There is a lot of concern about the fact that our school leavers are leaving school without the skills required for todays world of work, let alone tomorrows – after all our future is in their hands. The Government has set up a House of Commons Select Committee inquiry about the quality of apprenticeships and skills training. We are very excited because it gives us an opportunity to show how and why we need to change our education system.
The inquiry is now closed, the brief was and our response was:
- We are at a critical time when the world of work and other areas are changing rapidly, whilst education has been stagnant or even regressing; it is not fit for purpose.
- There is an opportunity to transform education to prepare young people for the future, whilst making Britain more competitive, compassionate and creative.
- We recommend a root and branch overhaul of the curriculum, policies and procedures of the Department for Education, OFSTED and local authorities to create a more ‘whole person’ education for young people, and prepare them for lifelong learning, essential in order to adapt to the changes we cannot yet foresee.
Develop Your CIC established in 2002 to co-create an innovative evidence based* personal development suite of programs – working with young people, parents, carers, teachers and the professionals supporting these groups. Driven by a passion to create a new paradigm for children to allow them to fully express themselves, particularly disadvantaged young people – harnessing a ‘whole person’ approach. Our unique programs use a powerful combination of mindfulness to control your mind and prepare you for training, emotional literacy to help understand how you are in control of your thoughts, feelings and emotions and life skills coaching to help you step out of your comfort zone, identify and achieve your goals to:
- improve emotional resilience allowing teachers, parents and students to adapt to change more effectively
- build self-esteem and create a growth mind-set leading to an inspired, motivated attitude to themselves and their life
- empower students to think for themselves and take responsibility, to become happier, more self-aware and confident
- create a greater trust and communication between teachers, parents and students, to include work related learning, work experience and careers information, advice and guidance.
* The Big Lottery funded a 2-year project to work with parents and carers from troubled 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.
3) “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.”
4) Executive Summary
We are giving evidence to highlight a number of key issues:
- The focus for the future of an apprentice is based on technology, hardware and software, with virtually no recognition of empowering the soft skills of the person using the keyboard.
- The lack of personal development has been a problem over decades and at some point the personal, social, emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people has to be a priority in education and social care.
- There is a strong likelihood that this has significantly contributed to the erosion of personal values and low levels of personal responsibility and accountability in people of all ages and socio-demographic backgrounds. Neglect of this sort is found at all levels of organisational and societal life.
- More significantly for this inquiry there is a critical link between poverty and poor productivity.
- Parents and schools have different priorities; we need to work more cohesively and consistently for the benefit of all students. This is more of a challenge in socially deprived areas, as evidenced when OFSTED stated in their latest report, that 130 schools have failed to improve for a decade.
The role of the Education and Skills Funding Agency in ensuring value for money, and the impact of different funding models;
5) Education and Skills Funding Agency established in March 2017 to oversee 4 areas:
- the funding of education for pupils aged 5 to 16
- education and training for those aged 16 to 19
- apprenticeships and adult education
- managing school building programmes.
“With plans to work closely with our staff, unions, stakeholders and the education sector to finalise and deliver our plans for the new agency”, stated Justine Greening.
According to the ‘Department for Education Main Estimate 2017-18’ there is “£465.7 million increase in funding available to be spent for apprenticeships” but we haven’t been able to find any information about what this money will be or has been spent on.
6) Another EFSA document ‘Schools revenue funding 2018 to 2019 Operational guide’ December 2017, it doesn’t mention apprentices or apprenticeships. On page 22 ‘Other funding allocations’ there is ‘post-16 funding’ but again no mention of apprentices or apprenticeships.
Quality and oversight of training provided by subcontractors;
7) The Careers & Enterprise Company – This is a new initiative to give young people the best start to working life. They exist because of the technological development is bringing huge change to the labour market, concurrent with a shifting educational system. This can leave many young people overwhelmed by the choices in front of them. This organisation appears to be understaffed, under resourced and underfunded.
8) Our Director of Development (Bill Fox) had several roles in the Federation of Small Businesses including being a past Regional Chairman for FSB Kent and Medway, he met and talked to thousands of business owners over 10 years about:
- The quality of current provision, how this varies by sector, level and region, and the impact of this on learner outcomes;
- Quality and oversight of training provided by subcontractors; and
- Quality of training received by the socially disadvantaged, and barriers to them undertaking this training.
