"Imagine a school system where...": Common Weal's first 'Policy Lab'

Common Weal communications officer Katie Gallogly-Swan reports on the first 'Policy Lab', bringing together academics with those who work in the field to come up with collaborative policy solutions

IMAGINE a school system where education is defined as the nurturing of the whole individual, and where success is not the row of letters attributed to you by arbitrary assessments.

Where teacher innovation is celebrated and sustained, and schools become hubs for the whole community to participate in learning and to attenuate inequality.

Where subjects and rote learning play a marginal role, and instead project-based learning allows children to develop skills holistically.

With no segregation into age groups, subjects, religions, or private schools.

At our very first pilot policy lab on Friday 7 August, a team of educators, experts, school students, and interested citizens came together to ask some of the big questions of our education system.

Can Scotland have this?

At our very first pilot policy lab on Friday 7 August, a team of educators, experts, school students, and interested citizens came together to ask some of the big questions of our education system.

Policy labs: A methodology pioneered at Common Weal to connect academics with citizens engaged in the sector in a collaborative model of policy development. In other words, taking participation seriously.

At a policy lab, the central questions should be "Who is this for?" and "What if?". The ideas should be collaborative, participatory and fearless.

On Friday, a young man going into his fifth year in high school took the train from Perth to Glasgow to attend because he wanted to ensure his thoughts on subject-based learning and higher education options were heeded.

A young woman just finishing high school came to share her positive experiences with a work-school balance as a careworker to a disabled peer.

Teachers shared their experiences of inequality in the Scottish education system, and the difficulty in battling the economic pressures of an austere government.

A young woman just finishing high school came to share her positive experiences with a work-school balance as a careworker to a disabled peer.

Academics shared their understanding of a changing landscape in education, highlighting that despite so many apparent changes in Scottish education, there are still so few differences in terms of outcomes for young people.

Everyone listened intently, connecting the dots between each experience and their knowledge in the field. As a group, we chose a focus on four issues for the day, which teams worked diligently on; collaborating, debating, sometimes switching groups, and always dedicated to the foundations of the lab: who is this for? What if...?

Five hours of thinking flew by, with a myriad of proposals and a plethora of ideas. And a consensus was reached: this can't end here.

"We need a manifesto for change, not another policy paper".

The 2016 elections are coming up: what policy labs do you want to attend?

These ideas cannot be contained to a talking shop, but must be lobbied, argued for and realised. Why can't we redress the issues posed by SQA assessment? Who says we can't provide the tools for teachers to innovate in their communities? What if we rethought segregation in all its forms?

Imagine we did this across sectors: developed spaces where people could connect and debate with the shared purpose of redrafting the very assumptions of how our society runs. A mass flash mob of impassioned participation, where pragmatism meets idealism and incredible ideas are born. And then imagine if we managed to get the decision makers to pay attention.

The 2016 elections are coming up: what policy labs do you want to attend?

Picture courtesy of Common Weal

Comments

Christopher Reay's picture

Christopher Reay

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

Narayan

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Derek Louden

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Derek Louden

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

pictishbeastie

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

pictishbeastie

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

Robin Barclay

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Robin Barclay

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

markryle

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

markryle

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

Karen Dietz

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Karen Dietz

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

Roisin Murphy

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Roisin Murphy

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

William Steele

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

William Steele

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

Steve West

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Steve West

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

DAVID SMART

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

DAVID SMART

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

steve andrews

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

steve andrews

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

Bill Fraser

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Bill Fraser

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

Andrew Stuart's picture

Andrew Stuart

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Andrew Stuart's picture

Andrew Stuart

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

Paul Smith

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Paul Smith

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

Jon

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Jon

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

Andy Ellis

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Andy Ellis

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

Malki80

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 21:08

Policy labs which set policy based on a determined goal. E.g. 1. proper media regulation which ensured that the media represents the organic views of the majority and not the calculated propaganda of the minority. 2. making public organisations accountable to the public. (ie how to leverage parliament not to make decisions against the will of the majority following a period of educated debate). 3. Make Intelligence organisations etc open and accountable so they support democracy instead of undermining it. 4 To achieve proper competition regulation which prevents a small number of corporations dominating any market and prioritizes optimization of benefits for the greater good whilst not over-encroaching on entrepreneurial creativity..........and so on

Malki80

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:35

I cannot believe i missed this. Is there a calendar of Common Weal events? For Glasgow specifically?
Is there a video of the event?

Thank you for running this :)

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