This is a bit of a diversion from my usual focus on massage education.

I’ve just been reading about a project that’s taking place in Knowsley, Merseyside, UK on Derek Wenmoth’s blog .  The Knowsley city council is involved in a UK wide push called Building Schools for the Future (BSF).  Through BSF, the UK government intends to redesign buildings & upgrade the schooling ICT infrastructure within all schools over the next 10-15 years. 

In Knowsley however they’re taking it one step further.  They plan to completely replace the existing schools with “Learning Centres”.

“The style of learning will be completely different. The new centres will open from 7am until 10pm in both term-time and what used to be known as the school holidays. At weekends, they will open from 9am to 8pm.

Youngsters will not be taught in formal classes, nor will they stick to a rigid timetable; instead they will work online at their own speeds on programmes that are tailor-made to match their interests.

Children will be able to study haircare, beauty therapy, leisure and tourism, and engineering as well as the more traditional academic subjects.

They will be given their day’s assignments in groups of 120 in the morning before dispersing to internet cafe-style zones in the learning centres to carry them out.

The 21,000 youngsters of secondary education age in Knowsley will also be able to access their learning programmes from home.” (Sourced from an article in the Independent on 4/7/07)

It will be interesting to watch how this fairly forward thinking project plays out.  Will it act to improve the motivation of the students, or will students of this age find it hard to motivate themselves?   Derek seems to think that the planned flexible-learning model will be short-lived, and forsees social pressures working to re-establish something closer to the typical schooling system.  We’ll see….