In the September 2023 Schools supplement of The Spectator magazine, English actress Sophie Winkleman writes about her concerns around the increasing use of screens in schools. Ms Winkleman is a public figure and parent who has been outspoken about this issue, and is also a royal patron of many children’s charities.
The piece includes a number of comments from educators about the negative impact of technology in the classroom; for example, this observation of pupils by one assistant principal: ‘[The iPad] sought only to stoke their screen addictions and took away from the purest form of teaching: explanation. The goals of digital learning – to be more efficient, to increase independence, to reflect the real world and give students the tools needed when they leave school – largely fail on all accounts.’
In the article, Heritage is put forward as a positive example of a school using technology in moderation. The author writes, ‘Started by Jason and Fiona Fletcher in a little townhouse off Trumpington Street, the pupils go on nature walks each morning,* draw their bounty afterwards while listening to classical music, then begin a day of gentle but deeply rigorous screen-free lessons in the hands of wonderful teachers. The bar is raised high, and all the children reach it. As often with the best schools, it’s not ‘shiny’ (there are no gleaming IT suites, tennis courts and theatres); just a deeply thoughtful space created by passionate teachers with a vision. The pupils are calm, happy, reflective and eager for knowledge.’
We applaud Ms Winkelman for adding her voice to the many who are increasingly concerned about this topic. The full article is available here: https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/my-fight-to-get-screens-out-of-schools
*Heritage Infants and Juniors go on weekly nature walks.