Good morning, David Elliott. Another of the series of videos. This time I’d like to talk about not seeing the glaringly obvious. This can apply within businesses, but also in other situations, and in fact the other situations gives a very, very good example of how people appear to be missing a trick. Unfortunately education in this country, in the public arena that is, those schools where people are not actually paying for the privilege, has a number of problems, and I think that part of this problem has been very obvious for a long time and people have not seen the implications. Why have they not seen the implications? Because they’ve not looked at things in a holistic fashion. This can also apply in businesses where problems are assessed by the accountant from a financial point of view, the marketing people from a marketing point of view, et cetera, et cetera, in silence, and nobody really puts it all together. So let’s go back really quickly to this example from, in fact, education. If you look at performance up to the age of eleven in the so-called SATs exams pupils generally do reasonably okay, certainly on an international comparison basis.
If, however, you look at the figures or the results at fourteen you see a real deterioration in performance. So there is a problem. How has this been resolved or how have people tried to resolve this? Basically they’ve tried to improve performance at secondary school level, but sadly the results have not been very impressive.
How would somebody else view this situation that is a non-educationalist or somebody who’s not politically involved? What perhaps needs to be done is to analyse what happens between the age of eleven and fourteen, and I think the evidence is very, very clear that schools up to the age of eleven are very cosy, neighbourhood environments. The schools often cater for kids who can walk to school or at least can be walked to school. The atmosphere is friendly, the children feel comfortable.
What then happens after eleven is that they are obliged to go to these monstrously oversized schools where suddenly they’re obliged to run around every day with a full day’s books in their bag, or whatever, and there is a huge throng of people, and these poor eleven year old kids are expected to immediately get used to it and then to thrive, dealing with people who may come from totally different environments. My suspicion is that the schools are too big, that the deterioration in performance is simply the result or children being unable to adapt to their new environment. The answer would be to have smaller schools and not waste as much money as the government has been doing on academies and such-like which don’t solve the problem. So then the glaringly obvious has been missed. Nobody has looked at it in a holistic fashion. If we move more to the business arena, often why things are going wrong are in the numbers, they’re in the statistics, they’re in the things that are on everybody’s computer, but nobody’s looking at it in a holistic fashion, nobody’s really assessing what is available information.
So how can this be avoided? First of all, I think that there should always be somebody looking at things who is away from the mainstream, who is away from the day-to-day fighting fires, looking at things from an immediacy point of view. Have somebody come in and look from a helicopter perspective, take an overview and review the situation, look under the proverbial bedclothes for the problem, because people get too committed to the status quo and they’re unable to see the wood from the trees. I think that this example is interesting and I hope that I’ll be able to talk to some of you on a one-to-one basis on how this might impact on your business.
Thank you very much.