Power to Connect

Human beings are naturally social, inquisitive, curious and empathetic — we thrive when we are part of communities be that in family or friendship groups, work environments, sports or hobbies. Whether it’s going to football matches, music festivals, Star Trek conventions or sitting in the pub, we often feel most happy and empassioned when enjoying collective experiences with other people. Yet as we move through different phases in our lives we regularly interact with institutions and civic systems — in health, education, transport, housing — designed to disconnect, isolate and dehumanise.

From the age of 5–19 the school system plays a hugely significant part in our lives — it is where we spend the near majority of our time, 8 hours a day for nearly 200 days every year. It helps define and shape our interests and passions in life, our friendship groups, our social networks, our sense of worth and value. Yet, and especially as we move from primary to secondary school and beyond, the system starts to disconnect and divide us, as individuals, and also as communities. Both physically, as we move to a new institution often outside our immediate local area, with new people and away from existing friendships and relationships with other young people and adults. And literally as we are told to understand the world in single subject silos, with often limited interaction with communities outside of the school building.

We are labelled as able/less able and put into ‘sets’, as though this is some sort of binary choice or continuum of being clever-stupid. You are ‘good’ at this subject, but ‘bad’ at this subject, as if the world were this simple. Our personal qualities and innate needs become less relevant in a system designed to divide and filter people into categories which determine their ability to move onto the next thing at 16, then 18, or to pursue a particular interest or path in life.

It is also a system which sucks up around £50 billion of govenment spending every year, and by its own definition of success (academic achievement) only really delivers for approx 65% of people at age 16, and 50% at age 18. And fundamentally leaves many young people feeling like they have wasted a portion of their lives, lacking in confidence and self esteem, and with a disdain for and disinterest in education, desparate to get out and into the real world and back to the connectedness they crave.

But does it have to be this way? It’s not that difficult to imagine a system and set of environments that can have a profoundly enabling rather than disabling effect on people.

This is the purpose of disruptED.

To bring together teachers, school leaders and other educationalists who are experimenting with new ideas across both formal and informal education settings, and agitating for change. To provide a platform and space for connection and collaboration. To imagine and create new networks and institutions which enable young people to develop a deep love of learning, to connect with and shape the world around them, rather than being passive recipients of change. And to reimagine what schools are capable of being in the connected age, as vibrant and vital spaces for wider learning. We believe that by building a powerful community of educators who are pushing at the boundaries of what is possible, we can transform the education system from the grassroots up.

Please join us…

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