There has always been talk of education reform, but more and more, people are saying that reform isn’t enough. There are just too many ways that conventional schooling needs to change. As Sir Ken Robinson famously said,
“Education doesn’t need to be reformed – it needs to be transformed!”
Sir Ken Robinson, The Element
We have pulled together the following list of organisations who are building movements for change, to inspire and offer hope to all those wishing to reimagine education.
“Our mission is to help individuals and organisations understand and harness their innate powers of imagination, creativity, and collaboration, to recreate the worlds that we live in.
We created Imagine if… to bring together those passionate and daring enough to reimagine and recreate the world in which we live. Join us as we build on the movement Sir Ken helped us shape.”
Founded by Holly Branson, Chief Purpose and Vision Officer at Virgin, the Big Change Charitable Trust is writing “a new education story; Showing a new way is possible”. Their mission is that every young person is set up to thrive… in times of constant change, in life not just exams and to contribute to the world around them. They have three goals:
1. Show a new way is possible:- By 2030, pioneering approaches to supporting young people will have become the new normal and will have become the learning experience of every child.
2. Make education everybody’s business:- By 2030, all parts of society, including parents and employers will be actively involved in supporting young people and schools to thrive as part of local learning ecosystems.
3. Create a new common sense:- By 2030, wider society will have accepted a new and expanded purpose for education and policy, funding and accountability will have changed.
At this virtual event in January 2022 Big Change were joined by global and UK experts to discuss the why, what and how of transforming education systems:
At the virtual event above they launched their Subject to Change report, which makes the case for a national project to empower young people and the public to set a new direction for learning.
HundrED is a global education non-profit. Their mission is to help improve education through impactful innovations. Each year they select 100 innovations from all over the world and share them for free to provide inspiration for others. They say:
“In a fast-changing world, education must adapt to help children thrive. The world is full of inspiring innovations, but they can struggle to spread beyond their immediate environments. That’s why HundrED identifies impactful and scalable K12 innovations and helps them spread.”
Futures of Education is UNESCO’s global initiative which aims to rethink how knowledge and learning can shape the future of humanity and the planet. Looking to 2050 and beyond, the initiative seeks to reimagine how education and knowledge can contribute to the global common good. The initiative is catalyzing a global debate on how knowledge, education and learning need to be reimagined in a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty, and precarity.
Please note that UNESCO’s ‘Futures of Education’ report is up for discussion and a detailed and evidence-based response has been initiated by the European Democratic Education Community (EUDEC). You can find out more and get involved with a new Global Alliance to claim the full respect of Human Rights in education which has since emerged at https://www.progressiveeducation.org/response-to-unescos-education-in-a-post-covid-world-report/.
The Raising Free People Network helps families, organisations and corporations to examine, assess, and solve big issues in education, leadership and personal development:
“By tapping into techniques and philosophies from the unschooling and deschooling movements, our network uses independent broadcast media along with live trainings and events to sustain cultures of belonging, equity, and confident autonomy.”
In this TEDx Talk, Raising Free People Network co-founder, Akilah S. Richards examines the ways that we’ve accepted coercive, emotionally and physically damaging habits as a normal part of adult-child relationships. With a focus on deschooling oneself, decolonizing education and exploring radical self-expression, her speech challenges and informs us to push past coercion and fear and walk toward a model for living with children that centres community, addresses social justice issues and believes in trusting and respecting children:
Education Reimagined is a group of educational practitioners, scholars, business people and parents from the US who are committed to “the creation of a racially just and equitable world where every child is loved, honored, and supported such that their boundless potential is unleashed. In this shared fight for justice and equity, Education Reimagined’s work is the transformation of the education system such that learner-centered education is available to every child.”
“We declare a learner-centered future for education. The current education system has proven itself inequitable, inflexible, and inadequate. We must transform this system to powerfully serve, include, value, and love every single child. Committed to justice, inclusion, and equity, we lead with a transformational vision for the future of education in America.”
Learnlife is a group of changemakers united by a passion to create a new lifelong learning paradigm:
“Let’s positively change education together. We are building an open ecosystem for a new lifelong learning paradigm to positively change education worldwide. We envision that collaborative learning communities will become the problem-solving champions in a world where agility, creativity, and innovation will be needed to solve future challenges.
In Barcelona, we are growing our first learning hub, an innovation community where we explore the new learning paradigm. As more people join the journey, the impact of this growing community is already sparking a wider momentum for change.”
Learnlife has also launched [RE]LEARN: The Learning Innovation Festival which brings together learning innovation thought leaders, change leaders and educators from across the world to share, learn and develop methods to bring about a global shift in education.
Established in 1994, Independent Thinking is a unique platform for innovative educators and school leaders to share their practice with schools across the UK and globally. Through INSET events, conferences, books and our growing online presence, they are fighting for inclusive, caring, creative and relevant education for every child:
“Underpinning our work at Independent Thinking is our commitment to helping schools never lose sight of the bigger picture of what a genuine education is all about.
Genuine education genuinely addresses issues of agency, citizenship, democracy, decision making, authority, community, critical thinking, advocacy, speaking up and speaking out… education touches everyone on the planet in a way schools can’t. Let’s look beyond the school walls.”
Big Education is an ambitious organisation, set up “to change the way we do education”. They bring together the energy and spirit of schools, teachers and communities to deliver a bigger and bolder vision of what education can be about:
“We are part of a growing movement of teachers, parents, students and employers who know there is something wrong with our education system. And want to help put it right. In place of a narrow exam-focused system we want something that is more expansive. In place of massive inequalities, we want an education system that nurtures the potential of every child from every background.
Our mission is to help more schools and more changemakers develop that Big Education – an education of head, heart and hand. So that we learn the lessons of lockdown and shape a better future for all our children.”
Global Education Futures is a global network organisation, registered as a non-profit foundation in the Netherlands, and with hubs in Moscow, Toronto, Buenos Aires, London, Algiers and Kigali. Their global network consists of over 2,000 leaders in educational change. Global Education Futures has been involved in ground-breaking projects in educational innovation on all continents.
Edutopia shines a spotlight on what works in education:
“Our vision is of a new world of learning based on the compelling truth that improving education is the key to the survival of the human race. It’s a world of creativity, inspiration, and ambition informed by evidence and experience.
It’s a world where students become lifelong learners and develop 21st-century skills. It’s a world where innovation is the rule, not the exception. It’s a world where schools provide rigorous project-based learning, social and emotional learning, and access to new technology. It’s a world where students and parents, teachers and administrators, policy makers and the people they serve are all empowered with a shared vision to change education for the better.”
These podcasts are all questioning the status quo and exploring the world of education transformation: