When children are empowered they feel free to fully express themselves; full of creativity, love and breath-taking wisdom. We need to create an environment where they feel safe and supported.
We need personal development skills at the heart of every school to empower students, teachers and parents to work consistently in partnership to:
- Up skill every member of the school community.
- Change the ethos and culture of the school.
- Transform our society and save billions in public services budgets.
- If we act now Britain can become a world leading innovator and market leader in the 4thIndustrial Revolution.
The 4th Industrial Revolution will provide massive opportunities and challenges for every one – the world is changing constantly.
According to the British Chambers of Commerce, 88% of businesses believe school leavers are unprepared for the world of work.
Government is reactive, short term and lacks the agility or willingness to act and so we must become proactive and create a new system which serves both our children and our nation.
We need to connect and collaborate with educational visionaries to transform, the education system now.
Our purpose is to create an environment where young people can be empowered to fully express themselves and reveal their creativity, love and breath-taking wisdom – they can show us the way.
Today schools are obsessed with grades and league tables with no regard to the ‘whole person’. We need to empower students, teachers and parents to work in partnership. Tomorrow’s students face a risk of being permanently unemployable, because they need to change their attitude, values and mind-set to navigate the challenges of a constantly changing world. They require life coaching skills and the ability to access higher order thinking skills, enabling them to analyse, synthesise, problem-solve and evaluate information instead of simply recalling facts.
Our transformational suite of evidence based personal development programmes could kick start the movement. It only needs a tweak to the curriculum.
What we would do
We would create a paradigm shift, not only in education but also in our society and this is how we do it. We need to transform the quality of the relationship between home and school; particularly for disadvantaged children and families.
Primary schools are the best place to start but we believe a more challenging and immediate concern is Key Stage 3. It’s also possibly the last chance to make a significant change when students are at a pivotal point looking at their future education and career options. From our experience, this whole process of the student, teacher and parent working in partnership needs the full commitment of all parties – supported and managed to maximise the potential for disadvantaged students and families.
Our suite of experiential personal development programmes have been co-created over the last 17 years. They use the best of personal life coaching, mindfulness and emotional literacy techniques, underpinned by neuroscience to create systemic change. By incorporating this activity at Key Stage 3 each year the benefits will spread throughout the whole school community and beyond.
Students and families will spread an ethos of empowerment and self-responsibility as they progress through school, they will be more open to further learning, be more self assured and have greater belief in their own ability. To attain and achieve throughout their education and into lifelong learning. They will become better equipped for a wider range of choices in apprenticeships and training, and be more flexible in their future careers. Finally, they become positive contributors to their family, community, work-place and to society.
We would argue that we need to give our young people the tools to develop resilience, self-responsibility and a ‘can do’ attitude, and that we need to support them to trust in their capacity to shape their own future. We have evidence to support this view.
The Big Lottery funded a 2-year project to work with parents and carers from disadvantaged families in a deprived area, to build self-esteem, emotional resilience and self-responsibility. The Executive Summary of the 56-page evaluation by Canterbury Christ Church University reads.
“Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the positive outcomes for children is the description in many parents’ accounts of children being coached to use the approaches within the Parent Champion Programme for themselves. At the most profound level, children have learnt to coach their parents and siblings, to step back from conflicting situations and to employ relaxation techniques both regularly and to calm themselves down in times of stress and conflict.
They have helped parents to set goals for the family and for themselves to improve their lives. Perhaps most powerfully of all, children have applied these approaches on their own in new environments without the direct support of the parents who taught them, for example when visiting a father or grandparent. The evidence gives a strong message that as a society we are underestimating children. When listened to, understood and empowered, they need not be passive recipients of ‘behaviour training’ but can contribute to loving, caring and the building of positive relationships in their own families and communities.”
This experience proved we need a whole school approach and ad hock programmes for individual groups are not sustainable.
This is how we do it
Here is why we have to take action now
World Economic Forum Realizing Human Potential in the Fourth Industrial Revolution stated that most education systems today are based on modelsput in place over a century ago. Fragmented attempts at reform and modernisation have proven, in most cases, insufficient in addressing the growing gap between conventional education systems, the demands of modern life and new labour markets. Governments, businesses and individual learners must grasp the need for real, comprehensive change in order to close the preparedness gap as the world enters the 4th Industrial Revolution.
School leavers unemployable. According to the British Chambers of Commerce, 88% of businesses believe school leavers are unprepared for the world of work.
School leavers lack personal development skills – what is missing is the creative inspiration and motivation of the person operating the keyboard, their mind-set and attitude to life. There is a growing awareness for the need for personal developmentskills, life skills, character education, soft skills etc, same thing different labels!
Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.
In the same article Project Aristotle shows the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence, with emotional safety, no bullying topping the list. To succeed, each and every team member must feel confident speaking up and making mistakes.
The lack of personal development skills in education. Life skills are vital for the future and recent research from Sutton Trust shows 88% of young people, 94% of employers, and 97% of teachers say life skills are as or more important as academic qualifications.
Life skills are an essential part of being able to meet the challenges of a constantly changing environment. “The dramatic changes in global economies over the past five years have been matched with the transformation in technology – impacting on education, the workplace and our home life. Students need life skills such as the ability to deal with stress and frustration.”
Increase in character education. “Teachers can educate students through the power of growth mind-set language and build character in young people that will make them ready for life outside of the school gates.”
The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues is a pioneering interdisciplinary research focussing on character, virtues and values in the interest of human flourishing, in order to explore the importance of virtue for public and professional life.
PSHE Association new character curriculum toolkit offers practical advice on integrating character education within PSHE education, for Key Stages 1 to 4.
World Innovation Summit for Health and Wellbeing in Children Forum ’s report (2015), The Healthy Young Minds – transforming the mental health of children, suggested our schools need to adopt children’s wellbeing as one of their major objectives – both in their ethos and their teaching. Life skills can and should be taught as professionally as mathematics or literature.
Public Health England report (2014) The link between pupil health and well being and attainment. A briefing for head teachers, governors and staff in education settings, the key points from the evidence:
- a) Pupils with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically.
- b) Effective social and emotional competencies are associated with greater health and wellbeing, and better achievement.
- c) The culture, ethos and environment of a school influences the health and wellbeing of pupils and their readiness to learn.
University of Pennsylvania report (2016) Teaching well-being increases academic performance: evidence from Bhutan, Mexico and Peru. Schools traditionally teach children academic skills such as literacy, numeracy – they do not, however, teach skills for well-being– for more positive emotion, better relationships, more engagement, and more purpose and meaning.
Our Director of Education (Georgina Saralis) has over 30 years experience in education including the last 13 years in special schools.Reporting to trustees of a special school where she was Deputy Head “I have to say that personally I have been overwhelmed by the response to this course and by the achievements of the individuals taking part. Obviously we would not have embarked on this programme unless we were convinced of its value to the school, but it has more than met my expectations.
What we are creating here is open and trusting relationships between parents, teachers and pupils and I had not realised the potential of this until now. We are experiencing the benefits of this already and I feel excited about how this will contribute to our mission of unleashing the potential of our pupils still further.” Also in a conversation with the (OFSTED) inspector he said, “the content of (the programme) sessions were acknowledged as contributing in particular to “building self-esteem”.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and DevelopmentAndreas Schleicher, the head of education at the OECD, looks ahead to the abilities that will increasingly be needed by our school leavers in the future. He argues that the demands on learners and on education systems are evolving quickly.
Schleicher says that, in the past, education was primarily about teaching people something and reminds us that “schools need to prepare students for more rapid economic and social change than ever before, for jobs that have not yet been created, to use technologies that have not yet been invented and to solve social problems that we do not yet know will arise”.
The Skills Commission called for evidence on apprenticeships and social mobility as they had concerns. In response, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers(August 2017), set out 8 key features of a good quality apprenticeship:
Mary Bousted, NEU joint general secretary, explains how the UK is falling behind as other countries around the world are adapting to the need for education systems to accommodate the evolving demands of the 4th Industrial Revolution:“Singapore has a new education goal – to develop the whole person and to promote the personal attributes of self-awareness, self-management, self-assessment and responsible decision-making.” She warns that “Child and adolescent mental ill health is becoming an ever-greater problem, fuelled, in part, by the pressures of an education system that fails to provide them with a broad and balanced curriculum and that is over pressurised by the regression to high-stakes tests to determine young people’s futures.”
Social justice and productivity
The Social Mobility Commission reports in 2016, that, pupils’ educational achievements were overwhelmingly dictated by the circumstances of their birth, and the link between social demography and educational destiny has not been broken: over the past five years 1.2 million 16-year-olds disproportionately from low-income homes have left school without five good GCSEs.
CSJ’sBreakthrough Britain identified educational failure as one of the five pathways to poverty. It is therefore essential to provide an education that gives students the skills and capability to achieve and sustain worthwhile employment.
JRF’sWe can solve poverty in the UK. A strategy for governments, businesses, communities and citizens’ (2016) JRF recognise that socially disadvantaged young people, often experience family breakdown, live with a single parent, are more likely to suffer mental health issues, as well as feel disengaged with their education and that ‘we need to see flexible and co-ordinated support that builds on people’s assets, strengths and relationships, that roots them in ordinary housing, jobs and communities, and is tailored around the ‘whole person’ and the ‘whole family’. These make it easier to improve their long-term prospects.
Poverty. The State of the Nation(2017) reports 14 million people live in poverty, blaming rising housing costs, increasing food and energy bills and cuts in benefits. We believe the problem goes much deeper.
Productivity. Office of Budget Responsibility – March 2018. From the independent. New official data indicates that Britain will be paying its Brexit divorce bill for 45 years after leaving the EU – until 2064. It is the first time the UK’s fiscal watchdog has set out how Britain would pay the bill Brussels is demanding London pay to meet its liabilities.
The Industrial Strategy’s Building a Britain fit for the futurestates 3 key policies:
- Establish a technical education system that rivals the best in the world, to stand alongside our world-class higher education system.
- Invest an additional £406m in maths, digital and technical education, to address the shortage STEM skills.
- Create a new National Retraining Scheme that supports people to re-skill, beginning with a £64m investment for digital and construction training.
In our view, this is rather disparate, individual and narrow; there is no consideration of how to empower the individual, change mind-sets, and inspire to achieve – essential to support students who will have to confront a future that will demand continuous adaptation to innovation in technology.