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Archive for the 'young people' Category

Climate change education: what happened at COP27 and what happens next?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital23 November 2022

Photo: UNFCC via Creative Commons

Kate Greer and Nicola Walshe, Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education (CCCSE).

So, how was COP?

Good…? Exhausting…? Productive…? Challenging…?

It is difficult to sum up the experience of attending the annual UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP. COP can be heartwarming and heartbreaking. It can leave you feeling determined and despairing. Motivated and overwhelmed. Fearful and hopeful. All at the same time. Intertwined with the tangle of feelings that we bring home from our experience at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, one thing is (relatively) clear. This year, COP27 resulted in good news for education. Through an immense collaborative effort of Member Parties and Observers, progress was made towards implementing an internationally coordinated educational response to climate change. Here, we briefly reflect on this achievement and its implications for climate change education in England and further afield.

Of foremost importance for education is that at COP27 countries agreed to a new global Action Plan on Action for Climate Empowerment, or ACE. ACE is the term used to describe a broad area of work set out in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) and the Paris Agreement (2015) which includes education alongside five other elements: (more…)

School belonging: the conviction of hope

Blog Editor, IOE Digital1 November 2022

The School Belonging Colloquium Team: Julia Dobson, Professor Kathryn Riley (back row, left to right) Kristy Campbell, Dr Rahil Alipour ( front row, left to right)

The School Belonging Colloquium Team: Julia Dobson, Professor Kathryn Riley (back row, left to right); Kristy Campbell, Dr Rahil Alipour (front row, left to right)

Kathryn Riley.

It’s time to hone our skills. As educators in a chaotic national climate, we need to bear witness to what is happening today and its impact on our young people. We also need to walk the path of hope and possibilities. This is not easy.

Disconnection, disengagement and disillusionment are in the air. Poverty and insecurity are growing, with significant consequences for the very fabric of society. Yet how we talk and act as educators, will influence how young people see themselves today and view their future place in the world.

At a recent UCL School Belonging Colloquium, Dame Mary Marsh, one-time CEO of the NSPCC saw the contemporary challenge in these terms: the biggest poverty of all is that of hope’. In today’s strange, dark and difficult times schools, wherever they are in the world, need to be places of belonging and hope. (more…)

The disadvantage gap: children of austerity or children of adversity?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital6 September 2022

chezbeate / Pixabay

Neil Kaye.

Last month, hundreds of thousands of young people nervously opened their GCSE results – the first time in the post-pandemic world that such exams had been sat by a full cohort of Year 11 students. Whilst the headlines focused on the apparent fall in average grades from those of the previous two years, the results also highlight a seemingly-inevitable outcome of our present education system: the persistence of a ‘disadvantage’ attainment gap.

A recent IFS report concluded that, “despite decades of policy attention, there has been virtually no change in the ‘disadvantage gap’ in GCSE attainment over the past 20 years”. Whilst some improvement has been noted, modelling by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) from before the pandemic observed that “at the current rate of progress, it would take over 500 years for this gap to close completely at the end of secondary school” (Lupton & Hayes, 2021).

So, is this gap in attainment inevitable? Is it ‘baked’ into the system? Are the policies of successive governments doomed to failure, or have they (more…)

Belonging part 3: ‘This is how we look, this is how we talk…’

Blog Editor, IOE Digital13 July 2022

 Illustration by Kristy Campbell

Kathryn Riley.

There is a curiously British aversion to talking about matters that might upset the neighbours. This feeling lurks at the back of many a staffroom, like some unwelcome spectre at the feast, or an aged parrot on the shoulder, grown weary by the passing of the years. Yet, disturb things we must. If schools are to become places of belonging, then some difficult conversations need to take place. This blog – the third in the ‘Belonging’ Series – is about how.

In 1981, I was teaching in a South London secondary school when the Brixton Riots erupted. In their wake, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher brought in senior judge Lord Scarman to examine the causes. His excoriating report pointed to (more…)

Belonging part 1:  the ‘red card’ of exclusion

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 June 2022

Kathryn Riley.

