Education Scotland’s Strategic Director, Graeme Logan, believes we have a unique opportunity to make the breakthrough needed to close the attainment gap. He is currently leading the Scottish Attainment Challenge in partnership with Scottish Government and local authorities. For him youth work will be very much part of that breakthrough. He sets out his vision for youth work and schools.
At Education Scotland we are supporting schools to design a curriculum that gives all young people the experiences and opportunities to achieve to the highest possible standards. This includes planning key interventions and support from a range of professionals including youth workers. For children living in areas of deprivation, this can often involve widening their experiences and achievements.
Increasingly, we are seeing youth workers work alongside teachers and others who support children and young people, and the sector has a key role to play in helping us to achieve our vision of excellence and equity for every child and young person.
Youth workers often connect with young people in a way that makes a tremendous difference to confidence and self-esteem as well as to knowledge and skills. I have been hugely impressed by work I have seen, some of it when I was a head teacher, where youth workers are extending the experiences, opportunities and achievements for young people and children as young as eight, helping them improve their motivation and engagement.
Curriculum for Excellence broadly describes the experiences and outcomes desired in a wide range of areas including literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing. These three areas are the particular focus of the Scottish Attainment Challenge. In order to achieve curriculum levels, learning needs to take place in a variety of settings and children need to apply their learning in a variety of real-life and practical ways. The most outstanding youth workers will be able to articulate how their work with young people helps to contribute to young people’s attainment in these areas.
There is also an opportunity for youth workers in the new National Improvement Framework . ‘Raising attainment and achievement’ is one of the quality indicators that HM Inspectors will now be assessing in schools, and in very good and excellent examples I would expect the contribution of youth workers and other CLD professionals to feature strongly where young people’s achievements are outstanding.
Education Scotland is working with YouthLink Scotland to implement and monitor the National Youth Work Strategy, and to ensure that we reap the benefits for the Scottish Attainment Challenge, a working group has been set up to interface with both it and the Developing the Young Workforce policy areas. The working group is setting out to articulate a clear, collective message about the contribution that can be made by youth work, and to agree a programme of communications and capacity building. They also want to establish a strategic approach to knowledge brokering and networking.
A quote from Gabriela Mistral resonates deeply within the Scottish Attainment Challenge: “Mankind owes to children the best it has to give. Their life is fragile. If they are to have a tomorrow their needs must be met today. Many things can wait but not the children.”
Schools cannot deliver Curriculum for Excellence on their own. Each curriculum needs to give young people as many opportunities to succeed as possible, and youth workers, along with other partners, have a key role to play in achieving the break-through children need today.
W: educationscotland.gov.uk | Tw: @GLoganEd