Bad news for the compulsory school leaving age in Britain

So we all know that our compulsory school leaving age is being increased, to 18 by 2015 (Hodgson and Spours, 2008) and while educational participation and attainment may be on the rise globally as well as nationally we do need to wonder about what the consequences may be.

While I am not an expert on this topic I have come across one piece of information during my literature review for my dissertation that concerns me…

Most OECD countries have a 90% or higher completion of compulsory education.

However 14 OECD countries and associated countries have lower then 90% compulsory education completion, 10 out of 14 of these have a high compulsory attendance leaving age for example around 17 and 18 (OECD, 2012).

While I do not have any direct correlation between the leaving age and the completion of school it seems logical that if someone doesn’t like something they are more likely to leave if they feel that it will last a long time. So having an increased leaving age may have the potential of putting people off attending school.

One way that this could be combated is to give students a meaningful accreditation solely for good attendance at school, this may bring them some incentive to attend until the end of their compulsory education, this is a method used in Japanese kōtōgakkō or upper secondary schools for 15-18year olds (Howarth, 1991).

Hodgson, A and Spours, K (2008). Education and Training 14-19 curriculum, qualifications & organisation. London: Sage Publications LTD.

Howarth, M (1991). Britain’s Educational Reform: A Comparison with Japan. London: Routladge.

OECD (2012) Education Today 2013: The OECD Perspective. OECD Publishing. 

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Can youth club combine forces with the internet to create a modern desirable youth service?

The internet… the world in which many of us now live in. People can access the internet from near enough anywhere in the world, young people are growing up in an age where access to the internet is increasing and alongside this is their access to social media, gaming, online study, shopping and a whole host of other things.

Upon reflection of my own experience (I am considered a young person) I can remember back to my Primary School education where we had one computer for the whole school to access which meant that we used it around once a fortnight or possibly even less, this changed during High School when I had I.T lessons at least once a week and a library with constant free computer access. Now in 2012 I feel strange if I cannot access a computer/the internet for one day, everywhere I go there is computer access, my home, my phone (for when I’m on my travels), my family and friend’s homes, university, work, the list goes on…

If I can take an example from one of the youth clubs that I work in, we have 2 computers for people to use with an internet connection speed of around 0.2mbps (only a slight exaggeration). So as you can imagine people don’t come to us to use our internet!! They come for other things such as sport, cooking, arts and crafts and mostly for social, chill out time in a comfortable place. But for every one person who comes to youth club in our area there must be at least another 100 that don’t attend. Are they all hanging out on social networking sites such as facebook? Browsing the internet or playing games on consoles that use the internet to create gaming communities such as the Xbox live?

The reason that I am reflecting about this is that I can see a drop in the number of attendees at youth club which my team and my manager have discussed. My manager believes it is because young people are all on Xbox live and I have come to the conclusion that while we do not ‘compete’ with the internet for young people’s interest the internet is definitely an addictive, exciting place to be! So will we get with the times and become partners with the internet in the way that we work (for example utilising it for it’s benefits and combining this with our work to create a more tailored youth service) or will we soon end up in a history book/online document?

*Note I am aware that some youth services have already utilised the internet in their work with young people and if you would like to share stories of this please do so.

Reanimate Education

Video

Taking this info directly from the youtube link
‘This animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award.
For more information on Sir Ken’s work visit: http://www.sirkenrobinson.com’

It refers to American education but can be applied to other industrialised countries educational as well.

Thank You

Where are we going now? 2011 riots research summary

When individuals commit crimes of theft and destruction on a large scale within society our reaction is to aslongside penalising individuals involved also ask why did this happen and how can we provent it from happening again?

And so since the summer riots of 2011 a study has been commissioned to interview individuals from the areas of London affected ‘After the Riots’ the final report of the Riot Communities and Victims Panel has now been published find the link here http://riotspanel.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Riots-Panel-Final-Report.pdf

Below is a summary of the findings of this report…please feel free to comment and add to this yourselves.

The report calls for

opportunities for all (including the young), people to respect where they live and each other, people to feel they have a stake within society, greater inter-partnership of voluntary and statutory services working for individuals in society who are struggling, police and public law to uphold the law and order, a penalising and reformative criminal justice system within all communities.

After the Riots states that there are different reasons why people may commit crimes and anti-social/anti-community behaviour and highlight 6 key areas that would build economic and social resilience within our communities.

  1. Children and Parents :- many communities involved in the research believed they rioting was a result of poor parenting. Therefore the report states that there is a need to make sure children are getting support, guidance and control from their families. The report continues to talk about the government ‘Troubled Families Programme which is believed (in a poll of 80 local authorities) to overlap with rioters families by 5%. There are key principles outlined for services that work with families; early intervention,  evidence based support for the communities to access, planning for families and not just individuals, to share data across agencies working with families to save time, an advocate for children who need to reach their potential as opposed to looking at their deficits, giving children positive role models within families or communities (including contacting absent fathers about there children).
  2. Building Personal Resilience :- many young people expressed hopelessness to the panel, the panels suggests that families are to instil character into young people including self discipline, application and the ablility to deal with set backs. Where families cannot do this children’s and young people’s services are responsible for this. Also there is also a need for schools to develop their policies on building character, testing their pupils on their character development.
  3. Hope and Dreams :- record youth unemployment among other things were mentioned in regards to young people’s lack of hopes and dreams. In a survey 43% f people thought that schools prepared people for work, there was also an accusation that schools exclude and transfer students for the wrong reasons.  A fifth of school leavers have literacy skills of or below that of an 11 year old, there is a recommendation that schools which fail to provide people with the appropriate literacy skills should pay the cost of raising their attainment via the new provider. There are also recommendations that schools to more to stop truancy and to only exclude as a last resort, there should also be inspection into transfers to ensure a transferred student has not lost any quality in their education. The report states that there is a need for a careers support quality guarantee for all pupils expressing what a child can expect in terms of guidance and support. Businesses should be an ambassador for schools.  Core NEETs (those out of education, employment or training for a year) should have a job promise form the government and a job guarantee for those NEET for two years.
  4. Riots and the Brands :- a majority of shops targeted stocked high value goods, the panel asks businesses to adopt CSR (corporate social responsibility) including apprenticeships and work opportunities. The panel asks the government to support businesses to give something back to the communities such as offering shareholder participation to shorten the growing capitalist wealth gap. In order to address concerns that pressure is put on young people through advertisement the panel writes that the Advertising Standards Authority include materialism into their engagement with young people to build their resilience to it.
  5. Usual Suspects :- the need for early intervention with offenders such as Triage, improving resources for offenders and effective punishment and rehabilitation of offenders is suggested by the panel. Alongside suggestions for community projects for offenders including unpaid work, there is also a need for inter-partnership working and mentoring for each offender.  Due to negative images of police services integrity within communities the panel states that police engage with the communities they work within to tackle negative perceptions, including improving the treatment of individuals on minor occasions by the police.
  6. Community Engagement, Involvement and Cohesion :-  there needs to develop community engagement and communication capabilities as the report found that community members felt they could not interfere with other’s lives but also felt their is a need for communities to help develop families and households. The use of community members within community projects is vital the report found as people will react more effectively with their ‘peers’ than their ‘officials’. The report suggests that volunteering be at the heart of community development.

TEDxObserver-Plan B telling Britain about it’s young people

Video

Please watch this if you haven’t seen it Ben Drew (Plan B) makes some very bold points about how we could all be more community minded, this is empowering stuff and I wish him all the luck he needs to make his project a success!

Thank You

Are we at risk of a NEET overload? All I hear is NEET, NEET, NEET here have some facts

This time a year ago I think the word ‘NEET’ was a purely professional or academic term that I had personally had heard about 3times now it seems to be everywhere;

In the news…

In my work meetings…

In youth conferences…

On the television…

Within schools…

Articles, books…you get the picture

So what does ‘NEET’ mean and what exactly is this ‘NEET phenomena’ that is exploding across news papers, funding bids and social policy agendas costing tax payers and British society a lot of money I’m sure.

The following is Information from my Literature Research that I thought I’d share, please feel free to add and comment!

NEET= ‘Not in employment, education or training’ some others may refer to this as NETLE= ‘Not in employment, training, learning or education’ whichever way you look at it means someone who is not earning or learning (theoretically). However I’d like to mention that NEET’s include people who volunteer of their own accord and do many things outside of earning and learning and so it in no way means that for people to be NEET they are doing NOTHING. In fact I’m sure many NEETs are learning very valuable life lessons everyday unless they are literally doing NOTHING AT ALL in which case I’m sure they will disappear entirely.

