Bill Scott's blog

Thoughts on learning, sustainability and the link between them

Monthly Archives: February 2018

The World We'll Leave Behind is published

📥  Comment, New Publications

Slightly ahead of schedule, the Vare & Scott book, The World We'll Leave Behind has published.  We are both pleased with it, whatever others might come to think.  You'll find details here along with a Routledge conversation about it – and us.

We had a launch at Bath on Tuesday afternoon, although it was more seminar than anything else.  I talked about writing the book as a whole, and Paul focused on the writing of one chapter: 34 on Frames and Framing.  Paul ended by asking what sort of book would have been written in the 1780s which prompted a lot of response.  More about that another day.



The name's Bond, Basildon Bond

📥  Comment, News and Updates

A long while back (somewhen in the 1980s I think), Jordanhill Teacher Training College* in Glasgow did an evaluation of some competency-related programme or other (the details of which escape me).  The providers of the programme identified what they claimed were 3 increasingly complex outcomes:

  • Can make a cup of tea
  • Can write a letter
  • Can deal with any eventuality

The evaluators noted drily that this went from Brooke Bond to Basildon Bond to James Bond** in 2 easy steps.

I was reminded of this during an exchange with a colleague about a contemporary evaluation of ESD provision in a western EU country.  In this, the evaluators were required to report using two categories, classifying work on ESD as either: [i] well-developed; or [ii] in need of development.

This seemed to me to be a rather limited set of alternatives.  In particular, ‘in need of development’ has to be a very broad category ranging from ‘have really not done very much (if anything)’, through 'has made a good start', to ‘is developing well, but still a lot of room for improvement’.

My colleague agreed but say that their team had been over-ruled by those paying for the evaluation who wanted it to "be supportive".  In other words, prizes for everyone irrespective of actual merit.  But evaluations are supposed to send accurate signals, not to make everyone happy, so there is something quite wrong here.



  1. The College existed for some 80 years (1913-1993) before being absorbed with the University of Strathclyde.  It was well-known, internationally, for its interest in (and training teachers for) environmental education.
  2. Brooke Bond is a brand-name of tea owned by Unilever, Basildon Bond is a brand of personal note paper, and James Bond is still keeping the UK safe from bad guys of all kinds ...


RAG Ratings for the SDGs

📥  Comment, News and Updates

In an idle moment (and with inadequate data) I have been assessing the UK's performance against the SDG targets – doing this for UKSSD.

I used RAG ratings which are "suggestion of performance" against the goal.  These are:

  • Red - off target, poor progress, not addressed in existing policies
  • Amber - some progress or aspect of the targets met
  • Green - global or proposed UK target has been met, exceeded or is near to being met

In what follows, I've used a Now => 2030 format.  The first RAG is the now assessment and the second one shows the trend.

Here you go:

Target 4.1 – By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes

Amber => Green

  • I don’t know about international standards (eg OECD), but surely the education provided is of ‘quality’ for a significant proportion of UK students
  • For that same majority, the learning outcomes are reasonably relevant and effective for today
  • That said, given that the indicator is only concerned with reading and maths, these outcomes must be as effective tomorrow as they are today.
  • The challenge for the UK is the ‘all’ in the target where the socially-deprived tail is too long and persistent despite efforts to fix the problem


Target 4.2 – By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education

Amber => Green

  • I don’t know about international standards here but many UK children do have access to ‘quality’ provision at this stage.
  • But too many do not and the ones that don’t are the ones who most need it.
  • Again, the challenge for the UK is the ‘all’ in the target where the socially-deprived tail is long and persistent despite efforts to fix the problem.


Target 4.3 – By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university

Amber => Green

  • The UK has more than our share of good universities and a large number of young people enrol and graduate.  We are good at this
  • There are more female students in HE than male.
  • The drop-out rate is low by international standards and employers rate the quality of graduates.
  • There is not, however, equal access as HE provision is rationed in Scotland (and probably in Wales as well) because tuition is fully tax-payer funded.
  • One outcome of this is that the proportion of Scottish students from socially-deprived backgrounds going to HE is much lower than it is in England.  That said, there is still room for improvement on this measure in all parts of the UK.
  • Further, in Scotland it’s the case that the vocational education sector has been starved of tax-payer funding because it’s been diverted to HE institutions that don’t have access to student fees.
  • I note, however, that this target is not really about universities.


