Seminar: Children, their World, their Education



Report on Seminar: Children, their World, their Education


Friuday 21st November 2014

Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham


Children and young people are growing up into an uncertain, unequal and interdependent world, where questions about sustainability, security and justice play a large role. This seminar for teachers and other educators shared recent developments concerning schools, sustainability and global learning on the national and international stage, and invited participants to discuss the possibilities and challenges for our school system.


Keynote speaker: Professor Robin Alexander

Robin Alexander is Chair of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust, past President of the British Association for International and Comparative Education and one of the UK’s most prominent educationalists. Sustainability and global citizenship are among the Trust’s priorities.

A PDF of Robin’s slides can be downloaded at the foot of this page.

Research project: Cathryn Gathercole

Cathryn Gathercole is the Director of Tide~ global learning. She described her work on a European project to develop indicators against the proposed new Sustainable Development Goal for education for sustainability and global citizenship.

To see the DEEEP report on indicators, click here


Seminar discussions raised questions about:


  • The aims and purposes of education (what do we make of the new Sustainable Development Goals for education?  Are they sufficient?)


  • Curriculum – the national, local and ‘hidden’ curricula; the role of teachers as curriculum makers


  • Pedagogy – that values learners’ agency, makes connections and responds to the complexity of the issues


  • Systems and structures – and their fitness to aims


  • Monitoring, evaluating and assessment – for learning, teaching and accountability


  • Agency (teachers’, learners’, citizens’) and the capacity for change


Further material


Ben Ballin has written a personal article on the seminar for Primary First magazine, incorporating key points from participants. This was published in July 2015: see A downloadbale version is also available below.


A personal response from John Rhymer, former Director of the Bishops Wood Centre can be downloaded at the foot of this page


For Ann Finlayson and SEEd’s blog, click here


For Professor Bill Scott’s blog, click here


For the Cambridge Primary Review Trust blog, click here

For a copy of Ben's blog piece for the Trust in November 2015, one year on, see

A personal response from Tide~ trustee Jeff Serf to an earlier presentation to Tide~ by Robin Alexander can be downloaded at the foot of this page.


This seminar was hosted by Birmingham City Council’s Sustainability and Climate Change team, in partnership with the Cambridge Primary Review Trust and Tide~ global learning.