From Downing Street to Free School

This was the title of the sixth annual lecture of the National Education Trust, which was held in the main hall of the Inner Temple this evening. If you’re a follower of this blog then you’ll probably have realised by now that the speaker was Peter Hyman, headteacher of School 21, a free school which will open in Stratford, East London, later this year.

To his great credit Peter is doing a terrific job of advertising the setting up of his school -through events such as this one and through his writing – for instance, his recent article in the TES.

Many people decide to go into politics after spending some years in education; with Peter Hyman it’s been the other way round. He dropped out of politics after spending 9 years as a ‘political strategist and speechwriter’, in order to enter the challenging world of schools and teaching, via some time working as a teaching assistant.

As you might expect the NET lecture covered the key ideas already outlined in Peter’s article in this week’s TES – broadly speaking, the philosophy of the new school and the reasons why we need to re-think how we educate pupils in the 21st Century.

He also said we need a new model of teacher training for the 21st Century, a new type of learning, and a new type of teacher – which 3Di agrees with 100%.

“We need to open up teacher training to innovative teacher trainers, with new ideas about pedagogy.”

“We need new and better methods of assessment.”

“We need to reward effort, and not absolute achievement.”

“Success in anything is arrived at through effort and teamwork – and through assembling the right team to do the work. It also depends on resilience, passion, problem-solving ability and ingenuity.”

“The daily grind and effectiveness in doing the small things are more important than big, eye-catching initiatives driven by central government.”

3Di says amen to that. Peter Hyman is clearly a man on a mission – to change education in this country by demonstrating that learning can be personalised, exciting, rewarding, active, involving, creative, fulfilling and a lifelong passion. He deserves to be successful in this endeavor, and he almost certainly has the confidence, the belief and the energy to carry through with his project.

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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