Education: The Rock and Roll Years A northern perspective on a lifetime of learning, teaching and leading£18.99*
- A beautifully woven autobiographical account of learning and working in the post war educational landscape of northern England.
- Short, digestible and engaging chapters offer wisdom, critical reflections and inspirational thoughts.
- Les looks at some of the odd quirks embedded within the curriculum, such as an ignorance of regional heritages within England, whereas they are celebrated within the other UK nations. Good point.
- Progressing through the rock and roll years of the 1950’s and beyond, Les offers the reader an informative look at how educational fads and priorities have changed through the years.
- The three distinct sections of this book all build up to an expert reflection of what education should be, especially if we are really interested in rebalancing the system.
Looking back over the last 70 years of education within England highlights some fantastic achievements within the system but, more notable, some of the magnificent failures that have helped widen the achievement gap for generations of pupils. Not too many people are in a strong position to reflect back on post-war education in such a personal, reflective, and critical way as Les Walton, who climbed many professional educational ladders through his vast career.
Proud to be from the North East of England – and rightly so – Les was well placed to see how different tiers of education impacted individuals who were held back in life through circumstance, rather than ability. Early on, Les highlights the obvious glaring omissions of the education system (within the UK). He points out (page 10),
“The window of opportunity to learn languages is wide open during the first ten years of life. Why does the education system invest most in foreign language education after the age of 10, when many dispositions for learning a language have shut down?”
So…..why? Some obvious answers include – curriculum priorities – curriculum time – teacher confidence, but are we doing our pupils a disservice by ignoring developmental science?
Les has not written this autobiographical review of his experiences within the education system through rose-tinted spectacles. His experiences of education at various levels has put him in a strong position to inform what an education system should be, for the benefit of all young people – no matter what circumstances life has offered.
This book is an easy, enjoyable and fascinating read that I would encourage all educators to find time to read. The wisdom shared within is gold. Perhaps there are a couple of politicians who should also find time to read about how political mistakes can impact young lives. We all have a responsibility to the young people in our society, then we need to ensure that their education serves their need to welcome opportunities.