Target 4.4 – By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship

Amber => Green

  • The target here is a loose one “substantially increase …”.  Given how poor the provision is now, this should not be a problem.


Target 4.5 – By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations

Amber => Green

  • This target is a mixed bag and “multidimentional” is a kind word.
  • “Eliminate” sets a high standard.
  • The biggest gender disparity has to be working-class ‘white’ boys, doing poorly all through the system.  I was one such, once.
  • As to the vulnerable, this is at least an issue we take seriously.


Target 4.6 – By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy


  • OECD data would suggest that the UK is good at this.
  • NB, not all parts of the UK now take all the relevant international tests (eg PIRLS).  Northern Ireland and England take the full complement, I think.


Target 4.7 –By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development

Amber => Green

  • “multidimentional” is a wholly inadequate description for this nonsense.  “Grab bag” is better.
  • Given that no one has any idea what the "knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development” are, it seems hard to say anything sensible.  All this makes me want to curl up in a ball and rock quietly from side to side until it all goes away.
  • Further, I don’t accept that, whatever the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development are, they can be in any way dependent on the conceptual incoherence inherent within ESD.
  • This means that I don’t see any need to differentiate between the bits of the UK in coming to a judgement, especially as this would mean discounting the strength of the contribution of, say, the global learning programme in England.


Target 4.a. – Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all


  • Surely we already do this apart from the benighted few in proxy-madrassas, ultra-orthodox outposts and fundamentalist, Creationist CoE covens – and Ofsted (etc) have them in view.


Target 4.b. – By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries

Amber => Green

  • We can and should do more of this.


Target 4.c. – By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing states

Amber => Green

  • As 4b




DfE rejects PISA's new dimension

📥  Comment, News and Updates

I see that the BBC is reporting (thanks, NAEE) that the new PISA tests assessing global competences will not be taken in England.  The DfE is, it seems, joining the United States, Germany, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland and Ireland in deciding not to do so.  Schools in Scotland, Australia and Canada will, however, as I expect will the Welsh.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said it was keen on any test that would help young people to "thrive in today's world".   Since when did any school test do this, I wondered.  She went on:

"The results will help us understand how we can further support young people to be responsible global citizens, capable of taking part in local, regional and global decision making and debate."

The BBC report said:

"The concept of global competence was intended to test how well young people were prepared to work alongside people from different cultures and with different beliefs.  The test will measure tolerance, cultural awareness and how well teenagers can distinguish between reliable sources of information and fake news.  It will consider issues such as racism, cultural identity and prejudice."

Andreas Schleicher, the OECD's education director, said the success of education systems had to be measured on more than exam results.  Alongside globalisation and the rise of social media, Schleicher said, there had been a "polarisation" in beliefs, which meant that some teenagers could be left with little awareness of the views of other people.  Schleicher says that the new PISA test is underpinned by the idea that young people should understand other cultures, show respect for "human dignity" and be able to objectively analyse information.

He added that although OECD has been trailing these plans for a new kind of PISA test for the past year, some countries were reluctant to be compared on these measures, and there had been a "hesitation" about moving from discussing students' beliefs to "hard data" from testing them.  "I take a different view" he said, "the only way to get serious ... is to look at the truth."

Truth?  It's hard to know where to start with this balony – other than to note that Schleicher has a lot of personal kudos invested in the new test as I noted last month.  His notion that the test would reveal the countries that paid only "lip service" to the ideas of tolerance and inclusion is risible.  "What do students actually think? What do students actually know?", he asks.  What will he think if they say they think (or know) his new test is rubbish, I wonder?  Of course, that's one question they won't be asked.

It is regrettable, however, that DfE has said that it will not allow schools to take part because this would place an "additional burden" on them.  This is the argument of scoundrels as I noted the other day about PIRLS.  Much better to say that the tests are nonsense, as they undoubtedly are.



