*Press Release* | Closing the Divide: Can education ever be fair for all?

As a member of the Fair Education Alliance (FEA), Whole Education is delighted that Rt Hon Nicky Morgan, Tristram Hunt and Rt Hon David Laws are participating in tonight’s special pre-election debate on solving educational inequality, ‘Closing the Divide: Can education ever be fair for all?’, hosted by the FEA.
 
Schools and Partners within Whole Education are committed to making education fair for all and believe that every child is entitled to a whole education which develops skills, qualities and knowledge as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. These are not simply nice desirables and an add-on to academic attainment, but a route to academic attainment and a more rounded skill set. Moreover, giving young people a fully-rounded education is disproportionately beneficial to those from disadvantaged backgrounds and is an important component in narrowing the gap.
 
 
Collaboration is key to narrowing the attainment gap
 
In order to truly narrow the gap and improve social mobility, we need to focus our attention on helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop the wider skills, qualities and characteristics they need to boost academic attainment and flourish in life, learning and work.
 
We will not succeed in closing the attainment gap by top-down change and punitive analysis, but by understanding and overcoming the barriers to learning for each child through collaborative enquiry between teachers and schools. The Whole Education Network supports this approach through its teacher-led collaborative enquiry model.
 
The Whole Education Network and others like it are integral in taking to scale the sharing of innovative ideas and best practice between schools. But the system is still immature in being school-led. System leaders need to increase the level of collaboration between schools in a consistent way.
 
 
Preparing children for life
 
We need to prepare children for life beyond school and with high levels of youth unemployment, it is crucial that young people leave school with the skills and positive early employment experiences that prepare them for a prosperous future. Steered by schools and teachers, Whole Education works with businesses, charities and universities to support schools in connecting young people to the outside world. It is important that throughout such work, the needs of children remain at the forefront of our actions.
 
 
Delivering a rounded, 'whole' education
 
Across the country, schools within the Whole Education network are undertaking transformative work to address the attainment gap between their pupils through innovative use of the Pupil Premium and other approaches, such as Spirals of Enquiry. It is time for schools to be outward-looking to the good practice taking place, rather than upward-looking.
 
However, schools cannot face the challenge of providing a fair education alone. Charities, universities and businesses must work together with schools through networks such as Whole Education and the Fair Education Alliance if we are truly going to deliver a fair education for all.
 
Ends 
For further information, please contact Lizzy Jones at Lizzy@wholeeducation.org
 
Notes to editors
• Whole Education is a partnership of like-minded schools and organisations and individuals that believe that all young people should have a fully rounded education, developing the knowledge, skills and qualities needed to help them thrive in life and work. Skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication; qualities like resilience and empathy in addition to subject knowledge and a wider understanding of our culture, form what we call a fully-rounded education.
• Whole Education is a member of The Fair Education Alliance; an independent coalition for change in education comprising over 25 of the UK’s leading organisations. Its aim is to work towards ending the persistent achievement gap between young people from our poorest communities and their wealthier peers. Committed to this common goal, the Alliance will both work collectively to find solutions to address educational inequality, as well as annually monitoring the progress made to narrow the gap
• ‘Closing the Divide: Can education ever be fair for all?’ pre-election debate will take place at 7.00pm Thursday 16 April 2015. You can follow the debate on twitter #MakeEducationFair

 

Contact
lizzy@wholeeducation.org

Telephone
0207 250 8054

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