by Lucy Crehan
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Secondary school teacher and education consultant Lucy Crehan was frustrated with ever-changing government policies on education; dissatisfied with a system that prioritised test scores over the promotion of creative thinking; and disheartened that the interests of children had become irrelevant. And yet, politicians and administrators consistently told her that this was how the world’s ‘top performing’ school systems operated. Curious to discover how they could operate in the same way but perform so much better in Maths, Reading and Science, Lucy dug deeper and was shocked by what she found: the politicians and administrators were wrong. The ‘top performing’ schools were designing education in completely different ways from the UK and from each other, and yet, despite their differences, they were all getting top marks. Determined to find answers she couldn’t get from reports and graphs, Lucy set off on a journey around the globe to see these schools and students for herself. Cleverlands is the story of her journey through Finland, Canada, Japan, China and Singapore – five countries regularly at the top of the education charts. She spent three weeks immersed in classrooms in each country – living with teachers, listening to parents, teaching, watching and asking questions. The result is a guided tour of the world’s best educational systems and a reflection on what success in the UK might look like in light of these varying possibilities… not just what our politicians would have us believe.