Beyond Current Horizons, commissioned in 2007 by the Department for Education and Skills, subsequently Department for Children, Schools and Families, was a three-year research programme set-up to examine how social and technological change over the coming 20 or so years may present new challenges or opportunities for education.
The overall goal of the project was to build a set of long-term and challenging scenarios for the future of education 2025 and beyond in the context of socio-technical change.
The programme had three strands of activity:
- identifying socio-technological changes with most impact on education and commissioned and reviewed research on trends in these areas
- consulting stakeholders on their reaction to these trends to identify possible and preferable futures
- creating practical outputs for the work including a set of six scenarios depicting possible futures for education.
The trends analysis created more than 60 original pieces of writing on topics of high relevance to education and these have been widely taken up and cited. The scenarios and practical tools are available through the Vision Mapper website, which continues to attract a level of use, with practical tools being used in professional development, planning and other activities. The analysis of the evidence created for the programme provides an inspiring source for anyone looking to the future in education.
The six future scenarios are underpinned by a robust evidence base, consisting of over 60 papers written by experts in each field, organised around five research challenges:
- Generations and lifecourse: understanding trends in demographics, family structure, intergenerational relationships and aging
- Identities, citizenship, communities: understanding the development of cultural identity, citizenship and community in the context of globalising/localising forces;
- Knowledge, creativity and communication: understanding trends in the creation, circulation and communication of knowledge;
- Work and employment: understanding trends in work and employment;
- State, market, third sector: understanding trends in relationships between state, private and third sector provision of public services.
More information and resources can be found at:
Beyond Current Horizons: www.beyondcurrenthorizons.org.uk
In this website you will find general information about the project, including the people involved, the approach taken and activities carried out; a searchable database containing all of the research papers that informed the development of the six future scenarios; the six detailed future scenarios exploring the future of education; the final report 2009 providing a detailed analysis of the project; other relevant research and findings relating to the project.
Vision Mapper: www.visionmapper.org.uk
A free web resource to support long-term planning and decision making in education, includes a wide range of group activities and inspirational materials designed to inspire broader thinking, challenge your views and create realistic, achievable action plans. Vision Mapper can help you create a long-term vision and strategy for your organisation.