Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson PhD, 1950-2020

It is estimated that 380 million people from over 160 countries have watched Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 Ted talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”

It is a remarkable and powerfully persuasive argument for worldwide educational reform – presented with the wit and delivery of a genuine stand-up comic. It was one of the catalysts that inspired me to create the Agile in Education Community Group and this web site.

I was therefore immensely saddened to hear of Sir Ken’s death last weekend, on the 21st August.

Sir Ken fought throughout his career “…to transform the culture of education and organisations with a richer concept of human creativity and intelligence”. He was a respected advisor on educational reform in the UK, including a period in the 1980s as Director of the Arts in Schools Project. He later went on to have similar influence in the USA and other parts of the world.

He believed that we are facing significant challenges as a result of globalisation and the pace of technical advance threatening our cultural identities – creating a world in which we cannot predict what life will be like in a years time let alone when the current generation of school children leave education. How can we prepare them for this uncertain future?

“We can reinvent school. We can revitalise learning and we can re-ignite the creative compassion of our communities if we think differently when we try to go back to normal.”

…real social change comes from the ground up through people cultivating the grass roots. It’s a mistake to believe that we just need to wait ‘til some enlightened politician comes along and shows us the way.

“My thoughts to the Call to Unite”, Sir Ken Robinson, May 7th 2020

He argued that the majority of the education systems around the world have their roots in the industrial revolution and are focused on a narrow sense of intelligence which stifles creativity. He believed that this is preventing us from being innovative – a critical skill for the modern world. He suggested that we build education systems based on diversity and individualisation – valuing and nurturing traits of curiosity and creativity within our young people.

“The real power is with the people and connecting people…is the key to this – getting people to share ideas, to collaborate, to work together to see future possibilities and to bring them about through joint projects and through the joint support that comes from compassionate collaboration.”

“My thoughts to the Call to Unite”, Sir Ken Robinson, May 7th 2020

As a master of communication it is no surprise that his web site at is simple, efficient and eloquently presented. If you’re interested at all in the subject of progressive educational reform or just want a better world for the young people of today – and for all of us, then I urge you to spend some time there absorbing his wisdom.

I am sure his legacy will live on and if enough people listen to his message, then one day…

Sir Ken Robinson – 2006 Ted Talk: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Agile In Education Meet-up Group

Agile in Education: M002 Review

We held our second Agile in Education Community meet-up session on Monday 17th August. The meeting gave everyone an opportunity to discuss potential activities of the group in more detail.

After a brief recap of the first meeting we divided into breakout rooms to discuss a choice of topics as follows:

Room 1:

“We’d love to see more teachers join us. How do we reach out to them while being sensitive to the pressure many are under and while respecting their expertise?”

  • consider a ‘personality’ or figurehead to front a campaign (Willy Wijnands, for example)
  • assemble a collection of resources
  • include the full range of agile, progressive thinking rather than focusing on a single approach
  • approach schools and head teachers (as well as individual teachers)
  • consider connecting with existing elements such as careers & skills based learning
  • what are teachers already doing that is agile?

Room 2:

“Let’s organise a festival to celebrate agile and progressive thinking in education around the world!”

  • aim to increase awareness of possibilities
  • collaborate with other institutions e.g. partner with universities to host events
  • global focus
  • involve children/students
  • interactive; workshops
  • a festival/celebration ‘vibe’ is preferable to a conference
  • involve businesses – combine with careers (for older students)
  • consider appropriate language – familiar/meaningful terms rather than those from business
  • e.g. critical thinking and problem solving are already concepts that exist in curriculum
  • there is a set of soft skills and a set of values – a mindset – that underpin agile; this is tricky to sell compared with a tick-box approach
  • involve governors and parents
  • consider an ‘un-conference’ or ‘party’ approach
  • look at other festivals and how they have been arranged
  • link with other events such as Brett
  • how to market?
  • the term ‘agile’ may put people off

Room 3:

“I am new to Agile – I’m here to explore the basics.”

A huge thanks to David Michel for assisting with the logistics of the evening and for volunteering to lead the discussion in room 3.

A recording of the session can be found on the Agile in Education YouTube Channel:

Thank you to everyone who attended – it’s great to have such a wide variety of backgrounds represented.

At time of writing, it is intended that the September meeting will offer an opportunity to hear from teachers who have been using progressive approaches in their classrooms. If you are interested in speaking at the event, please get in touch.