabid Brexit supporter, constantly refused to answer my questions on the future of advanced scientific research in the U.K. without E.U. funding. Why does he share misogynist posts on Theresa May with the SWP and why does he dismiss any critism of his views as ignorant?

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Emily said:

…so long as the motivation isn’t too one-sided, and there is space for children who wish to daydream/write poetry a bit. Also, there ought always to be opportunity for wonderful choir practice as it is the Best Thing for inspiring everything else!!

Carol said:

I think that Free Schools could be a good thing. State schools are increasingly failing our kids at the moment and this could be the kick up the arse the govenment needs to improve the education system. Don’t get me wrong, there are some really good state schools/academys out there, but too many kids are leaving school barely able to write their own names, let alone read.
And just to point out, although David’s school will be in one of the poorer parts of the East End of London, Free Schools are popping up across the UK, the US and probably across Europe too.

All in all, a very enlightening discussion. Good luck David with you school.

Floyd said:

On a more general level, I do not see what his problem is with social engineering. After all, it could be argued that since Plato’s “Symposium” and Socrates academy, that this has been the whole purpose of education in both the wider and narrower since.

To suppose otherwise presumes that young people do not take on board at some level the wider adult pre-occupations in society. Furthermore it has been generally those of as more conservative frame of mind who rail against “social engineering”.

They like to pretend that education is simply the accumilation of facts and figures and that like athen springing from the head of Zeus, that young people emerge from schools/colleges/universities fully formed.

If David is so eager to improve the lot of the east end down trodden..then I fail to see just why he thinks that the “free school” is the best way to do that . Surely it would be better to fight for a proper state education system that beleives in the value of knowledge rather than carving out subsection for the chosen few to climb up away and become part of the elite, using the rest of the commuinty as a human ladder.

Especially given that from many reports, the free schools/academys basis is to undermine and ultimately terminate the practicality of state education. Especially given that the man who was said to have inpired Gove into implementing the “free schools” policy is now having serious second thoughts

Cerys said:

Wow, I wish I could have gone to this school. Very jealous.

Effie said:

A good point was made about the argument of fairness, as it ends up about dumbing everything down. I recently heard a debate about taking students with poor grades into medicine – i thought it was a slip up – and they meant students from poorer backgrounds – but no. But Dave Perks and his team are aiming high. Bravo!

Hailey said:

dave is absolutley right, we have reached a point where we are giving sub standard education to our kids – a lot of schools don’t even teach languages anymore. Very wrong. So pleased he and others are going for this.

Paddy said:

You know what, I got goosebumps when Dave Perks said he’ll know if they ahve been successful when and if kids that go through his school make an impact on the world.

Rachelle said:

What people want is a good education, whoever does it. I like the fact that this guy is saying let’s experiment, I love that it is based on high expectations for kids. really refreshing, yet so obvious.

Andreas Contadino said:

Free schools idea has been treated with scepticism by some people but here, teacher David Perks gives some very well considered answers and points to the possibility of an education of the highest quality being made available in the deprived east end of London. Wonderful and inspiring!

Sandra F said:

On kenneth’s point you can’t underestimate how great the belief that providing education is the state’s role even if they do it badly. I wouldn’t care who officially ran a school as long as they did it with this idea of standards and pushing young people as David Perks suggests his school will.

Kenneth R said:

I don’t know why anyone would object but he seems to be suggesting it will provoke a lot of people I don’t get why-its not an exclusive fee paying school or anything

Jenny Priestly said:

Ok he’s convinced me, I must say I was very sceptical about this Free school thing but- a bunch of passionate teachers sounds brilliant. Almost too good to be true.