One of the schools Sir Ken highlights in The Element is Grange Primary School in the UK. Richard Gerver was the head teacher at Grange during its transformation into a model for innovative education, and ‘Creating Tomorrow’s Schools, Today' is an overview of his pedagogical beliefs (the first half) and how they came to life at Grange (the second half).
A self-professed non-academic, Gerver is readable and pragmatic, but firmly grounded in well-researched and considered opinions. Highlights include an overview of ‘Grangeton’, a program where the school creates a simulacrum of society, with everything from a healthy-eating shop (mentored by the local supermarket owner) to a daily radio show.
Gerver also explores using what he refers to as the ‘evils’ of advertising to ‘sell’ school to kids as the ‘consumer’ – as he puts it, ‘How do we make school as exciting as Disneyland?’. This is a theme that has been picked up by Ray Trotter, principal at Wooranna Park Primary School in his article published here last month, 'What Would a School Built by Walt Disney Look Like'.
(Extract taken from 'Creating Tomorrow's Schools Today' by Richard Gerver, published by Bloomsbury, $39.99)