The School I'd Like: Revisited

Children and young people's reflections on an education for the future

by Catherine Burke , Ian Grosvenor

Number of pages: 202

Publisher: Routledge

BBB Library: Education

ISBN: 978-0415704878

About the Authors

Catherine Burke : She is Reader in History of Education and Childhood at the


Ian Grosvenor : He is Professor of Urban Educational History at the University of


Editorial Review

In 2001, The Guardian newspaper launched a competition called “The School I’d Like”. The initiative posed what seemed like a natural and appropriate question at the turn of the new century inviting children of school age to tell how they might change education and their experience of schooling for the better.  From all of the ideas received, The Guardian with the help of ten children compiled a “Children’s Manifesto” to capture the essential ingredients of the perfect school in the hope that existing schools would listen to the voices of children and put their ideas into practice.   

Book Reviews

"The book is wonderfully illustrated by children's essays, stories, poems, pictures and plans. Placing their views in the centre of the debate, it provides an evaluation of the democratic processes involved in teaching and learning” — Routledge

"The book makes for excellent reading and the perception of the children will amaze, astonish and sometimes sadden you. It's a powerful book and all those concerned with education, whether policy-makers or classroom teachers, should read and note the vital messages it conveys.” — Parents in Touch

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Wisdom to Share

Children see teachers as important and the majority can’t see them replaced by machines.

Social historians of the industrialized world have documented the powerful effect of the compulsory schooling on the institutionalization of childhood.

School became a designated site of childhood, a space organized and controlled by adults to aid an ordered transition from childhood to adulthood.

Differences make the world go round. At the moment schools do the opposite, trying to make everybody normal.

We should be able to wear what we want to show off what we believe in.

If a student is being bullied or is worried about something they’d have a counselor on hand all the time, who would have experienced what the child was going through.

The most important thing in learning is fun.

Children demanded that the timetables give “more time for the subject of your choice.” This means that students can work better in lessons because they want to learn the subject.

Children resent the idea of “one size fits all”. Norms of performance are condemned as damaging to self-esteem and, thereby, individual identity.

Children and teachers would think of each other as equals. Children are taught not to bully or criticize those who are different from themselves.