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Friday 29 March 10am-4.30pm | Venue: Building Centre, 26 Store St, Fitzrovia, London WC1E 7BT

The fourth annual Choosing Knowledge conference is being held at the Building Centre in central London, and will look at the role of the teacher, throughout history to the present. What are the barriers to being able to ‘just teach’? Many will answer this question by pointing to the bureaucratic pressures put on teachers by Ofsted, league tables, increasing internal deadlines, paperwork and everything else that keeps them away from the classroom. More broadly, some argue that education has become an instrumental tool of government. Lessons must ‘raise awareness’ of, and incorporate advice, on how pupils can overcome the the latest social problem the government thinks schools should solve, from mental health to climate change. ‘Just Teach’ could be seen as a phrase applicable to a bygone era.

The 2010 Civitas report, Liberal Education and the National Curriculum, stated that the primary purpose of a liberal education is to prepare children for life in a free and democratic society. Yet when our pupils go off to university they seem unable to deal with alternative views to their own, from Rhodes Must Fall to Decolonising the Curriculum of Dead White Male voices, pupils are finding it hard to enter free, democratic public life. To what extent does the lack of teacher authority help create this problem?

Harley Richardson, who has worked in education publishing for over 20 years, will explore the history of liberal education from Ancient Greece to Mathew Arnold. 

Claire Fox, Director Academy of Ideas, will discuss her book ‘I find that Offensive‘ with David Perks.

Dr Shirley Lawes, Research supervisor and former lead tutor for the PGCE Languages at University College London Institute of Education, will explore the detail behind the shocking headlines about the collapse of language learning in the UK at present. 

A panel discussion will explore Ebacc and the Arts: love or hate relationship.

Timetable for the day

10.00 Coffee and registration

10.30 Introductory welcome

10.45 Are children over-protected?

11.45 Coffee break

12.15 Decolonising the Curriculum

12.45 Therapeutic education?

13.15 Lunch

14.00 Crisis in MFL?

14.30 Illustrated History of Liberal Education

15.20 Coffee Break

15.40 Book Launch – ‘ELSS Pupil Writing’

16.10 Just Teach?

16.50 Closing remarks

The event is free but places are limited. To book please email Jason Smith or call the school on 020 8981 2680