With a recent report by MPs that many children are in failing schools, we revisit New College in Leicester – to discover how the principal, David Kershaw, has managed to skilfully stabilise what was once referred to as ‘one of the worst schools in England’.
New College in Leicester, a school we featured on the programme last March, was created seven years ago from the amalgamation of three schools, two of which were already in special measures and the third had serious weaknesses. It had seen eight heads in seven years, truancy was at record levels and some pupils were leaving with no GCSEs at all. At the time of our programme, New College had been in special measures for over two years. But the school has now been praised by inspectors for "a truly remarkable change".
David Kershaw speaks to Libby Purves about the challenges he faced.
Libby Purves is joined by Howard Gardner, a psychologist and Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard. He is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences and he has been named as one of the 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world.
He recently spoke in one of a series of lectures run by the Royal Society of Arts with the Edge Foundation on vocational and practical learning from international perspectives. His lecture was based on his book, Five Minds of the Future, which will be out in Spring 2007, in which he looks at the ‘kinds of minds’ that we should be cultivating.
ZAMBIAN BOOK DUMPING
A good education often starts with encouraging good childhood reading habits. But in many countries in the developing world a love of reading is difficult to inspire, because libraries and schools are forced to rely heavily on donated foreign books, which are often unsuitable for their students. Bookaid International is working closely with the Zambia Library Service, donating more appropriate books, and funding them to purchase children’s books by indigenous writers, who are now starting to produce colourful, relevant children’s stories. The Library service organises outreach visits, taking writers out into the remote villages and poorer city compounds to read to the children. Our reporter, Caroline Swinburne, went on a trip to Lusaka’s Chiwama compound.
KAZAKHSTAN & PROFESSOR STEFAAN SIMONS
Libby Purves speaks to Professor Stefaan Simons. He had just joined University College London’s Department of Chemical Engineering as a junior lecturer 11 years ago, when he found himself offered a work trip to Kazakhstan. He’s kept up contact ever since, and has been pioneering academic interaction with Kazakhstan.