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Ready for work? UK youth ambitious but uncertain about their future careers

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 July 2021

Ingrid Schoon, Golo Henseke.

What are the career expectations of young people aged 16-25 in the current climate of economic uncertainty – and how do schools prepare them for the transition into the labour market in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic? These questions are examined in a new report out today (July 21). The report is part of a large-scale project to track youth employment, learning, career development and wellbeing during the pandemic in the UK and abroad.

Career expectations

Based on data collected in March and again in May 2021 from a representative sample of 1,542 16 to 25-year-olds in Britain we find that young people have ambitious educational and occupational goals, although there are high levels of uncertainty about future careers.

Young people who had formal career preparation, such as (more…)

Covid-19 and young people: we need to talk about job skills

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 July 2021

Golo Henseke, Ingrid Schoon.

Today is World Youth Skills Day and this year it’s more important than ever.

From the start of the first lockdown in March 2020, young people’s prospects worsened significantly across many areas of their lives. Alongside challenges to wellbeing, young people were confronted with lost learning at school, colleges and universities, heightened labour market uncertainty, and a potential decline in internships and work experience placements.

While lost learning at primary and secondary level received significant attention, the impact of lost job skills learning and career preparation for young people has been largely missing from the conversation.

In a new report, which will be out on July 21, we shed light on young people’s career readiness and how it might affect their behaviour as they begin navigating an uncertain labour market. The report is part of a large-scale project to track youth employment, (more…)

Who is included, who is excluded and what can we do to promote inclusion for all children?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 June 2021

Claire Cameron, Jo Van Herwegen, Mark Mon-Williams, Aase Villadsen.

“Covid 19 constitutes the greatest crisis that high-income countries have seen in many generations,” says UNICEF in its recent analysis. And children “are among those at greatest risk of seeing their living standards fall and their personal well-being decline”.

This, in turn, threatens to broaden the group of children at risk of exclusion – not just for misbehaviour, but because they have needs that are not being met. The danger is that, in the pandemic’s aftermath, we focus on ‘catch up’ learning for the relatively advantaged, and neglect the long-term health, wellbeing, and competency benefits of inclusive education for all students – especially those who are poor and ‘near poor’.

Now is the time to think how we can organise structures, services, and systems in every school so that all (more…)

Year 6’s: ‘ready, strong and brave’ for the transition to secondary in the time of Covid

Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 June 2021

Katya Saville and Sandra Leaton Gray.

Since the second lockdown lifted in March and all students were able to return to school, much attention has been placed on the need for schools to help students ‘catch up’ on lost learning. However, our research this year found that the pandemic’s impact on the learning of students in England who were moving from primary to secondary school (Year 7) varied widely.

While many teachers in our study reported that a reasonable degree of learning continued during the first lockdown, almost a third found a wide variation between students. For instance, in interview, one teacher contrasted the difficulties for students in large families with little technological access with the accelerated learning which occurred for other vulnerable students who were able to access in-school provision.

One of our key recommendations, therefore, is to invest heavily in technological infrastructure and training, particularly as our survey findings indicate that, even (more…)

Leadership: how schools can build on their creative, community-based responses to the pandemic

Blog Editor, IOE Digital15 April 2021

annawaldl / Pixabay

Peter Earley.

The pandemic has brought schools’ vital role at the heart of their communities into sharp relief, says visiting professor and former Chief HMI Christine Gilbert in the first of a series of Thinkpieces published by the UCL Centre for Educational Leadership (CEL). The paper will be followed by a public online forum on Tuesday 27 April from 5-6-30pm.

Gilbert’s ThinkpieceComing Back Stronger: Leadership Mattersargues that the pandemic provides an excellent opportunity for the education system to build our learning from the crisis into collaborative thinking, planning and action. Schools’ creativity in managing the disruption and complexities of the pandemic provides important lessons. It is now essential for school and other educational leaders to find time for reflection on that learning.

Her Thinkpiece identifies five leadership opportunities for building a (more…)

Quick catch-up or recovery over time? a systems perspective on the pandemic, part 2

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 March 2021

Melanie Ehren.

Education is going through a massive transformation globally with teachers gaining new digital skills, online teaching materials being developed and parents getting much more immersed in their children’s education. These transformations are, however, not benefitting all students equally, as discussed in Part 1 of this blog, with those from deprived backgrounds losing out on learning when schools were closed.

Across the world, policy-makers are thinking about how to build back better systems; in England, Sir Kevan Collins was recently appointed as the Education Recovery Commissioner, with the responsibility of overseeing a programme of catch-up but also proposing a strategy for long-term recovery.

Here are my three take-away messages for where to prioritize short-term catch up of learning loss, and how we (more…)

Quick catch-up or recovery over time? A systems perspective on the pandemic, part 1

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 March 2021

Melanie Ehren.

While the pandemic has been disruptive to all learners, it has been more so for lower-income students. They have been particularly hard hit because of a lack of home support for online learning, limited access to good wifi or a laptop and a lack of quiet space to learn at home.

Initial studies indicate that students from deprived backgrounds have learned less compared to their more affluent peers, and their ‘lost learning’ amounts to the time schools were closed. A study by Engzell et al (2020) for example compared the result of school tests in the Netherlands before and after lockdown in spring 2020 with results from the previous three years, and found that losses are up to 55% larger among students from less-educated homes. The pandemic has brought the already existing inequalities into sharper focus and increased concern about the widening gap.

PIRO4D / Pixabay

Across the world, governments are announcing proposals to try and eliminate further unfair disparities and (more…)

How can we help teachers to support their students in catching up?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital23 February 2021

Diana Laurillard.

Teaching in every education sector has changed beyond all recognition over the past year and the dramatic conversion from primarily face-to-face teaching to wholly online has been accomplished by the teaching community almost entirely without help. Some universities, colleges and schools have central technical support staff who have offered guidance and resources to teachers, but it has hardly been commensurate with the scale and difficulty of the change.

So let’s begin with a simple acknowledgement of the extraordinary work done by all those teachers who somehow discovered how to reinvent their entire way of teaching, while also managing the pressures and commitments of lockdown and home-schooling.

There is an expectation now across the teaching and education community that the new-found skills will continue to be deployed, as both students and teachers discover that there is value in mixing conventional and online methods, to achieve the optimal ‘blended learning’ mix. We may as well plan this, for two reasons: (more…)

A-level and GCSE cancellation: a missed opportunity to rethink assessment

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 January 2021

Lincoln Beddoe/Shutterstock

Mary Richardson.

GCSE and A-level exams in England have been cancelled, opening the door to a repeat of the confusion that marked the award of grades in 2020.

The cancellation of exams in March 2020 in England was followed by the realisation that an algorithm created to moderate the data provided by schools had led to significant reduction in final grades for many thousands of students. This debacle led to a crisis in public trust in national testing systems in England.

The students most likely to be disadvantaged by this method of grade awarding were from the poorest backgrounds. Within a few days of the results being announced, the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin (more…)

How should we assess school students now that exams have been cancelled?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital8 January 2021

Jake Anders, Lindsey Macmillan, Gill Wyness, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities

This article was originally published by Economics Observatory

To avoid a repeat of last summer’s exam chaos, the government must decide quickly on alternative assessment measures. There is a strong case for A-level students to receive in-class testing – with flexible timing and content – to take account of differences in their learning experiences.

While the uncertainties of a global pandemic make this one of the most volatile periods of education policy in history, if there is one lesson we should all have learned since last March, it is that indecision is costly. This has proved true repeatedly for public health and looks just as relevant for education.

As we saw with last summer’s exam fiasco, the failure to act decisively led to there being little alternative but to (more…)