Teacher/Educationalist Voice 3

Fiona Carnie – Educationalist and Author

Fiona Carnie, educationalist and author

Fiona Carnie has been involved in initiatives in the alternative and state education sectors for many years and has written widely about the need for new educational approaches which put the child first.

She is interested in how educational settings can give young people the skills, values and attitudes to enable them to contribute to the creation of a fairer and more environmentally sustainable world.

Fiona is adviser to the European Forum for Freedom in Education, and author of Rebuilding our Schools from the Bottom Up and Alternative Approaches to Education.

In your opinion what are the main challenges of our current school system?

  • The curriculum in England is too narrow, prescriptive and outdated.
  • There is far too much focus on high stakes testing.
  • Class sizes and school sizes are generally too big, which make it difficult for children and young people to be known and treated as individuals.
  • Parents are generally not seen as genuine partners in their children’s education.
  • Young people are not sufficiently involved in making decisions about their learning.
  • Teachers often do not feel valued as professionals but feel more like cogs in a machine.
  • Schools tend to be hierarchical rather than collaborative organisations.

What are state schools doing well?

  • There are many excellent teachers doing their best against the odds.
  • Surviving – just about – on inadequate budgets.
  • There are pockets of innovative practice which put the child at the centre of the educational process.

If you could make changes to the state education system, what would be your top priorities?

  • Smaller class sizes.
  • Putting well-being at the heart of education.
  • Attention paid to the climate crisis and the role of education in addressing this.
  • An accountability framework that focuses on support and collaboration rather than targets and testing

Follow Fiona Carnie

You can follow Fiona Carnie on Twitter, and visit the website www.alternativesineducation.org if you are interested in consultancy or advice on alternative approaches to education.

You can also read an edited excerpt of her book, Alternative Approaches to Education: a guide for teachers and parents in our Articles section.