David Rose: Director Brookes Europe, Africa, Middle East


In Education the most fundamental question should be ‘What do we want our schools to do most for our children?’ At Brookes Education Group we are clear about what the priorities should be – in no particular order I think most people would agree to the following checklist:

• to master the basic skills of numeracy and literacy

• to gain an understanding of how the world works and how it has evolved – science, technology,

history and geography, politics, the environment, human rights

• to gain pleasure from and appreciate the arts – art, music and drama

• to be digitally agile and use the internet and social media responsibly

• to lead a balanced lifestyle – heath and fitness, sport

• to be able to communicate in more than one language

Broadly speaking, this is the curriculum that is covered by most schools across the world. Then come the soft skills, the emotional development and holistic education which are often overlooked or which don’t seem to fit in.

Here we want a Brookes students to also:

• gain enjoyment and fulfilment from learning

• have a sense of fun and achievement

• be able to learn from their mistakes

• have a chance to pursue their own interests, face their own challenges and find new ways of

tackling issues and solving problems

• gain self-confidence, self-discipline and independence

• be able to question why things are as they are and suggest alternatives

• be able to present, debate, communicate

• to be able to plan, research, justify and propose

• be able to collaborate, co-operate, to be both a team leader and a follower

• have a developed sense of moral and social responsibility and justice and be interculturally

aware and appreciate and understand difference.

Creating a school environment which is able to blend instruction, mastery, memorisation, inclusion experimentation, individuality, leadership, personality, freedom and conformity, character and connectivity is the challenge that Brookes Education Group understands is critical if we are really serious about 21st century education.

Rather than following a narrow, test based, highly structured, one right answer approach, Brookes challenges teachers and young people to think differently and in an age where all of the ‘answers’ can be easily found on Google, Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha, young people need to be equipped with an alternative set of skills if they are to flourish in this fast-changing, technological world where inequality and material wealth are so ingrained.

Sir Ken Robinson, who is recognised as “the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” challenges the way children are being educated. In his books articles,TedTalks and lectures he has been championing for almost 30 years, a radical rethink of school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence. Sir Ken Robinson, was the keynote speaker at Talent Summit in Ireland this February where he spoke on this topic.

Reported in The Irish Times he said:

“The problem with that preoccupation of a certain style of education is that it marginalises a great many of the other abilities and talents that kids have, and that they’ll need now and in the future.”

“Strategically, creativity is becoming more and more important. More and more we’ll be thrown back on our resources to create the lives we lead, and to be more adaptable and resourceful.”

For parents, he says the key is to remember that every child is unique and has different talents and abilities. Education needs to be contoured to meet their needs.

“Look at your child and say, who is this, who might this person become? You can’t predict it, but you can be sensitive to who this person is that’s unfolding in front of you.”

“It’s important to look at the world around you, and think what sort of skills, competencies will they need to be able to live successfully in the world? Then ask, what kind of education do they need to do that?

“Too often the question is, “How do I get my kids to college? and everything else is sacrificed for that objective.”

However, its deeper than that as education league tables put pressure on schools to focus on test and examination performance. If a school’s success (and often funding) is judged on test grades alone why would education authorities want to give teachers and young people the freedom to be creative?

The counter argument is that if we don’t, we will be ignoring the talent that we desperately need to continue to thrive, invent and be innovative, discover and progress – and that is too high a price to pay.

Be Brookes – Be curious – Be unique – Be supported


  1. Education should aim at providing intellectual tools for effectively tackling problems in society.

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