David Gribble

Laura Quick


David Gribble’s attractive new website is a pleasingly personal reflection of his life, his work and his ideas. Reading his words, it is ever more clear to me how urgent the need to rethink education is. Packed full of inspiring articles, quotes, videos and thinking, it should be compulsory reading for anyone concerned about the state of education or the way we relate to young people across society.

There is a comprehensive list of David’s books and articles with a note from him on each to help aid the reader’s choice. Articles are all available at a click, and cover current issues being discussed across the education sector such as target setting, grammar schools and bullying, as well as broader questions of democratic decision making, respecting children and the benefits of children being free to choose when, how and what they want to learn. There is also a recommended reading list, again pleasingly personal, with comments on what David thinks is worth reading and why.

Perhaps most interesting to me, as someone who has followed David’s work over much of my life, is the ‘about’ tab, which includes a video of him in conversation with Roger Birchall (admittedly the sound isn’t great) and a timeline of his life in education, from his strikingly traditional education at Eton and Cambridge to his teaching at Repton, and move to Dartington, culminating in setting up Sands school, a well-known democratic school in Devon.

The key message from David is clear: children need freedom and the majority of schools limit this, thus limiting children’s natural propensity to be curious, learn and be happy. While some might suspect a tendency toward romanticizing young people, his plethora of examples from across the world leave no doubt that children are vastly more capable than we give them credit for and that traditional education stifles and limits them. In conclusion, this website provides both inspiration and ammunition for those of us fighting for an education fit for the 21st century.




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