9) His experience was not very good, it was very difficult as a business to find and employ apprentices. He chose what he thought was a well-established provider to help him fill a key role (long term) and became disillusioned with the level and quality of the provider.
10) It was very difficult and time consuming to identify a good apprentice provider as there was no way of knowing what standards were being met or how to rate each provider. Service providers displayed poor time keeping and missed meetings with no notice. There was a lack of information and reporting to the business owner and little opportunity for apprentices to provide feedback. After 6 months the employer was told they didn’t qualify for the grant.
11) In addition a district council set itself up as an apprentice provider by awarding itself £100,000 for the provision of these services. Whilst attending meetings representing the FSB, local MP’s and business owners often said how the website was too complicated and because they could not get the answers they needed, they were not willing to proceed.
12) There was negligible performance management; no one seemed to care about the apprentice or the business owner. He thinks many businesses have been put off of this type of scheme.
Quality of training received by the socially disadvantaged, and barriers to them undertaking this training
13) Socially disadvantaged – whilst our recommendation is for all young people this cohort has a bigger challenge than most since they face a number of barriers to accessing post-16 education and skills training.
14) 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.
15) CSJ’s Breakthrough 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.
16) We 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.
17) Building human capacity is vital for industry and essential for the economy, but we agree that the solution must be multi-faceted and that schools can play an important part in contributing to improving the health and well-being of young people, building family relationships and co-ordinating social support to reduce the damage done by poverty and improve prospects.
18) Our Director of Education (Georgina Saralis) has over 30 years in education including the last 13 years in special schools. She was the deputy head teacher of an independent school, pioneering an alternative provision for a diverse range of young people aged 8-18 with mild disabilities and various learning difficulties, including Autism, Asperger’s, high anxiety, social, emotional and behavioural issues and medical conditions, building it from 4 to a competitive provision for Local Authorities’ ‘hard to place’ young people. In partnership with our charity, then Every Family Matters, she ran a Parent Champion programme.
19) Reporting to trustees she said “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”.
20) Currently, she is working in a mainstream special school in an area of social deprivation on the south coast; she is a Community Partner for Save the Children, delivering their Families and Schools Together and is developing a similar approach at secondary level, to promote closer links between the pupils’ parents, the school and local services, to raise levels of attainment and support their move out of poverty using the Develop Your Child (DYC) programs.
21) Engaging parents is crucial to the success of any intervention devised to raise attainment, as this increases their long-term effect. We believe that our ‘whole person’ and the ‘whole family’ approach should be provided at the end of KS3, through KS4 and continue as a support the individual until the completion of their apprenticeship.
22) 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.
23) The Industrial Strategy’s Building a Britain fit for the future states 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.
Rather disparate, individual and narrow from our perspective.
24) The Made Smarter Review 2017 reports:
- The stop–start nature of government education policy has resulted in a confusing landscape.
- Different conditions are applied to available funding.
- The system is difficult to navigate and there is a fragmented offer for employers and individuals alike.
It outlines proposals to boost the economy using advanced digital technologies. It supports the Industrial Strategy and suggests Britain’s manufacturing sector could unlock £455bn over the next decade and create thousands of jobs if it cracks the fourth industrial revolution and carves out a successful post Brexit future.
25) Businesses face a skills shortage, particularly in digital engineering capabilities, and are hindered by a fragmented skills system and a lack of systematic engagement between education and industry. While young people will acquire basic digital skills by default because of digital’s pervasive nature, to be truly employable more advanced skills are required. There is a lack of expertise within higher education, further education and schools to support employer needs.
26) Apprenticeship providers are poor quality. Ofsted reported that 37% of apprenticeship providers were less than good.
27) Apprenticeships are down. Department for Education admits a 61% drop in apprenticeships compared to last year.
28) School leaver’s unemployable. According to the British Chambers of Commerce, 88% of businesses believe school leavers are unprepared for the world of work.
29) School leaver’s lack self-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 development skills, life skills, character education, soft skills etc, same thing different labels!
30) 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.
31) 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.
