A lifelong digital literacy passport for students? To go with them from edu place to place?

The “Language for Life” (1975) Bullock Report was commissioned by Margaret Thatcher as Secretary of State for Education in 1972 to investigate delivery and improvement of English teaching within schools as per the following criteria:

“(a) all aspects of teaching the use of English, including reading, writing, and speech;
(b) how present practice might be improved and the role that initial and in-service training might play;
(c) to what extent arrangements for monitoring the general level of attainment in these skills can be introduced or improved;
and to make recommendations.”

One of the recommendations was: “There should be close consultation and communication between schools to ensure continuity in the teaching of reading and in the language development of every pupil.”

This is something we are lacking and need to do more of – always. Between home and nursery. Between nursery and reception class. Between infant and junior schools. Between primaries and secondaries. And what about between secondaries and FE? And FE and HE? And beyond???

We really would benefit from applying this idea between feeder schools in our FE catchment area in order to inform ourselves better about the students we are receiving. There seems to be a lot of emphasis placed on the transition stage between primary and secondary education, but then students are left floundering in the jump to tertiary. There is little in-depth data on the students entering FE other than basics and initial assessment / diagnostics obtained at enrolment and their obvious previous exam results.

Now, if a student had a digital literacy passport that could be updated and accessed / shared (at the permission of the student – or parent/guardian of the student – enrolling) by any new educational establishment they joined, perhaps life would be easier for all of us, and differentiation and planning of the learner journey more tailored. Consider the initial assessments and diagnostics and continual assessment we carry out – as soon as a student leaves, this data is lost. Of course data protection is an issue, but similarly to the NHS patient record sharing system, students could also opt out if they requested. There would, however, be greater value in opting in; the student would be more ‘known’ by teachers immediately. Teachers would go in to classes less blind.

Suddenly, a Thatcherite inspired idea is looking good… all these years later? Could the above recommendation now be brought into reality more effectively in the digital age?

What are the pros and cons? What do you say, Nicky Morgan? Is it a goer??

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