People develop the skills they need to lead happy and successful lives in a rapidly changing world.
The future is likely to mean humans must focus on creativity and collaboration skills – skills sadly lacking in both our school system and too often in our businesses.
We need to respond to the opportunities and challenges that the changes in the way we work brings. The right response is to create a society where everyone has access to the kind of experiences that build their skills. There is already a body of evidence, led by Nobel Laureate Economist James Heckman that shows that non-cognitive skills such as conscientiousness, perseverance, sociability, and curiosity matter. These skills are not well captured by measures of cognition. In the paper Hard Evidence on Soft Skills, Heckman and and Kautz argue that soft skills predict success in life and that programs which enhance soft skills have an important place in an effective portfolio of public policies. As such we believe that education and on-going professional development needs to change profoundly to focus more on non-cognitive skills.
We no longer live in a factory age. Yet our schools have changed comparatively little. The online age has yet to reach schools and the teaching, measurement and improvement of soft or social skills is given little attention. Ninety percent of the working population in the UK are employed in the service sector. Here technical and social skills are critical.
We believe that skilled people live happier and more successful lives and create better and more equal societies.
Dr Chris Gerry has been both headteacher and executive headteacher of six secondary schools over the past 18 years. He has a reputation both in the UK and overseas for piloting innovative solutions to school design, the use of technology and personalisation. His radical approaches have been grounded in agile financial models and the application of business approaches to public sector institutions. Chris has developed the concept of large space or ‘plaza’ teaching in the UK and has overseen the building of three new schools based on this model.
His interest in psychology and its use in schools has fostered links with Yale University Psychology department whilst his ideas on the use of technology in education have led him to work for Microsoft on their global innovative schools program.
His interests are in developing schools that exemplify practice that are suitable for our world today.
Pedram Parasmand has worked in the area of personal and professional development for over 8 years. He helps individuals and teams bring about a greater sense of fulfilment, purpose and balance to their lives and endeavours by amplifying their strengths and skills. He does this by designing learning experiences that incorporate Leadership Development and Relationship Systems Coaching.
He is a CTI trained Co-Active Leadership Coach and workshop leader, and a CRR trained Organisation and Relationship Systems Coach with CRR. He draws on ideas from places such as neuroscience, positive psychology, mindfulness, Theory U and design thinking to create unique and engaging workshops and programmes.
Previously, he was a founding lecturer at Ada, The National College for Digital Skills where he ran Leadership and Resilience programmes. He also worked at Teach First where he designed and trained others to deliver Leadership Development experiences, workshops and programmes, as well as working as a Programme Director for various pilot programmes.
His previous non-executive roles include: Co-founding and serving six years as trustee of Spark+Mettle, an international youth development charity; and serving two terms as Governor at Spa Special School.
Pedram started his professional career as a teacher working as Head of Physics and Duke of Edinburgh awards leader for five years in South London. He holds a Masters degree in Theoretical Physics from Imperial College London.