TES Conference, Olympia

On Friday I had the great pleasure of speaking at the TES conference at Olympia, to a group of primary headteachers and practitioners about implementing personalised learning in their settings. All too often, personalised learning is considered as appropriate for secondary schools when in fact it is applicable to all phases of education. My turn at the podium was an opportunity to consider this in more detail.

The points I raised were the background of the personalised learning debate in England, how personalised learning fits with other systems and structures in schools and what tools are available to support the introduction and embedding of personalised learning in primary settings.

I drew from the work of David Hopkins’s 2007 book ‘Every school a great school’ (Open University Press) which clearly discusses the processes that have been happening in educational reform and offers suggestions for how the process of change can be taken further. Building in examples from around the world, during my time at Ultralab, and adding in a fair smattering of my own opinion about how virtual learning environments, as they currently stand, are not going to support personalised learning without a great deal of effort on bealf of the teachers who use them.

Far from being pessimistic, the situation couldn’t be more full of opportunity, but dismissing some of the myths and dispelling rumours is necessary before schools will be able to move towards implementing systems rigorously enough to really embedd the processes required.