32) 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.
33) 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.
34) 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.
35) 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.
36) PSHE Association new character curriculum toolkit offers practical advice on integrating character education within PSHE education, for Key Stages 1 to 4.
37) 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.
38) The critical link between poverty and poor productivity is an insidious, core issue – resulting in low self-esteem and an erosion of personal values over decades, more specifically a lack personal responsibility and accountability in people of all ages and socio-demographic backgrounds. Neglect of this sort is found at all levels of organisations and society.
39) 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.
40) Productivity. Office of Budget Responsibility (October, 2017) is considering a “downward revision to prospective productivity growth” in its next economic forecast. “Productivity has not been this stagnant since the end of the Napoleonic wars, 200 years ago”.
41) There is an answer
We have to overcome the culture of grades, grades, grades and look at adopting a more ‘whole person’ approach to education. Key Stage 3 is the last opportunity to make a change. At the end of Key Stage 3, when students are between 11 and 14 years old, they start to look at their future education choices and careers. This is a perfect opportunity for parents and teachers to work together for the benefit of the ‘whole person’ and ‘whole family’ – from our experience this whole process needs to be more fully committed, supported and managed to maximise the students’ potential.
42) Most Headteachers would say the parents are their biggest problem. We need to get parents and teachers to work together with a more cohesive approach. Empowered children are confident, emotionally resilient and take responsibility for themselves, they are also able to think for themselves and access higher order thinking skills – better prepared for our Industrial Strategy and the 4th Industrial Revolution.
43) Over time these empowered young people will have a massive impact on their family, community, workplace and society. What is the alternative? More of the same ineffective, short term, not joined up quick fixes
Our recommendations for action by the Government
44) We recommend a root and branch overhaul of the curriculum, policies and procedures of the Department for Education, OFSTED and local authorities to create a more ‘whole person’ education for young people, and prepare people better for lifelong learning, which many see as essential in order to adapt to the changes we cannot yet foresee.
45) We recommend introducing our radical whole school personal empowerment programs (including parents), which offer enormous potential to make positive, sustainable culture change, first at Key Stage 3, then at all other Key Stages.
In becoming more inspired, motivated and empowered students at Key Stage 3 will also be more open to further learning and have greater confidence and belief in their own ability to attain and achieve throughout their whole education experience. They become positive contributors to their family, community and society.
46) We recommend piloting our approach by recruiting and training an existing teacher from 10 secondary schools, they continue their teaching commitments for 50% of the time, whilst being trained to become a DYC Empowerment coach. They would also have oversight of the students’ progression in relation to their goals and career choices. The schools would be in a relatively close-knit defined area where they would be able to share experiences and we would be able to track the progress, isolate the results and data. These schools would need to be allowed flexibility from the Department of Education, Ofsted and the local authority to participate in the program.
47) Our cost to train, manage, provide all materials, oversee the first year, including the license fee for the Empowerment Coach would be £20,000 each, by the end of year 1 each school could be self-sufficient. Subsequent years the cost will be £12,000 each to manage the data, reporting and ensure authenticity, efficacy and congruency of the program, details are:
- 1 x Empowerment coach per school – 20 hours a week – pay is based pro-rata on the deputy head salary.
- Coach recruitment from stock of teaching staff in participating schools. School would need to recruit part time teacher to job share and make up shortfall 20 hours.
- Teacher coach to coach students and co worker teachers and parent group.
- Teacher coach to recruit fellow teachers students and parents.
Roll out progress….
- Co worker teachers then bring coaching ethos into school lesson by lesson.
- Students to champion coaching ethos throughout school and influence at home and personal social groups.
- Parents to champion coaching ethos at home and in personal social groups.
- Change the ethos and culture of the school
- Up skill every member of the school community
- Transform our society and save billions in public services budgets.
- Britain can become a world leading innovator and market leader in the 4thIndustrial Revolution.
48) The government to implement a ‘tracking process’ for completed apprenticeships with training providers reporting and publishing details on their websites with attention to soft skills and ongoing, personal development support.
If you would like to know how we create and implement the programs to achieve a totally self-sufficient school by the end of year 1 and provide the foundation for a sustainable and empowered learning community, contact us.