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Recently we were told about a secret project. A group of wealthy benefactors decided that the modern targets based education wasn’t for them or their kids. They decided to open a new school. It was to have a holistic approach to education geared toward student centric learning not toward Ofsted high jumps central bureaucracy, teacher’s egos or other mindless measurements. The consortium bought land and quicklybuilt the school. They hired best and teachers and provided the finest meals and accommodation. As the first day of approached and the curriculum had been set the builders were putting the finishing touches to the campus.

The last phase of building work was to lay the paths between the different buildings and faculties. A dispute arose. A dispute big enough to involve the architects, builders, governors, teachers, maintenance staff and the matron. No-one could agree on the most efficient path configuration between the buildings. An arrangement that needed to best serve the students, the teachers and the school. The wrangling deepened until everyone was caught in a frozen conflict.

At that moment the school gardener said, “why do you have to lay paths – why not just use signposts?” The assembled crowd wrote him off as naïve – backward even. The headmaster asked him to continue. The gardener said “well – when they arrive and begin learning – if you give the students the correct signposts the most effective route for the paths will emerge”. The teachers questioned him about whether the students could be trusted to do this. The gardener responded, “I thought we were here to establish a new approach to learning.”

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