I discovered the work of Richard Gerver through the book Creative Schools by Ken Robinson, where he was mentioned for his work as headteacher in the Grange Primary School. What Gerver did there is outstanding: he turned a struggling school into a model of childcentered education, transforming it into Grangeton, a city in the school limit where students are engaged in their own learning by assuming the roles that we would expect from an running town. Here is a great talk that Richard Gerver gave at Tedx about finding a higher purpose in education.
After watching a few of his videos (Richard Gerver is doing lectures all over the world on the topic of education – and is very entertaining at it, I must say), I read his book Creating Tomorrow’s Schools Today where he asks the following question: Education is the platform for our success or failure, but is our system still fit for purpose? What he does in the following two hundred pages is question our educational system, its purpose and its way of functioning, but also offer a solution based on his time at Grange Primary School. In the first part of the book, he describes the challenge we are facing today in education, how the world changed and how our schools remained the same. He discusses the positivity of failure, takes position in the knowledge vs skills debate and encourage us to make schools magical, inspiring places.
In the second part of Creating Tomorrow’s Schools Today, things become really interesting. Gerver talks about his experience as Headteacher at Grange Primary School and introduces us with the changes that his staff and himself did there. Entitled “The way it could be, the section present the school vision and the thinking behind the change of perspective the school went through; the intention of developing the whole child through a more thematic based approach that goes beyond simply teaching the subjects; the three dimensional learning taking place in the Grangeton Project; and the invention of a new curriculum that nurture individual talents (and using the great RSA Opening Minds Curriculum). Down to earth and explicit, as well as inspiring and full of good ideas on how to practically make a change in a school community, the books reads like a novel.
Richard Gerver is an avid and interesting speaker, but also a precursor of the change that must come to our school system. Away from the industrial revolution model, he offers a new way of envisioning the future of our schools. Well worth a look!