I was sitting in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom with 41 Heads of School. Our professor, Sir Chris Woodhead, her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, who famously was fired shortly after remarking that there were “15,000 incompetent teachers” in the UK, strode to the podium.  “Schools are for learning,” he declared.

 

This group of 41 Heads had traveled from all corners of the globe to sit in this very room.  A couple looked around dubiously – was this what we were going to learn here in the UK? Surely everyone must know that ‘schools are for learning’!

 

Sir Woodhead continued: “Schools are for children’s learning. They are NOT for the employment of teachers, they are NOT for special interest groups, they are NOT for political gain.  Take a moment – is this simple truth true in your own schools, towns, and countries?”

 

Sitting here 10 years later I believe that we should all consider Sir Woodhead’s question. Are schools still about student learning?