What is education, what is it for and what are its fundamental values? How do we understand knowledge and learning? What is our image of the child and the school? How does the ever more pressing need to develop a more just, creative and sustainable democratic society affect our responses to these questions?
Addressing these fundamental issues, Fielding and Moss contest the current mainstream dominated by markets and competition, instrumentality and standardisation, managerialism and technical practice. They argue instead for a radical education with democracy as a fundamental value, care as a central ethic, a person-centred education that is education in the broadest sense, and an image of a child rich in potential. Radical education, they say, should be practised in the ‘common school’, a school for all children in its local catchment area, age-integrated, human scale, focused on depth of learning and based on team working. A school understood as a public space for all citizens, a collective workshop of many purposes and possibilities, and a person-centred learning community, working closely with other schools and with local authorities. The book concludes by examining how we might bring such transformation about.