The car maker that sees no evil

📥  Comment, News and Updates

Volkswagen loses its moral compass was the headline of a Times article the other week about the latest scandal to hit the truly awful German car-maker when, as article noted:

"... it emerged that VW and other German manufacturers had resorted to gassing monkeys as part of research into the effects of diesel fumes on humans.  The New York Times and other media revealed that VW, BMW and Daimler had clubbed together to finance an experiment in which 10 macaque monkeys from Java were packed into small airtight chambers and forced to watch cartoons while breathing in fumes from a VW Beetle."


"Whatever the legal or moral issues of the monkey-torturing affair, it is hard to think of a more numbingly inept stratagem for any modern German company than to associate itself with a gas chamber.  Yet VW, for all its technical skills, has a long history of dubious schemes, and for many both inside and outside the country last week the primate-gassing debacle provided further evidence of an alarming moral void at the heart of German industry."

James Lewisohn has an informative Spectator article on the history of the promotion of diesel within the EU, and, in an article in the Telegraph on the health ramifications of all this, Professor Sir David King, the government’s former chief scientific adviser, is quoted as saying:

"These companies have blood on their hands – I say that without any doubt.  The number of early fatalities in Britain is really very, very large due to NOx (nitrogen oxides) [in the] air, with governments across Europe encouraging diesel on the basis that the catalyst traps worked."

Meanwhile, the UK government just fiddles around as Client Earth notes.

I am appalled at how the German government has connived at protecting all this criminality, and I have resolved never to buy a German car again.  I am surely not alone in this.


More challenges around the SDGs

📥  Comment, New Publications

The report on the St George's House consultation on the SDGs contains three sets of challenges, and I wrote about the ones to government the other day.  I was somewhat sceptical as to whether anyone would take any notice.

But what about NGOs and schools?  Are these likely to fare any better do you think?  Here they are:

Challenges for NGOs

  • Contribute to broadening the evidence base that confirms the beneficial outcomes from exploring the SDGs can generate – outcomes than are valued by a range of stakeholders from the learners themselves to government departments including attainment, wellbeing and teacher motivation.
  • Broaden engagement with the SDGs through linking in with broader conversations around the purposes of education and raise the themes and vision behind SDGs to influence key charitable foundations and funders. This links with the need to consider the opportunities to embed learning within other frameworks (for example the Education 2030 project12) that address (but are not limited to) the SDGs and vice versa.
  • Opportunities to explore the SDGs with young people beyond the formal curriculum gives NGOs a licence to work in a way that offers a space for young people to develop their values in ways that may not currently be available within schools.
  • Supporting schools to deliver journeys of learning related to the SDGs is crucial, however this must include consideration of ‘how’ these journeys are delivered as well as what they will learn along the way.
  • The SDGs present those working in the field with an opportunity to rethink assumptions made about the experiences of young people in the global north and south and the false dichotomies that exist and are perpetuated by development education.

Challenges for Schools

  • Those who have direct experience of exploring the SDGs with young people are highly aware of the positive outcomes of these experiences for learners as well as their wider communities. Showcasing and communicating these outcomes more consistently, precisely and completely is essential for gaining support both within and beyond individual institutions.
  • The key is to integrate the SDGs into curriculum learning, not in one subject, but through project based learning where students take a lead role in addressing the challenges that we face.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity for curriculum enrichment offered at KS3.
  • Use new and existing partnerships and networks to spread good practice and resources.
  • Any exploration of the SDGs should include the opportunity to develop critical thinking. This raises the question as to whether it is possible for young people to get behind the SDGs once they have been through the process of critical reflection. Using exploration as an opportunity for developing action competency is therefore also key.
  • Values education can be a contentious topic for schools and teachers. The SDGs offer an opportunity for discussion for students to develop their values. It is important for schools to strike the balance between encouraging specific values and providing space for values to develop.

What do you think?  Answers on a postcard to the usual address ..

Ever mindful of the GAP

📥  Comment, New Publications

I had an email the other day from UNESCO's representative on Earth.

