My career so far
I’ve been working on innovative projects and initiatives spanning education, skills, technology and lifelong learning for nearly a decade, and am increasingly involved in large scale initiatives which translate ideas into action! I started out working for the Studio Schools Trust, setting up new schools across England which bridge education and industry, then worked on an Education & Skills Commission in Oldham led by Baroness Estelle Morris, and for a digital skills start-up which created pop up design labs in schools. More recently, I’ve worked for Big Change as Impact & Insights Manager, and as an Associate Director at the Royal Society of Arts leading the Cities of Learning programme. In addition to my role at Rethinking Assessment, I’m currently a Research Fellow at the World Innovation Summit for Education working on place-based learning ecosystems and supporting the Fusion Cities initiative led by the City of London.
Overview of my role with Rethinking Assessment
I’m coordinating the Rethinking Assessment movement - a coalition of state and independent schools, Universities, researchers, employers, policy makers and education experts - who are seeking to change how our assessment system works. We believe that the current system of predominantly high stakes exams is not working - it fails large numbers of young people every year, and is not meeting the needs of higher education, business or wider society anymore. We want to see a system that is more holistic and less narrow and harmful, and which recognises the full breath of a young person’s strengths and achievements. In addition to campaigning, storytelling and making the case for change, we are also working on practical ideas and workable solutions that can be piloted in schools and colleges and offered as real alternatives.
Personal interests within the education system
Changing assessment, and what we measure, recognise and value in society is really critical. Writing off large numbers of kids every year as failures, who have one shot at “success”, is immoral and cuts to the heart of issues of social justice and the kind of country that we want to be. Over the last few years, I’ve been working at different levels of the education system, both in the UK and internationally, and am really interested in the process of systems change, and where agency and power lies. It’s probably no coincidence that I’m increasingly working on ‘place based’ projects which aim to mobilise and create space for local communities to realise their power and get things done. There is so much energy and creativity in education in different places across the country, which is often under the radar or overlooked, and it’s exciting to work with communities of different scale to test out new ideas and learn. And most importantly, to see the impact for young people. In addition to my various work projects, I’m also the Trustee of a charity called the Politics Project which aims to improve political literacy, and help teenagers understand power and connect them into the decision-making processes where they live. Whenever I spend time with teenagers, including my younger siblings, it gives me a deep gratitude and hope for the future - with the savviness, perspectives and values that they will bring to solve the challenges of our time.
How is this work connected to Edge?
The Edge Foundation are one of the key supporters and partners of Rethinking Assessment - and it’s come a bit full circle for me as they were also one of the founding partners of the Studio Schools Trust.