Lucy Crehan, one of our team of international education consultants, is celebrating the launch of her 'must-read' book, Cleverlands. The book recounts Lucy's two-year journey learning about the best education systems in the world – from the inside. She lived with teachers, listened to parents and immersed herself in education in completely different environments and cultures to see what she could find out.
What prompted this journey of discovery? Having taught science and psychology at a secondary school in London for three years, Lucy was keen to learn more about how education systems could be run better and signed up for a masters degree in politics, development and democratic education from the University of Cambridge. She read a lot of reports and studied a lot of graphs – and got a distinction along the way – however she couldn't tell what education looked like in all of these different countries. So she emailed teachers in Finland, Canada, Japan, China and Singapore and asked if she could come and help out in their schools. She spent at least three weeks in schools in each country – teaching, watching, listening and asking lots of questions – and her book, Cleverlands, is a guided tour of these different education systems.
Applauded and welcomed by the media
The book has attracted significant media attention as its launch coincides with the publication of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results on 6 December 2016 – Lucy based her selection of schools on these rankings. Invited to comment on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Leeds in response to the publication of the PISA results, Lucy also appeared on BBC's Newsnight television programme as well as on BBC News television.
'I found the process of researching and writing the book fascinating – initially from my perspective as a teacher and more recently as a consultant with Education Development Trust,' comments Lucy. 'I am pleased that there has been so much interest in looking at what is really going on in these top-performing systems; I do think there is a lot we can learn from them, while acknowledging the significant cultural differences.'
Praise for Cleverlands
'Lucy Crehan's book is a major breakthrough. For the first time we have the human stories and classroom interactions behind the international comparisons of school systems. As an itinerant teacher, she has been able to reach deeper than any academic researcher could.'
Sir Michael Barber
'I first met Lucy at a headteachers' conference where she was presenting. I was instantly impressed by her brilliant talk which was fascinating in so many ways, and now her book, Cleverlands, is even more thought-provoking. What impressed me most was Lucy's ability to bring to life the sometimes meaningless data, by interactions with real-life characters with whom she immersed herself. This is a must-read, not only for teachers, but anyone involved in the education or coaching of young people today.'
Sir Clive Woodward