This included a couple of policy briefs that have been developed through the Global Action Programme (GAP).  The email said that these were the key messages:

  1. As a means of implementation, education is an important tool to support the achievement of each SDG.
  2. Improvements in the quality of education and equitable access to it can have a wide diversity of development benefits that demonstrate a high return on investment.
  3. ESD provides a valuable framework and methodology for achieving the goal of “quality education ... for all” as stated in SDG 4.
  4. Educational policies play a primary role in the effective implementation of ESD and framing how it influences and benefits the curriculum, teacher training, development of learning materials, and the learning environment.

What's remarkable about this is the unremarkableness of points 1 & 2 which I might paraphrase as "education is a necessary component of effective socio-economic development.  But has UNESCO just stumbled across this idea?  It's hardly an outcome of the GAP.  Time to wake-up!

Point 3 is just UNESCO having an internal conversation between its special-pleading ESD-ers and the more mainstream (and numerous) education for all types.  This has been going on for years to no great effect.

As for point 4, if you ever find out what it means, do drop me a line ...


St George's House and the SDGs – the report

📥  Comment, New Publications

As you know from all those posts about the sustainable development goals late last year, there was a St George's House, Windsor, consultation in December on the SDGs and young people.  St George's said:

We already know that a number of schools have programmes focusing on this, but if goal-related learning by students can help increase the likelihood that the goals will be valued, supported and hence realised, is it also the case that a critical study of the goals can enhance the focus, and help raise the quality of student learning? This Consultation examined these twin propositions.  We looked in depth at what good goal-related outcomes might be; and explored what more can be done to embed a focus on the SDGs in work with young people both in and out of school.

The report has now been completed and you download it here.

It contains the background papers for the consultation, the presentations that were made and summary thoughts of participants.  The final part of the report sets out reflections and challenges, saying:

"The discussions and conversations over the 24 hour period generated key insights amongst participants as well as highlighting a number of challenges, both broad and narrow in their nature, to be considered when exploring the SDGs with young people."

Although there are no recommendations, there are key insights, and three sections setting out challenges (in the sense of why don't you do this ...) for government, schools and NGOs.  This is the challenge to government:

  • The SDGs are knitted together by a common set of values. Recognising the role that education has in achieving the SDGs triggers the need for a national conversation around the purpose of education as being for the development of a responsible and just society rather than for the acquisition of skills to complete a job, and amendment of the Education Act as a result.
  • Convene a cross-sector coalition of organisations and individuals to consider the vision of the purpose of education and to deliver the systemic change necessary to realising this agreed purpose.
  • From the perspectives outlined during the consultation, there is a need to consider the discrepancies between approaches to enabling and supporting learning for the SDGs across the UK nations.  Similarly there is a need to consider the opportunities for incorporating learning for and about the SDGs at different stages of education.

It seems highly unlikely that any of this will happen any time soon.


PIRLS of wisdom

📥  Comment, News and Updates

I hadn't realised that French school kids did so badly in the PIRLS tests, and that they've been getting worse at it over the last few years.

PIRLS * is known as a reading test, but it's much more like a new-fashioned comprehension test – a 21st century version of all those interminable exercises I did at school which I saw little relevance in at the time but which, as it turns out, helped me start to develop a language skill that I've used in all the work I've ever done.

Anyway back to the French and their concerns over what to do about PIRLS given that it demonstrates that not all's well with the French Bac.   One option is to withdraw from it whilst making self-serving noise about how it puts too great a burden on children teachers, parents, etc.  This is what the Scots did after the 2006 results **.   And for depressingly similar reasons, so, of course, did the Welsh,

Another option is to try to do something about it as the Economist reported this week. The New Napoleon has ordered significant changes in the French Bac although there seems to have been less than extensive consultation with teachers who (always on the lookout for a chance to parade their virtue on the streets when the days get warmer) are said to be upset.

Happily (but unhappily if you're the saviour of Europe), Les Rosbifs are doing rather well in PIRLS, as are (of course) the Northern Irish.  To see what sort of test PIRLS offers, just have a look here.



The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) measures the reading ability of 10-year-olds, which can then be compared with other countries. The study is run by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) on a 5-yearly cycle. The next round of the study takes place later this year and will be delivered through Pearson Education and Oxford University in England.

