We’re delighted to announce that Lord David Triesman has joined the board at Bounce Forward. We caught up with him to better understand his views on education and why he is interested in Bounce Forward’s mission.
In an expansive career, Lord Triesman is a politician, merchant banker and former trade union leader. Previously, Lord Triesman has been a minister in the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He was a Chairman of the Football Association from 2008 to 2010 and is a qualified referee. Furthermore, Lord Triesman taught Maths in Economics at Universities in Cambridge and London from the mid-70s to mid-80s.
Q: What was it like being a teacher?
“It was clear to me that I was always with groups of students who learned in different ways and at different rates and often using methods that surprised me but still worked. So as a teacher, I had to be responsive to what they could do and how they could do it – but never to the idea that it couldn’t be done.”
Q: What are the priorities for education in 2020?
“There are several significant priorities. The first is that the quality of school must be improved, we’re still using the Victorian kit, buildings and methods.
The population is extremally diverse, both ethnically and in their ability to cope with the pressure of education. All groups should be catered for equally.
Schools must understand that students need a range of skills and confidence in themselves to reach for their goals. Education towards the end of school should have more young people pursuing non-traditionally academic areas.”
Q: Is our education system fair?
“I think there is an imbalance. The Department for Education has to recognise the range of different abilities – not just focus on the highest achievers. When kids go through exams, huge chunks perform poorly compared with other countries. These kids are no less able; they don’t have the capabilities or belief instilled into themselves about what they can achieve.”
Q: Do you think teachers have enough support?
“There is some excellent support, but we can certainly do more for them. Teachers need the right capacities to fulfil their role.
I was fortunate that every teacher I had was aspirational on my behalf. We need more aspirational teachers who recognise that kids may need all kinds of help. Teachers must treat students as individuals if they are to fulfil their potential.”
Q: What makes Bounce Forward’s mission meaningful to you?
“The recognition that children will do a lot better if they have resilience skills. We all get knock backs in life, big and small; it happens to children in all sorts of ways. Resilience will help them get through these challenges and achieve the best outcome. I am yet to meet someone who has not benefited from being resilient, but then to see resilience in the context of them thriving in life, well that’s the aim.
Bounce Forward has already done fantastic work, but I believe the best is yet to come. They are in an excellent position to make a significant and long-term positive impact on how we educate children, and I am excited to be a part of it.”
Q: Why are resilience skills important?
“Resilience is universal; it helps all children, regardless of their circumstance. Resilience skills offer a set of tools that can be used every day in almost all situations to get the best possible outcome. There is a wealth of research and evidence to support this.
I believe people are authors of their own lives, and their results will ultimately be down to them. What we can do is give them the tools that will increase the chances of success and thrive in their lives. I believe the way to do that is them developing resilience skills.”