‘You must shun (this girl) .. avoid her company, exclude her from your sports, shut her out of your converse… (she) is a liar’.  So pronounced Mr Brocklehurst, proprietor of Lowood School. His venom was directed against Jane Eyre, the eponymous heroine of Charlotte Bronte’s novel.

Some time ago, I interviewed young people who had been excluded from school. They drew pictures of how they felt. One image has long haunted me. At the center is a small child looking distraught. The caption around the drawing reads:

      You’re thick..  You’re stupid..  You don’t belong here..  Get out of my school… (more…)

Do teenagers who feel anxious about testing achieve worse GCSE grades?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 June 2022

John Jerrim.

Before all our lives were turned upside-down by the coronavirus pandemic, there was much concern over how GCSE examinations were affecting young people’s mental health. For some young people, the stress and anxiety induced by these examinations can be severe. This could then become a vicious circle, whereby anxiety about the exams can lead young people to achieve lower grades on them.

I explore this issue in my new academic paper, investigating whether GCSE grades are indeed lower amongst Year 11 pupils who suffer from high-levels of test anxiety. (more…)

Rethinking assessment: is the ‘oral essay’ a realistic alternative to the written essay in HE?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital31 May 2022

Students prepare for oral exam

© MINES ParisTech / S. Boda 2020 via Creative Commons

Katia Dowdle.

‘I own the words I speak more than I own the words that I write’. (student’s sentiment recorded by Joughin)

Higher education students in the UK are predominantly assessed through the medium of writing, with essays being the most common type of assignment. As an academic writing tutor, I have been ‘part of the system’ for several years now, preparing foundation students to understand and appropriately address essay tasks in their university studies.

The mere existence of my job has depended on the long-lived and cherished tradition of essay writing as a means to facilitate learning, diagnose students’ progress and assess understanding. I have always admired the format of academic essay that has an inherent potential to give learners space for expressing new and original ideas and, at the same time, demonstrating their deep understanding of the existing knowledge.

Students have not always shared my enthusiasm though. Moreover, the combination of independent thought and experts’ (more…)

Is there is a link between Year 11s’ wellbeing and their GCSE grades?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital28 April 2022

John Jerrim.

The 2021/22 academic year is due to see the return of GCSE examinations after a Covid-enforced two-year hiatus. Before the pandemic hit, there was much concern about how these high-stakes examinations may be affecting young people’s mental health.

At the same time, it was recognised that those Year 11s who were struggling with their wellbeing could see their GCSE grades suffer as a result. Yet we actually know relatively little about this key issue – how strong is the link between the wellbeing of Year 11 pupils and the GCSE grades they achieve?

This blog takes a look at the evidence, drawing upon work I have published today in a new academic paper. (more…)

Does it matter if you don’t get a C (or 4) grade in GCSE mathematics?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 March 2022

John Jerrim.

To Year 11s, GCSEs can seem the be-all and end-all of life. Having worked hard throughout secondary school, many young people put themselves under great pressure to do well in these exams.

While many will get the grades they hope for, some will inevitably end up feeling disappointed. This is likely to include those who fail to achieve a C/4 grade in a key subject such as mathematics, given the emphasis placed upon this high-stakes grade threshold within our education system.

But what impact does missing a C/4 grade in GCSE mathematics really have? When young people receive their GCSE results, are they right to feel despondent if they have missed this grade? Or does it not really matter that much, in the grand scheme of things?

This blog – drawing upon evidence from my recently released paper – takes a closer look. (more…)

How has the pandemic affected young people’s job skills?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital16 December 2021

Francis Green, Golo Henseke and Ingrid Schoon.

With skill shortages widely reported, you may be wondering what’s been happening to the learning of job skills among young people during Covid. It is already obvious that, following Brexit, we in Britain cannot rely as much on the skills of migrants – and this doesn’t just mean for picking apples or driving lorries. Across the board it is widely accepted that we are going to need to step up the training of Britain’s young people, our future workers for decades to come, if standards of living are to be sustained while the economy adjusts to post-Brexit realities and to climate change.

But hasn’t the pandemic put a large damper on hopes of an upturn in our skills? How could Britain’s youth get on with their education when so many schools were closed, and how could they train for careers when they (more…)