** A 2016 ELINET survey of literacy in Scotland said this:

"The average reading performances of Scottish 10-year-olds in PIRLS 2001 and 2006 were similar across years and across both reading and reading comprehension processes. Scotland’s performance was slightly lower than the average across participating EU countries, but with greater spread. In contrast, while the average reading test performance of Scottish 15-year-olds in the PISA surveys has fluctuated over the period (2000-2012), it has always been above the average for participating EU countries. The performance spread for Scottish students has been lower than that for the EU countries on average: the proportion of top-performing readers has been close to the average of participating EU countries, whereas the proportion of students considered as low-performing readers has typically been below the EU countries on average."


Manchester, Bedford and the Steady State

📥  Comment, News and Updates

This is a brief review of the discussion paper that Susan Brown, from the University of Manchester, has written for Steady State Manchester [SSM], and which I wrote about on Tuesday.

We learn from the Introduction to the paper (page 5) that Steady State Manchester (SSM) is concerned with how we transition to a ‘steady state culture’ – by which SSM means ways of shared living “where people thrive without harming the planet”.   SSM adds that a steady state culture emerges through and develops local economies founded on a ‘viable economic model; that is, a model which recognises a dependence on the environment, on the social structures the environment supports and on the well being of the individuals that make up those social structures.

There is a lot packed into these brief sentences, and some of it needs to be contested.  The first thing to say is that SSM is not the only group interested in people being able to thrive without harming the planet; arguably, everyone interested in sustainability / sustainable development would want that – more or less – although it does depend on what ‘thrive’ means, and who gets to decide this.  And I take “harming the panet” to mean really buggering up the biosphere rather than dropping the odd bit of litter or dog doo-doo, deplorable and distressing though these are.  It seems reasonable to conclude that, in SSM’s view, thriving implies ‘shared living’ as they link the two phrases closely together.  I am not really clear what shared living means, or what the implications are for those of a more individualistic turn of mind (and I don't just mean hermits).

The second thing to note is the stress on the need for a viable economic model: one that acknowledges the dependency of individuals and social groups on the planet.  I am sure that SSM thinks that this is not the economic model that we currently have, and many would agree with them.  However, a key question (but not for today) is whether such a viable model has to be a steady state one.

The next section of the paper shows the immensity of the task of transitioning to a steady state culture as this requires a “shift in underpinning understandings, values, and aspirations”.  That is, we shall have to change what we know, how we know it, how we think, what we value and what we want from life.  The point of the paper is that it is education (viewed broadly) that has a “crucial role to play in helping us make the transition”.  Or, I wonder, should that be that "in helping us want to make that transition".

Susan Brown asks:

“… what educational communications/activities can help shift understandings and values and develop the skills needed to make the transition to a steady state culture and the economy?”

In the space of a few lines on page 6, we’re told that

[i] education can be a primary force for change, enhancing the life chances of individuals and the workings of societies, and that ...

[ii] education tends to support change which accords with the values existing within society rather than striving to change those values.

And there is no contradiction here particularly when it comes to schools which tend to be conservative / status quo institutions.  Whilst they are capable of changing the lives of individuals for the better (I am one such), it’s always the case, for obvious reasons, that schools are easier to change by society than society is by schools.

Although the paper quotes Jacombs (2004) who describes education as "the most sophisticated instrument yet fashioned by society for its own conscious social evolution", that role is easier to see working in universities than in schools.  Indeed, some argue that it is the prime role of the research and scholarship that emanates from HE – and we might add technological evolution to the quote.  In schools, however, the instrument is a blunt one largely because learners don't learn what teachers teach.

It is undoubtedly the case that there is much questioning of the extent to which current educational provision (again viewed broadly) shores up economic models based on growth, trade, markets, capitalism, etc (which some term neoliberal), and which are taken to be inimical to both a well-functioning biosphere and human (and perhaps other) well-being.  But it's not obvious to everybody who thinks about these matters that a steady state culture would solve all the problems, and it is certainly to be hoped that were a transition to a steady state culture begin, there would be as much reflexive questioning of the appropriateness and effectiveness about what's emerging as there is of the current system.

We’re told (page 7) that, in a transition to a steady state culture, there would be a need for the following:

  • an emphasis on place-based education
  • a focus on interdisciplinarity
  • an open, inquiring, empathic mind-set

There’s nothing wrong with any of these (and much that’s right about them), but I’m sure geographers would want to say that they exist already in most schools – and environmental educators are always banging on about such things.  There also doesn’t seem to be anything particularly steady state about them, as far as I can tell.

