The framework for discussing education and social justice is often limited to the formal settings of nurseries, schools, colleges and universities. However, significant learning takes place beyond these confines: at home, in communities, at work and leisure, through activism and volunteering, in arts and popular culture, in nature and via digital media. Continue reading Respecting Young People’s Informal Learning
We must reduce the educational attainment ‘gap’! I agree – 21% of the poorest fifth managing to gain five good GCSEs compared to 75% of the top quintile is unacceptable. Recent government strategy has been to provide schools with a ‘pupil premium’, money for each child receiving free school meals, for the school to use on interventions that raise attainment. I know from our DfE funded research that this is extremely valuable for many schools, although for others it does not come near making up for the fall in funding. Not all children on free school meals underachieve and schools have been wise in the targeting of support to those who need it. But we need a different solution to really make a difference. Continue reading Children’s Zones…Children’s Communities
It is not new news that every year a significant number of young people are eased out, pushed out and kicked out of school. Along the way to permanent exclusion, and the likelihood of becoming a ‘NEET’ statistic, these young people may well have yelled out, acted out, and have walked out of the school gates, vowing never to return. The school system attributes their behaviour variously to: faulty neurological functioning; impaired cognitive/emotional capacity; inadequate parenting; feral peers and/or disconnected and depressed communities. Expert knowledges and specialist staff are brought to bear on these young people in order to ‘support’ them to learn to regulate themselves within the school. Continue reading Ensuring and assuring an educational entitlement for the ‘hard to reach and teach’.
A critical interrogation of policy texts suggest that the way in which education policymakers understand young people’s lives is often problematic – tending to value them largely for their future contribution to society, and stressing the importance of duty rather than more questioning, critical and creative contributions that young people may make. In this short article, I suggest that, in the run-up to the 2015 election, politicians need to be pushed to articulate their understanding of ‘youth’ more clearly and encouraged to place more value on the diversity of contributions young people can make – in the here and now – to wider society. Continue reading Education policymakers’ understanding of young people
More than forty years ago, Basil Bernstein rightly pointed out that ‘education cannot compensate for society’. Then, in 1997, an early critic of New Labour’s attainment targets argued that a serious programme to alleviate child poverty would do far more for school attainment than any modest intervention in schooling itself. Yet politicians still seem to expect schools to equalise life chances in a stratified society. Continue reading Schools, society and social justice