By Donald Wilson
Donald Wilson is the Chair of Kelvinside Academy’s board of governors. He established Barclay Gilmour Partners in 2013 with a vision to help business growth opportunities by providing experience-based advice and financial support.
As Chairman of Governors at Kelvinside Academy, I worked with two headmasters, Ian Munro, and Dan Wyatt, to try and find the right balance between education and innovation to take Kelvinside Academy forward. When Ian Munro - who was then the youngest headmaster of a private school - came on board in 2016, I set him the task of finding a sustainable competitive advantage for our school which has two significant competitors on either side of us along Great Western Road. We needed to differentiate. Ian assessed the marketplace and recommended that we should work with NuVu, which he thought was a better way to develop the potential of students. As soon as Ian explained the concept, I felt we had found what we were looking for - a different way of teaching our children that we could integrate into our curriculum.
During my business career of over 30 years, I have seen intelligent people with good exam results fail and I have seen people with poor exam results succeed. I recognise NuVu’s different approach to education was what we were looking for at Kelvinside Academy. As an employer, I have looked at CV’s and assessed candidates on their Highers and Standard Grades. However, having become more experienced in assessing talent, I now realize it is unreasonable to measure someone’s ability, based on a moment in time at school. Consequently, the idea of blending the traditional education model with the innovative approach developed by NuVu provides a much better opportunity for pupils to develop and progress, and for us to assess their capabilities better.
Our view is that the basic skills - Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry, Languages etc. - are all similar. They are memory taught subjects. NuVu develops a different style of learning skill, which prepares the pupils for their future in a much better and robust way. It’s a more collaborative process, working in teams to solve open ended problems, learning to fail, and learning from others to adapt and come up with solutions. In the traditional education model, we are taught to solve problems in a textbook environment. NuVu is different. It develops a different skill set that they can actually use in real life. The world is changing so fast. Many jobs we know now may disappear in 10 years. Most pupils won’t ever use Algebra, Geometry or Latin after school. NuVu education process embeds a different way of looking at real life problems - they can use this for the rest of their lives. Simply, NuVu prepares pupils for the real world.
I endorsed NuVu because it gives children a completely different set of learning skills. Problem solving, failing, and adapting, mental resilience and a culture of continuous improvement, do not exist in the current education model. A NuVu education allows pupils to think creatively, assess and evaluate and test opportunities, problem solve and find solutions based on a technique they have learnt in school. In Boston where NuVu has its home, their Innovation School is just NuVu, with no traditional subjects. There is no blended model as there is in Kelvinside Academy, but it has proven to be a robust model with students going on to study at MIT and Harvard, proof that it is a powerful way of learning.