Key Voices #134 – Thinking bigger and differently about the future of education with Claire Oatway and Sam Smith

“There is a point at which education has to fully engage with different models because, for all that we know many things in education work well, we are still creating an education system that is not breaching social mobility, it's not leading to all children achieving, it's not always fully meeting the needs of children with special educational needs. If we don’t think differently, what are we going to be doing? The same things in 100 years’ time?”

This week we speak to Claire Oatway, a Leadership and Strategy Consultant, and Sam Smith, Headteacher at Stoke Damerel Primary Academy about some work they did together to imagine the future of schooling. Claire created an immersive representation of what a completely AI and technology enabled school could look like. This was then passed on to Sam and her team, who used it as a jumping off point for thinking more about how they could prepare their pupils for the future, and embrace technology in their curriculum and practices. 

We talk about: 
  • Sam and Claire’s backgrounds and past experiences
  • How their partnership came about 
  • How Claire created an immersive vision for the future of education for Sam and her team to respond to
  • The importance of giving children at primary school a better understanding of STEAM careers 
  • What a fully AI/ tech enabled school environment could look like without teachers and what that tells us about the highest value work teachers can actually be doing in schools 
  • Why and how school leaders can think bigger and differently about education if it is augmented by technology
  • Sam’s reflections about her school’s experience of remote learning and how the school evolved their offering over time
  • The potential for tech to support personalised learning for children who need additional support and other likely near term developments in EdTech


The original presentation Claire delivered at Sam’s school is here.

You can read about Claire’s work in this area here and you can contact her directly via LinkedIn to learn more. 

The television programme Sam mentions can be watched on catch-up here. 

You can find out more about Sam’s school here

“We need people like Claire provoking us to think bigger and differently, because our job as leaders is to think. We’re not paid for our brawn, we're paid for our brains. And if education leaders don’t look with a wider lens and think, then the education system will keep repeating the same processes or we will find ourselves stuck waiting for someone external to tell us what to do.” 

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