Mervyn Benford - National Association of Small Schools


Through the work that I have been engaged with for much of my career, and the work that ThoughtBox is doing with schools, there is a strong agreement on the need to prepare our children for a radically different life in which work, career, profession will just not be as we have known them. Both myself and ThoughtBox have come together to share ideas, learnings, research and purpose to support young people in becoming self-sufficient, self-supporting, innovative, creative, resourceful and resilient in an uncertain future.

Mervyn Benford

"My education work is focused around advising and championing the need for small schools to support a more localised, resilience-based education, focusing on the impact of technology. 

I have been a primary teacher, Head and deputy Head in large and small schools, rural schools co-ordinator for two local authorities (plus NQT adviser in one and cross-phase inspector in the other.)

We believe the model of effective education now reflected in best village school practice displays more the qualities of small, human-scale education close to home and family, and within identifiable local communities, that all our children need, in town and country alike. Within such a model children feel safe and secure, know everyone and are known by everyone, behave well, feel that effort is worthwhile and achievement possible.

Our data confirms the better overall results that small schools achieve collectively. We believe this is as obtainable in the inner city as in remote Scottish communities where currently some of the best evidence arises not only of academic achievement in small schools but also achievement by pupils from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. "