Lockdown closed our schools. One of the consequences was that it highlighted the gulf between those who thrive using on-line resources and home-schooling: who have the discipline and support to continue with their academic studies, and those for whom a practical, hands on and vocational approach works best. It is time to look again at ways of making the best of ‘gifts differing’. We have valued academic learning over practical intelligence for far too long. The challenge this presents is that we are growing a population of disaffected and disengaged young people. The opportunity is that if we can seize the moment and address this issue with creativity and imagination, we could future-proof our country against much of the unrest that stems from perceived unfairness and inequality. Both our white working-class boys and many youngster from the BAME community feel that they are at a disadvantage. They lack good role models and opportunities that are meaningful to them. If people do not feel valued then they find ways of building their own esteem and all too often that can mean testing the boundaries of what is legal or socially acceptable. This is the time to take a radical look at the ways in which we educate all our young. Covid and lockdowns have accelerated both social and technological change. Examinations are having to change, as are the ways in which we communicate with each other. We need to seize this chance to explore radical new ways to grow and inspire all our young, beyond the conventional ‘study and examine’ route to qualification. Personal growth and development must be available to all, regardless of ethnicity or ability to pass an exam.
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