Purple Learning Educational Manifesto – Dr Naoisé O’Reilly 

18th August 2020

This pandemic is a chance to press reset on all levels of education and learning. To reinstate the values of education. To address the reality of the deep insecurities of recent generations. The challenges and lack of opportunities they feel. The reality of the sheer disconnect felt by many. The lack of social inclusion and social interaction skills. We can’t continue to factory farm education without consequences at all levels of society. Socially, economically but most importantly emotionally. 

Below I list my wishes and issues which need to be addressed at every learning and educational stage. I am unusual in that I work with all stage of development from 2 years upwards. I include a change to key stage ages to reflect the core development growth, especially that of our personalities which are not currently fostered in education.

Kindergarten/Montessori/Child Care – up to 7 years of age

  • Small learning hubs with a maximum of 6. 
  • No assessments. No comparisons. Self-paced development. 
  • It’s not necessary to have a focus on literacy, numeracy or learning aims. 
  • Play is essential.
  • Music
  • Art
  • Meditation
  • Self-direction
  • A focus on outdoor activities, Nature, Creativity, Play, Invention.
  • Movement, Flexibility, Dance – Comfort within our own bodies.
  • Peer to peer engagement, How to make friends, Defining respect, Treat each other with respect, Treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves.
  • Emphasis on learning difference and promoting it.
  • Understanding and releasing our emotions constructively. 
  • Most importantly personality development, encouragement and promotion.

Primary/Elementary – above 7 years

  • ★Re-evaluation of a number of learning hours needed for students, not the industrial revolution model to match employment. 
  • ★Literacy and Numeracy are introduced.
  • ★No comparison
  • ★No achievement scales
  • ★A focus on reflective skills
  • ★A focus on personal achievement and talents/aptitudes
  • ★High awareness during social interactions of no bullying – A group therapy style involving all class approach to bully incidents. No single victim approach.
  • ★Big emphasis on accepting difference, anti-racism or gender-role assumptions, promotion of equality and balance through example.
  • ★Awareness of social media use and its implications long term to your life profile. This may even mean you requesting your parents not to share images of you! 

From 10 years

  • ★A focus on having more than one teacher, especially in specialised subjects such as Art, Music, Dance, Languages, Creativity.
  • ★An introduction to bigger concepts such as social structure, political and democrat structures, environment suitability, community work. These are broad concepts as we only begin to see ourselves as different in relation to others at this key stage. 

Junior/Year 7/Middle school – aged 11 (on the cusp of puberty)

Students outgrow Primary education a year early and this leads too many of our current society challenges and anti-social behaviours. They need to be refocused earlier with a border outlook. This is also the stage when bullying is based on a sexual, gender, religious and racist nature.  

  • ★No exams
  • ★Focus on life skills
  • ★Focus on group facilitation rather than teaching
  • ★Show rather than tell methods
  • ★Introduction to topics in short lessons less than 20 minutes in duration 
  • ★Time allocated in school to academic studies reduced to promote:
  • Project work – including collaborations using online resources to other communities/countries/schools
  • Community work
  • Conservation work
  • Entrepreneurial studies
  • Practical skills (carpentry, pottery, mechanics, electrical, anything you want to place here)
  • Political/campaign studies

Towards aged 15 complete career analysis 

  • ★Option routes – including leaving for practical career, entrepreneurial one or creative speciality.
  • ★Equal weighting to academic and all of these career avenues
  • ★Option to always return to upskill if wanted. 
  • ★Massive empathise during this stage on Sexual health, sexuality, feminism, political rights, voting, gender studies, social studies, anti-racism studies, religious differences, other social concerns including social media impacts.
  • ★Merit scheme for extracurricular activities and external modules to promote passions and interests – will be needed for university applications. 

Secondary school/High school – ages 16 to 18

  • ★Merit scheme of equal equivalence for all elements. academic study does not take priority.
  • ★Diversity promoted
  • ★Study cohort – pick specialist subjects with options for additional small taster modules.
  • ★exam preparation – this is the first stage within all of education levels to date with an exam. 
  • ★Career preparation: Outside teachers from business, arts, university level to help teach life modules. 
  • Presentation
  • IT skills
  • Writing for different purposes
  • Research skills
  • Evaluation
  • Reflection
  • Statistics
  • Data analysis 
  • Marketing
  • Presentation – including arts presentation and direction, group facilitation studies 
  • Negotiation
  • Debating/expression

University Level

  • ★Total reform of the undergraduate application process – A wide process involving aptitudes, merits throughout whole education cycle to date, passion for area and statement of intent for studies. 
  • ★Big emphasis on supporting and promoting first generation to university level. 
  • ★Complete accountability for progression rates and continued career rates – funding based on these outcomes.
  • ★Separate research focus to teaching within the university which allows students to pick modules in studies:
  • practical/design/innovation models
  • Industrial application module
  • Pure research module
  • ★Additional modules cover:
  • Research theory formation/creativity in research
  • Introduction to Philosophy and how research areas overlap
  • Grant applications – options, how to apply, a successful grant application is? 
  • Collaborative projects – especially international. 
  • Continuing to research, Masters and Doctoral studies.
  • Career applications including teaching, practical laboratory careers, data analysis careers, innovation, entrepreneurial, industrial or creative.
  • ★Time allocation for extracurricular activities and interests – encouragement of political, teaching, community-based programmes.