NEET is just a current term for social exclusion; social exclusion has been on the political agenda since the early 1990’s. Labour made social exclusion a focus of their campaign into office in 1997 and have aimed policy around supporting those who were socially excluded since. Bridging the Gap was a huge step into the socially excluded correctness zone which aimed to defend the Nation against social exclusion and was a big convincing reason to fund targeted youth services in Britain (the tail end of this may be why I have a job today in fact)!

Social exclusion and NEET seem to be terms that refer to something a person (or people) need to correct immediately why? The reason for this is that being a NEET or socially excluded person creates a higher risk factor for individuals to be involved in substance abuse and criminality. NEET’s are also more likely to be a long term cost on taxation.

Before social exclusion was ‘youth unemployment’, which was a huge political agenda during the 1880’s.

Currently Britain has 260,000 ‘core’ NEETs which means individuals that have been out of employment, training or education for a year.

NEET usually is a term which applies to young people with the majority being 16-18 (except in Wales which last year had a higher 19-25 ratio of NEETs).

I hope this information will be useful to people to other members of society I for one have found it useful in my understanding and placement of political agendas, funding, young people and the current economic climate. I do hope that those who are NEET or NETLE find things that they enjoy doing and perhaps gain employment or seek training in these enjoyments with or without support from government funded schemes, teachers, training providers, learning coaches, youth, social or community workers.

Thank you

Here are some references so that you know I didn’t make all of that up!

Department for Education and Skills. (2002) Estimating the Cost of Being ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ at age 16-18. DfES Publications: Nottingham.

Furlong, A (2006). Not a very NEET solution: representing problematic labour market transitions among early school-leavers. Work, employment and society (20) pp553-569.

Hills, J and Steward, K. (2005) Access on-line here: http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/policies-towards-poverty-inequality-and-exclusion-1997

Rose, J. (2008) Youth Policy in Wales. youth and Policy (56) pp 55-63.

Steward, K. (2009) A Scar on the soul of Britain: child poverty and disadvantage under New Labour. In Hills, J Sefton, T and Steward, K. Towards a more equal society? Poverty, inequality and policy since 1997.

Welsh Assembly Government, 2008, Delivering Skills that Work for Wales: Reducing the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training in Wales.

Yates, S and Payne, M. (2006) Not so NEET? A critique of the use of ‘NEET’ in Setting Targets for Interventions with Young People. Journal of Youth Studies 9 (No 3, July) pp. 329-344.

Children eating, cooking and creating their own future? That’s right we don’t always have to do it for them!

The BBC News has reported on two studies which show that cookery classes encourage pupils to recognise and become more accustomed to ‘healthy’ foods resulting in a desire to eat more fruit and vegetables. Cooking isn’t just a fun, social activity it’s a skill which can be used again and again, making it a very productive form of education. Within this article a survey of 2,500 participants of the ‘Let’s get cooking’ project showed that 92% of them used their learnt skills at home.

Read the full article here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16854572

How can this be related to our current climate?

Cooking is a great way to educate children, young people and even adults on what food choices they have available, where to get them, how much they cost, what exactly they can do with them and how to use ingredients. Young people at the centre where I work love to cook, however we don’t just run cooking sessions due to the recession and budget cuts we tend to run ‘cooking on a budget’ sessions. Where we make wholesome meals (and sometimes desserts) which cost less than £5.00 for a group of people (on average I’d say around 10 people but it depends on what we cook)! So far we’ve made wonderful rice, potato and pasta dishes as well as experimenting with pancakes, chocolate, honeycomb and porridge (not all at the same time I might add!) The young people who participate are now experts at flavouring rice dishes, in love with porridge and can make their own oven chips from scratch, this week we plan to be making chicken burgers which I hope will go well (even if a session doesn’t go a 100% to plan it’s still a learning experience which can be built on).

If no-one in the group has experience of cooking a particular dish we use this website http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/. If anyone can suggest any other sites please comment below, and especially mention it if you know a recipe which will cost less than £5.00 to feed a group (we’re always on the look out for new things to try).

Thank you