Fair Education Alliance
Nurtureuk is proud to be part of the Fair Education Alliance (FEA), a coalition of over 100 of the UK’s leading organisations from across the education, charities and business sectors that are committed to tackling educational inequality. The FEA’s aim is to work towards ending the persistent achievement gap between young people from our poorest communities and their wealthier peers.
The FEA's 2019 report card found that if current 5 years trends continue, it would take over 500 years for the overall disadvantage gap which exists at the end of secondary school to close. In fact in many areas the difference has increased in recent years. Children with special educational needs, which includes those with social, emotional and mental health needs are the most disadvantaged.
The Alliance has identified three priorities for the change needed to make this happen:
- We need an education system that develops the whole child: a system which values and incentivises skills and social and emotional competencies alongside academic attainment. Accountability and funding incentives need to be directed to outcomes beyond a sole emphasis on academic attainment. Recent changes to the Ofsted framework help us to re-focus, but this needs to be further embedded in what we are assessing, measuring and incentivising.
- We need to focus on supporting great teachers and leaders: to achieve fair education for every child we need great teachers in every school, serving every community. To empower teachers to deliver the best for pupils, we need school leaders who set a vision and climate in which their teams can thrive.
- We need better support for young people on what their options are post-16: all young people need access to clear, timely, easy to understand information about the opportunities available to them after school, as well as exposure to different routes. They need this so that they can make the right choices for their future. That future will require high levels of technical skill as well as deep knowledge; intellectually rigorous technical provision must stand alongside academic options.
Previous work by the FEA found that children and young people from poor families were more likely to receive a fixed period exclusion or to be permanently excluded when compared to their more affluent peers. Furthermore, findings show that children from poor families are still more likely to have poorly developed social and emotional skills and are less likely to display the particular positive behavioural skills needed for engagement in learning.