Pedagogy and Wellbeing: A Political Issue?

“If we genuinely put people’s happiness and well-being at the heart of policy-making I think we’d come up with some very different policy solutions.”

“My seventeen year old daughter’s year group at school is the most examined in the history of the education system.”

“If you come at the education system from the point of view of the happiness of the children, as well as the exams they’re going to pass, you might actually devise a different curriculum, and you might devise a different testing system, and that might actually benefit the children.”

Only might? And does this mean that the current testing system might be improved, or that the testing system [assessment system, tracking system, call it what you will] might in itself be radically altered for the overall benefit of the children? Or both?

All quotes from Alastair Campbell, speaking on Saturday Live (Radio 4) at the weekend.

Mr Campbell’s views sound fairly tentative, which is quite refreshing in someone who’s used to being at the heart of politics, with a reputation for iron-clad views on most subjects, as indeed do most politicians. Especially on education. It’s quite clear, though, that the new, gentler Alastair Campbell is in no doubt that politicians need to think again if they really care about the happiness and well-being of children.

Mr Campbell’s new ebook is called “The Happy Depressive: In Pursuit of Personal and Political Happiness.”

3Di recommend reading it alongside the recently-published “Politics and the Primary Teacher” by Dr Peter Cunningham, whose comprehensive study of the political dimension of the history of education includes “Pedagogy: a political issue?” (Chapter 5) and “Curriculum: the politics of citizenship, health and well-being” (Chapter 4).

About 3D Eye

Gary Foskett and Clare Blackhall are educationalists, writers and consultants. We work with schools and other organisations who share our vision of how schools, businesses, etc should work in the 21st Century. We also run courses and contribute to conferences - speaking about our three dimensional model of intelligences and how schools, colleges and universities can develop the full potential of all their staff and students. We also offer consultancy for businesses and public sector organisations to support staff training and organisational change and development. For more detailed information read our blog at or see our website at
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