Educators from each of the home nations have been brought together to share expertise and compare the challenges they face.

Teachers, lecturers and academics from Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland spent a working weekend in Edinburgh to examine two key issues.

The first looked at whether there should be some agreement across the UK about general purposes of school systems.

Building on that, the second considered the different school practices in the four countries and how they affect school communities and their pupils’ chances of successful outcomes.

Professor Dylan Jones, Director of Yr Athrofa, represented Wales at the event together with school colleagues and jumped at the opportunity to share ideas and learn from others.

He said: “It is rare that educators from each of the home nations are brought together in one room – but the benefits are huge.

“The four countries event was inspirational and gave stakeholders, each with their own experience and expertise, chance to share what they were doing in an open and honest forum.

“Many of the challenges facing educationalists are not unique to certain parts of the UK and by coming together as one, we have a rare opportunity to build consensus on where as a collective nation we should be going.”

Professor Graham Donaldson, former Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland and the architect of Wales’ ongoing curriculum reform, was one of around 25 in attendance at the Norton House Hotel.

Secondary school English teacher Kenny Pieper, from Scotland, reflected on the weekend’s event in an uplifting blog.

He said: “As we began, what was striking was that after the initial moans and groans about our respective education systems, the pride and joy we felt about the job we do every day in our communities shone through in every conversation.

“We started in our own countries, developing themes for debate and recognising areas for development, and as we moved into mixed groups, the room came alive.
“We probed and pushed, explained and extrapolated. There was serious debate and loads of laughter.”

Professor Jones noted that colleagues saw teaching as something more than transmitting information.

He added: “We are more than technicians, we are transformers. In a world where automation is threatening to remove roles fulfilled by humans, and where educational apps are seen as effective ways of learning languages, we must celebrate the complexity of teaching and the role that it plays in developing individuals.

“The four purposes of our new curriculum encapsulates this so well.”

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