This chapter challenges the common ‘givens’ of education, and presents a case for a re-think on what it means to be educated, and how best to do that. Acknowledging that there are already many examples of good practice on which to build, we consider what students need to learn to have broad competencies in a rapidly changing world, teaching approaches that maintain optimal motivation and engagement, and the impact of the learning environment on all stakeholders, including students who challenge. The chapter emphasises the importance of positive practices and wellbeing at the heart of education, to ensure that every student sees themselves as valued, making progress, and having a sense of belonging. This includes strengths-based approaches. It argues for less’ teaching to test’ and more personalised and collaborative learning. During COVID-19 the multiple skills of teachers were given a new respect as families tried to support learning at home. Although the role of the teacher is likely to change over time, they remain vital facilitators of learning.

Sue Roffey (2019) School as Family: Education aligned with healthy child development. TEDxNorwichEd.

Adrian Bethune (2020) Can school make you happier?

Rita Pierson (2013) Every kid needs a champion. TED.

Ken Robinson (2010) Changing Education Paradigms. RSA. [<=The link here is to the full 55min talk: below is a neat 12min animated summary]

Rob Houben from Agora school in Roermond, Netherlands, explains why you should forget about teaching and start with what you really know about learning (2019) Read more here.

Hector Escamilla (2019) The Two Most Important Skills for Students. Greater Good Science Center

The Aboriginal Girl’s Circle

Sue Roffey (2020) Relationships in Education & Inclusive Schools. The Sizzle podcast

Psych Crunch – the podcast from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest: particularly Ep 24: How Children Learn Through Play



  • The OECD Learning Compass 2030 is an evolving learning framework that sets out an aspirational vision for the future of education. It provides points of orientation towards the future we want: individual and collective well-being. The metaphor of a learning compass was adopted to emphasise the need for students to learn to navigate by themselves through unfamiliar contexts.
  • Edutopia – Dedicated to transforming K-12 education so that all students can acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in their studies, careers, and adult lives.
  • International Positive Education Network (IPEN)
  • Growing Great Schools Worldwide

The Times Education Commission Final Report (2022) Bringing out the Best: How to transform education and unleash the potential of every child – although concentrating only on the UK education system, this landmark report is a widely applicable analysis of good and bad education, why the UK (particularly England) has an education system that is not fit for purpose for the 21st century, and how that could be changed.


Relationships, resilience & behaviour
Social & emotional learning
Whole school wellbeing
School environment
Pedagogy (teaching and learning)

Jacques Delors & 15 others [see below] (1996) Learning: The Treasure Within. UNESCO.

Why and how is education important for wellbeing?

What do we need to learn?

  • UNESCO International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century – Jacques Delors, In’am Al Mufti, Isao Amagi, Roberto Carneiro, Fay Chung, Bronislaw Geremek, William Gorham, Aleksandra Kornhauser, Michael Manley, Marisela Padrón Quero, Marie Angélique Savane, Karan Singh, Roberto Stavenhagen, Myong Won Suhr & Zhou Nanzhao  (1996) Learning: The Treasure Within. UNESCO.
  • OECD (2020)

The fundamental elements of education

The formal curriculum
Pedagogy & teaching approaches
The learning environment

An alternative education to build a thriving future

What students need to learn

How students might learn
An optimal environment in which to learn

Hope and optimism