I visited Tithe Barn Primary the other week where the children are learning to use Google Cloud as a resource.
Year 6 Digital Leaders gave me a very impressive presentation and I was particularly struck by some of their comments. They said
‘We have access to a green paperless homework system called Google Classroom and we can access all our work from home’
‘We are expected to think for ourselves and try and find the answers to our own questions’
I also liked that they worked in teams on projects and assessed each other’s work.
I also liked that they were learning about fake news. With so much information on the internet it is important that children can distinguish fact from fiction. Working as part of a team, learning to solve problems and being creative will be essential skills for the future jobs in the digital age. The world of work is changing. Robots and artificial intelligence will do many of the jobs that human labour does today in the same way that the machines of the industrial revolution replaced labour in the 19th century.
The digital revolution will create new jobs and giving our children the skills for that future world is critical. Google Cloud is a free resource and investing in training to use it is money well spent.
Every child in every school could have access. That’s equality of opportunity.
When I visit schools, what is interesting is that unlike when I was a child when all knowledge was received from teachers and parents now children can find out their own information.
Children bring in their own knowledge to school. Their mobile phones or iPads give them access to a world of facts.
That doesn’t mean that education is going to be all about self- learning, good teachers will be as necessary and as valued as ever.
But it might alter what is taught and how it is taught. It may make it easier to tailor learning to an individual child’s needs so that every child is encouraged and supported to develop their talents.
I love the energy and passion that young people bring to political discussion. It is always a tonic to hear their ideas and enthusiasm.
I recently met three local young people who are Stockport’s representatives in the UK Youth Parliament, which is made up of 11-18 year olds from all over the country.
Members of the Youth Parliament are elected locally and they campaign to bring about social change and to be the voice of young people locally.
Faith Oliver, aged 15 and Alex Davies, 16, who are at Stockport School, are two of Stockport’s representatives in the Youth Parliament. I met them recently and they outlined to me their chosen campaign on mental health, which is an issue that worries many young people.
I recently met some Stockport business leaders who talked about their frustrations over the confusion and uncertainty around Brexit.
They represented a spread of businesses from services to manufacturing and they were all worried about the knock-on effect on local jobs, investment and business.
There have been three tortuous years of Brexit negotiations whilst Theresa May tried to get a deal with the EU that would not disadvantage the UK’s economy after we left. And still, there is no deal. And now she has resigned as Prime Minister and Boris Johnson, who said getting a deal from the EU, would be easy wants to take her place. He, of course, resigned as Foreign Secretary when the going got hard.
The next couple of months are going to be dominated by the contenders to be the next Prime Minister promising that they can sort the mess out. They can’t. Jeremy Corbyn has also promised what he can’t deliver. The majority of MP’s are opposed to leaving without any trading arrangement in place with the EU because we know how damaging that will be and that the least well off will bear the greatest cost.
The only deal that is on offer is a deal that Theresa May couldn’t get support for. The EU have said they are not reopening negotiations.
A general election would solve nothing.
Confidence in the two main parties is at an all-time low so it is unlikely that either party would be returned with an overall majority. So I think we should withdraw our notice to quit, remain in the EU and reform and address the concerns that people have.
That would give local business the certainty they need and our children the future they deserve.