The Vision 2040 group was formed in 2013 at the start of SSAT’s Redesigning Schooling campaign, the brainchild of SSATs chief executive, Sue Williamson .

The volunteers, a group of school teachers and leaders, came from a broad range of schools nationally.(see note below)

Vision 2040 said it produced the document out of frustration at the “short-termism” of policy cycles, and said this had a damaging impact on schools.

The initial remit defined by the group was to inform the Redesigning Schooling agenda through school-based action research projects within and across their schools. It was quickly realised, however, that a bigger issue was at stake – the system-wide barriers to a profession-led vision needed tackling head on. And so, in the summer of 2014, the group redefined their remit and the idea for this pamphlet was born. The work was initially led by Tom Sherrington, before Stephen Tierney took  up the reins.

The purpose , the group says, is not to predict the future but to engage readers in: thinking about the journey ahead,  ‘taking the best of what we do forward, while abandoning those things which hold us back; discussing and debating key ideas; and influencing the next generation of education policies. In time, we believe these policies can be generated by a self-improving school led system, rather than being done to us by politicians.’

Most fundamentally, the group of Heads and Deputies   want ‘ to develop a national conversation to determine the core principles that a future education system should be built on and that would govern future policy development and implementation and to agree the outcomes expected of the education system, with associated valid and reliable metrics which all schools aspire to and can attain.’

The Vision 2040 group set about the task of envisaging what they hoped education would look like in 2040, and worked back from that point.  So, the pamphlet has been written as an historical narrative looking back from 2040 at the changing decades of educational reform between 2010 and 2040. The story follows 25 years in the professional life of a newly qualified teacher in 2015, tracking the key events and milestones that, by 2040, have revolutionised the education system as we know it now.

It’s a system, as envisaged, that sees the establishment of a Royal Commission on Education that oversees a decade of reconstruction from 2020 .Core values that drive  the education system are equity, quality and agency. The Royal College of Teaching is firmly embedded championing ‘authentic professionalism’ and there are regional Royal College of Teaching research universities by 2020. A moratorium is imposed on all changes and inspections for a time.  It sees  the end of Ofsted, as we know it, and the system  by the 2030s  is heading towards maturity ,  characterised by  ‘Collective moral purpose, high professional capital and self and peer evaluation and challenge have begun to take root across the ‘education system’.’

There are barbs in here too ,about the  on-going  education reforms, for serving politicians to mull over:

‘Changes in qualifications, their assessment, accountability measures, and the disastrous Ofqual interventions with grade boundaries at the beginning of the decade rendered league tables nonsensical and shattered any sense of validity or reliability. In the later part of the decade, education was damaged by the ill-thought through curriculum changes. These changes came quick and fast, and though they had laudable elements, they proved incoherent.’

‘And many of the early reforms ‘caused consternation for many, a lack of equity for children and an absence of agency for teachers, support staff and governors’

.It lists 10 “starter points”, which include reconsidering “all current curriculum, assessment and wider policy changes to determine which should be abandoned, which could be delayed and which should continue to be addressed”.

It also suggests creating “geographical families of schools” over the next decade with a simple governance structure.

It is though , above all, an optimistic vision, with collaboration  and peer to peer support at its heart. And no school is an island. The sunny uplands can be seen in the far distance. So, in 2040:

‘The quality of teaching and learning has never been better due to the regional Royal College of Teaching universities whose Masters’ programmes for initial and continuous teacher education have been replicated around the world. The outcome is universal high-equity outcomes and a society that is fairer and more at peace with itself than it has ever been.’

The document works well , and should be read in conjunction with  SSATs  ‘Building on consensus’ pamphlet, which has a shorter term view  and  identifies  ten areas of consensus in education that will remain on the agenda, post May, regardless of the party or coalition in power,  and provides some  constructive  policy recommendations under each theme.



The Vision 2040 group was formed in 2013 and compromises of: Stephen Tierney (Chair), Executive Headteacher of the Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy Trust; Keven Bartle, Headteacher of Canons High School; Michael Bettles, Deputy Headteacher of Heathfield Community School; Annie Eagle, Deputy Headteacher of The Romsey School; Sapuran Gill, Deputy Headteacher of The Heathland School; Rachel Hudson, Deputy Headteacher of Neston High School; Nigel Matthias, Deputy Headteacher of Bay House School and Sixth Form; Alex Quigley, Director of Learning and Research of Huntington School; Rosanna Raimato,


The paper can downloaded at


Building on consensus-SSAT policy Recommendations 2015






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