The main body of the paper then helpfully goes on (pages 9 to 30) to ask what might the educational landscape for a steady state culture look like, and discusses wide range of issues in 5 sections:

  1. Skills
  2. A diversified learning landscape
  3. Involvement and contributions
  4. Communication
  5. The Information Landscape

The issues covered are not all the usual sort of thing you find in papers like this, and they warrant a read (and I shall return to these at some point – though not today).  The issues include, for example:

  • 1.3 Legal literacy
  • 1.4 Engagement with technology
  • 2.3 Grassroots learning
  • 2.5 Local Apprenticeships
  • 3.1 Ranking and value
  • 3.2 Access, accreditation and assessment

The points that that Susan Brown choose to emphasise in this core section of the paper included the following, and they illustrate the radical nature of what's envisaged:

  • We will need to nurture and value a much broader range of skills than are currently focussed on and ditch unhelpful dichotomies between manual skills and academic skills;
  • Informal and formal learning communities will need to work more closely together, with formal institutions finding ways of responding to the initiatives of local communities;
  • Formal institutions will need to significantly widen access to the knowledge and expertise they hold;
  • We’ll all be learners and teachers, drawing at whatever stage in life on our natural inclinations to learn and communicate information, knowledge and skills to others;
  • A focus on communication skills will be central to shaping a Steady State. Kernel to that focus will be listening skills, empathy and an understanding of the value of pluralistic conversations;
  • We’ll need to value and invest in a sense of ‘place’, with all of the rediscovery, innovation and creativity that this will entail.

But in the end, there was too much is this transitioning to get into the paper as Susan Brown notes that she might have discussed the following:

– the skills we need to establish local financial systems: this is an area that those with significantly more knowledge of such systems than I have may be able to address from an educational perspective.

– how education can explicitly tackle the deeply ingrained value systems associated with ‘over consumption’.

– the demands on our time that prevent many of us from engaging in community activities.

– the levels of playfulness, fun and imagination that will be needed as we learn new skills.

And so on – although (again) none of the above seems particularly steady-state to me.

Steady State Manchester is keen to understand how education can help shape a steady state culture and Susan Brown has done a useful job, I'd say, in helping them (and the rest of us) think about this.  This is part of the final part of her conclusion:

"There are a growing range of educational initiatives; a few alluded to in this paper, which are changing the learning landscape in ways that can shape a Steady State Culture.  The number of such initiatives needs to substantially increase and their activities supported and nurtured.  For this to happen we need profound change in the ways in which we think about education.  Through writing this paper I realize the vocabulary we use in most formal educational contexts is constrained, and relates, without many of us consciously realizing it, to competition, status, authority, recognition, power, intellect etc. ...

There is, undoubtedly, something in thus, but it's not the whole picture by any means and it's not helpful to hint that it is.  Anyway, should we really be opposing 'intellect' and 'competition'?   Will Premiership football be frowned upon in steady state Manchester I wonder.  And will status, authority, recognition, or power diminish?  I don't believe that for a minute.  I have thought for a long time that our education system has always been predominantly in the service of the economy – just as it would be, I think, were SSM to come to power.

The paper ends (it follows on from the previous quote) like this:

... This means that even when we wish to change education we end up reverting to default educational understandings and processes that are not conducive to shaping a steady state.  For them to be so they need to be fused at a fundamental level to the vocabulary of mutuality, shared ownership, collaboration, humility, creativity, experimentation, learning from failure, discovery, motivation and imagination."

Again, there's nothing wrong with (and much that’s right about) creativity, experimentation, learning from failure, discovery, motivation and imagination, but it's not helpful to think that they are wholly lacking from the current system – particularly, perhaps in primary schools.

My final thought (for now) is that I'm more likely (just) to found living in Manchester than in Bedford in 2045 – if I'm still around then, of course.  I say this because it looks more likely to be open-minded (only just though).  Mind you, my real plan is to keep on living (or dying) safely quartered down in Wiltshire where things are always steady.