Bringing about a new order of things, whether in education or the wider world, is not an exact science, especially when people are very confused as to their expectations. The Vice Chancellor in the 1940s, the Prime Minister in the 1970s, and the former Chief Inspector two years ago might well have pondered the advice of Machiavelli to his prince (1527) when he wrote that
there was “nothing more difficult to take in hand, nor perilous to conduct, nor more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in an introduction of a new order of things”.
The reason, argued Machiavelli, was that the innovator had for enemies all those who had done well out of the old system, while his friends would sit watching from the sidelines until they saw which way the wind might blow.
They still do.
Can things ever change?
The transformation of society 500 years ago here in England, popularly called the Reformation, could well provide a model for what is starting to happen in our own day to education. It might just shape what could happen next. It is worth considering carefully.
Towards Finding a New Order in Education – John Abbott