This book provides an answer to one of the key questions of our time: namely, what constitutes a good education. Presenting a ‘four-dimensional’ model, it directly considers the essential elements a good education should include. Through forging this framework and outlaying its origins, implications and practice, the book explains how a good contemporary education can be defined and implemented. From the premise that such educational essentials are neither the preserve of the elite nor a minimum standard, White's exploration keeps the child at the heart of the discussion, focusing on every pupil's worth, identity, interactions and development.
The author offers a detailed and rigorous perspective reflecting on extensive professional experience, starting with a consideration of the current educational climate and progressing through the book's three parts:
- looking for a good education
- creating a model of good education
- applications, implications and implementation of the model.
A Good Education recognises the transformative power of education and reflects on the importance of human factors: teachers' provision for their pupils and students' ability to flourish. This book is addressed to those actively engaged in or concerned about educational provision: graduates entering teaching, school leaders, policy-makers and parents. It also speaks more broadly to all those who know that a good education really matters.
Table of Contents
Part one: looking for good education
Chapter 1 What is a good education?
Chapter 2 In search of educational ethos
Part two: creating a model of good education
Chapter 3 Foundational values: the essential heart
Chapter 4 Character traits: living it out
Chapter 5 Educational principles: distinguishing practices
Chapter 6 Practical outcomes: end results
Part three: applications, implications and implementation of the four-dimensional model
Chapter 7 The four-dimensional school: values and principles in practice
Chapter 8 The four-dimensional curriculum: breadth of attainment at the academic core
Chapter 9 The four-dimensional curriculum: breadth of attainment in the wider sphere
Chapter 10 The four-dimensional subject: achieving heights of excellence
Chapter 11 The four-dimensional lesson: encouraging depth of engagement
Chapter 12 A four-dimensional vision: fostering length of endeavour
Margaret White is Deputy Head Academic at St Faith’s School, Cambridge. She studied Natural Sciences and Education at Cambridge University and has over twenty years’ experience of teaching and school leadership. Her passion for education draws on her experiences as a pupil, student, teacher, parent, governor and school leader.
"Margaret White has spent a lifetime in and reflecting upon schools. She has written a wise and fresh book that all those connected with education, as parents, teachers, governors and administrators, and above all politicians, can read with profit and delight."- Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham
"This is a beautifully written book, marrying the personal with the practical set into a system-level approach to education. The central focus of the book will provide new leaders across the education system with a memorable representation of ensuring that children thrive at school. This is a wonderful distillation from a wonderful and career-long teacher." - Brett Wigdortz, Founder and CEO, Teach First
"Margaret White has written a compelling account of why ethos-based education, which puts the individual pupil at its core, really does matter. Her educational ideals, articulated so clearly, are rooted in the best kind of evidence - her direct experience of children based on her many years’ teaching." - Keith Budge, Chair, HMC and Headmaster Bedales Schools
"This book is a breath of fresh air, arguing forcefully for a fresh vision of education. We all know that something crucial is lost in human and spiritual terms between primary and secondary education; we all know what difference is made by personally supportive, ethically alert, close-knit educational communities. Traditional prep schools may seem an unexpected place to look, but many of them have developed exemplary practice in all these respects, which deserves to be taken very seriously as a resource. A timely, wise study." - Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College Cambridge and former Archbishop of Canterbury
"Margaret White’s superbly constructed arguments are logical and sound. This is a book of worth that makes a significant contribution to educational debate on this subject that must, in my opinion, be considered as a leading work in its field. It is a "must read" essential for all school leaders." - Sally Eaton, Executive Head, Langley Hall Primary Academy, Berkshire
"This is a wonderful book. It is clear that Margaret White has been an outstanding teacher who has managed to capture and distil the key features of a good education. It is refreshingly honest and written without pretention and anyone who cares about the education of our children should read it." - David Hanson, Chief Executive, IAPS
"A passion for education, in the fullest sense of the term, and a lifetime’s teaching experience are evident on every page of this inspiring, creative and insightful book. It should be read by anyone directly or indirectly concerned in the great enterprise of ensuring children of all backgrounds are able to benefit from schooling that provides a truly rich and coherent personal formation." - James O’Donnell, organist and Master of the Choristers, Westminster Abbey
"This book touched me. It is, in the best sense of the word, utopian. That is, it sets the highest possible standards. And then it makes us – it made me – feel those standards can be reached. Not simply. Not without hard work. Not without disappointments and fall-backs and worries. But doable – and doable by all us ordinary everyday sinners. It is an odd thing to say but this book made me happy! It shaped inchoate hopes into a clear vision. I think it will have a wide readership, and it will give many people hope, and a clearer path forward." - Lisbet Rausing, science historian and philanthropist
"This book will raise the spirits of any practitioner who wants to do more than just prepare for tests and exams. An inspiring vision for our children’s education, supported by a practical model to make it happen." - Mark Hayes, Chair, Saffron Academy Trust
"Insightful, inspiring, and effervescent, this book distils the substance of what counts as a good education. At the heart of her reflections lies respect for the uniqueness of each individual student. This is compelling reading for practitioners of education and indeed for anyone who cares about education." - Violet Lo, social innovator, Director and Founder, Inclusive Business Lab, Hong Kong
"In my experience, the voices of policy-makers are nearly unanimous in support of education. But, whatever does that mean? Margaret White defines a good education so well that her four-dimensional principles create a framework that should prove useful for crafting public policy. Margaret remembers, as a young teacher, she "loved the puzzle of having to work out how to explain something in the best possible way so that it was simplified but not distorted, how to lay rigorous and stable foundations on which to build, how to engender confidence in those who were less certain and yet cater for the brightest. . .". That love endures throughout this beautifully-written volume." - John A. Maher, member and speaker pro tempore, House of Representatives, Pennsylvania
"A "must-read" for educators, policy-maker and parents. Margaret White has delivered a magnum opus addressing many of the crucial issues facing our schools today." - David Saunderson, Chief Executive, Cantab Asset Management
"Margaret White has carefully distilled the wisdom of her decades of teaching and leadership experience into an insightful and very readable book. She has some key messages for students of education, teachers, leaders and parents alike as she sets out her vision for what constitutes a high quality and broad primary education." - Anna Vignoles, Professor of Education, University of Cambridge
"It’s wonderful to see a book that focuses on the whole and individual child. Healthy, engaged children who are connected to the world around them are better equipped to learn, and this book explains how teaching with vision, purpose and empathy for the whole child could bring extraordinary benefits." - Dame Fiona Reynolds, Master of Emmanuel College Cambridge, and former Director-General of the National Trust
"Margaret White has married a lifetime of experience as a teacher with an outstanding gift for explaining what really good education is. Her fourdimensional vision is inspiring, thorough and practical. It combines a wise approach, that could be applied in any school, with perceptive and persuasive responses to possible objections. She has achieved something extraordinary, and all stakeholders in education should learn from it." - David Ford, Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge University, and Chair of Church of England Vision for Education group
"It’s a fascinating view of education that will be invaluable to teachers and to parents. In a time of Academy governance it’s also a unique, riveting and taboobusting inquiry into what the state sector can learn about independence from the private schools system. I wish Margaret White could be drafted into government as Education Secretary." - Peter Florence, Director and Founder of the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts