Thursday February 15, 2018
The Working Class is a collaborative book from The Independent Thinking Press with nearly 50 contributors from many aspects of the educational world, all brought together by Ian Gilbert.
In the words of one reviewer it is '... a rush of sheer, unadulterated, no-holds-barred passion, it reminds us that we are human and that class is a living, willing, desiring disharmony of divergent as well as collective forces that will not be stilled.'
Part of our motivation for putting the book together was to challenge so much of the prevailing narrative about 'the feckless poor' and their supposed lack of ambition, aspiration or achievement to which 'social mobility' is the only antidote and test results the only route to achieving that.
It is, as we are at pains to point out throughout the book, more complicated than that*.
Here are, as an appetiser for the book, due out in March, ten of the truths we highlight, truths we feel need to be spoken:
- It is not and never has been a level playing field.
- Poverty is a neurological issue too.
- Inclusion is as much about adapting the school to the child as it is about adapting the child to the school.
- The purpose of education is not to make everyone middle class.
- Never trust the results of a school that excludes more than it includes.
- Resilience in the face of adversity is important, but so is changing the causes of adversity.
- My culture may not be your culture, but it is still a culture.
- ‘No excuses’ for all means ‘No chance’ for some.
- It is always more complicated than anyone says it is.
- There is always another way.
What are your truths when it come to supporting the most vulnerable in your community and our society?
"We need to be more creative, more courageous, broader in our understanding of the issues, more intelligent in how we observe its many complexities, grander in our ambitions, and a great deal more empathetic to the young people and their families who are directly involved in our failure to address their ‘failings’".
Ian Gilbert in The Working Class from the Independent Thinking Press, published March 2018
*As an example, while the BBC in general and Newsnight's Evan Davis in particular, try to make it all about rescuing bright kids from their poor backgrounds, watch from 23 minutes in as Assistant Headteacher Jonathan Spears and Cambridge historian Professor Selina Todd try and open the debate to a much bigger picture of social equity and the need for wider change.