Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Reframing 'Attainment': creating and developing spaces for learning within schools

Hope, Max A.


Max A. Hope


This article, based on a keynote presentation given at a conference in Tasmania, examines the notion of 'attainment' and argues that a narrow focus on standardised test scores is highly problematic for those concerned with social justice. Using examples from the Freedom to Learn Project, this article presents two case studies of schools that 'think outside the box'. These schools use ideas which act as a disruption to mainstream thinking in that they challenge many assumed norms in education: that children need to be taught; that teachers are experts; that classrooms need to instil discipline; that the essence of learning can be assessed; that 'standards' can be equated with test scores. The article argues that part of the task of those wanting to reform education is to create spaces within education; spaces where students, staff and school leaders have freedom to think differently, to learn differently and to behave differently. It ends with a glimmer of optimism for UK schools as the Chief Inspector of Schools has recently criticised those who 'mistake badges and stickers for learning itself'. This could be a green light to re-frame the 'attainment' discourse so that it works in the interests of all children and young people.


Hope, M. A. (2017). Reframing 'Attainment': creating and developing spaces for learning within schools. Forum for Promoting 3-19 Comprehensive Education, 59(3), 413-422.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 1, 2017
Publication Date 2017
Deposit Date Jun 10, 2019
Journal FORUM
Print ISSN 0963-8253
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 59
Issue 3
Pages 413-422
Public URL
Publisher URL