I was tremendously lucky to be a part of the team which made the Forum for the Future of Education a sensational reality.
The Forum was an online event, which served as a platform for people from all backgrounds and walks of life, to come together, and discuss both the current state and the future of our education system, here in the UK.
Under the inspiring guidance of Victoria Bagnall, viewers took part in a combination of discussion, speeches, poetry, and were even granted an exclusive preview of J Grange’s up-and-coming single, “We Will Rise”.
We began with presentations from a range of guest speakers, who carried out compelling segments, which broke down the issues with our school system, and the problems which are facing this present moment in education.
The Forum granted us a look at the bleak reality of an education system which only meets the needs of a small portion of young people, and places immeasurable strain upon the backs of hard-working educators.
Nia Modley performed a harrowing piece, granting us all an unflinching look at the distressing reality of eating disorders, and depression, which had a poignant impact on countless of the participants at the forum.
So much of the emotion and sentiment which Nia expressed was intensely reliable to modern students, and those of us who have endured the failings of the current education system.
Mental health conditions, self-harm, and suicidal tendencies are horrifically prevalent throughout young people, and Nia’s poem shone a light on just how easy it is for students to slip through the cracks, and become embroiled in destructive habits, when schools don’t offer even the basic support that they should.
This deep-rooted misunderstanding of mental health conditions, learning disabilities, and neurodivergent behaviour, has a wide-spread, devastating impact.
Such themes of neglect and misjudgement were then explored in the work of J Grange; an immensely resilient rapper, who managed to overcome the stigma and discrimination which came with being someone with ADHD, who spent his whole childhood undiagnosed. J persevered in the face of antipathy and callous indifference, and the message of endurance which he conveyed in “We Will Rise” stirred the hearts of those of us lucky enough to hear his exclusive preview.
Whilst the Forum pressed on, we were all treated to a beautiful menagerie of thoughts and feelings, as we watched a dazzling video, where grassroots stakeholders shared three words to describe the current education system, and three words to describe its future.
Our screens were filled with a heartfelt display of unity, calling for change, and tangible progress, assembled from the voices of so many different activists, who were all crying out for reform.
What began as a bitter condemnation of a broken education system, shifted into the galvanized demands for schools to adapt, and serve the needs of those that they were failing.
There was an almost indescribable crackling of electricity in the air, and it gradually dawned on me that I was witnessing the birth of something legitimately historic.
As the video rolled on, I found myself surrounded by like-minded people, who were as motivated to build a better world as I was. I could feel the sublime swell of pride in my chest, whilst I listened to the pleas of a myriad of hopeful voices, fueled by a genuine belief in positive change.
Once guest speakers had addressed the attendees, and articulated the importance of what was transpiring, viewers split into groups, and set about sharing their thoughts and views on the education system.
Resourceful minds, from varying backgrounds, came together to talk through many of the pressing issues facing both educatees and educators, under the oppressive restrictions of the powers that be, and the antiquated dogma of an ancient education system.
By the time discussions had come to an end, the whole forum was buzzing, and spectators gazed towards the future with hopeful eyes.
As the event wound down, feelings of disappointment and frustration had steadily morphed into a wave of bubbling excitement. The consensus had shifted, and the future was starting to look bright.
There was a single unified sentiment rippling through the air; change – IS – possible, and this is our chance to be heard.
By Melody Hill-Fisher, Connections in Mind