In Your Network: John Bayley
John has an established career in education, including launching a pupil referral unit in Peckham. He has most recently turned his interest to Academies.
1) Please give a brief explanation of what it is you do and why?
In the nineties I had the privilege of establishing a Pupil Referral Unit on the North Peckham estate for students who were not attending school. It was partly this experience that inspired me to write, along with Lynda Haddock, “I Shan’t say This Again: training teachers in behaviour management. Senjit, University of London. Subsequently I was lucky enough to be invited to make a series of programmes for Teachers TV entitled “Teaching with Bayley”. That opened the door to my current work as a freelance consultant in schools working with teachers and managers on teaching and learning technique and on building inclusive communities. I have helped develop the idea of school students and staff training and planning together.
2) What did you join the Fellowship for?
To be part of a group of people sharing progressive thinking about public services.
3) In what capacity do you think you could contribute to society/the Fellowship?
At the moment I am interested in the development of the school system in the wake of the academies programme. The UK is now arguably the only school system in the West with no concerted national strategy for school improvement.
4) What would you change in society given the chance?
The monochrome character of public debate. I think this is partly engendered by an electoral system that focuses on the concerns of a minuscule part of the electorate. This of course cannot be the whole answer as the entire Western world seems to be dominated by a neo-liberal consensus.
5) What recent bit of news have you heard which inspires you?
I heard, rather late in the day, about the work of Dr. Sugata Mitra. He is the man famous for pioneering the hole in the wall computers in India. He has also developed the Granny Cloud which allows retired teachers in the UK to teach children in remote locations in India. Find out more.
6) What did you learn last week?
In another part of my life I work as a musician. I have not been getting as much work as I used to. After a bit of investigation I discovered that the recession has changed the way individuals and companies and realised that I will have to completely change what I play and how I present it. So I re-learned for about the hundredth time that the first step when facing a set-back is to re-examine what you do!
7) Tell us about another interesting Fellow you have spoken to.
Barry Shaw an urban architect, told me about urban planning in Cambridge. He described it as one of the fastest growing urban conurbations in Europe. It has been an important area from Britain and Europe since medieval times. When I asked him how you turn a medieval city into a modern conurbation he said part of the answer is to build in from the outside in order to retain the quality and features of the original city.
8) What would you like to connect with Fellows about? Please tell us if there is anything you would like from other Fellows.
I have recently seen a Rhonda Evans film about the academies programme. It raises most of the concerns that currently occupy me. I would like to arrange a showing of the film followed by a discussion. Two years out from the next election is just the right time to launch a serious debate on how to develop a modern and effective education system. If other fellows are interested please let me know and we can make it happen. Just send me an email.
You can contact John by: