How the third sector can help ensure no child is left behind

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Sean Duffy says the third sector has a vital role to play in supporting the education system

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17th December 2019 by TFN Guest 1 Comment

More and more young people are leaving Scottish schools without the qualifications to enter training, employment or further education.

In February we learnt that 2.2 per cent of school leavers were heading into the world with no qualifications at SCQF level 3 or above — that’s a National 3 level qualification in new money or standard grade foundation level in old.

This is an increase from 1.5% in 2013. Consider that this represents more than 1,000 sons, daughters, nieces and nephews leaving our education system to face an uphill battle in the quest to fulfil their potential. We need to ask ourselves how this can be. We’re all born with the same drive to learn, to broaden our horizons, aren’t we?

Sean Duffy

Sean Duffy

This is about ensuring that every young person has the chance to learn and develop skills in a way that’s right for them

There are myriad reasons why our young people leave school without the qualifications that are so often the gateway to great things. Barriers such as dyslexia, crime and living in poverty all affect academic attainment. The needs of young people are becoming more complex too. In the three months to October 64.5% of people referred to child and adolescent mental health services were seen within the recommended standard of 18 weeks. The target is 90%.

Challenges in teacher recruitment and retention mean educators are working within tighter parameters and a large prison population means more families have a relative away from home.

We must look at how the third sector can help to ensure that there is somewhere to go for young people who cannot thrive in traditional learning environments. They need a place where they are in control of their learning at a pace that works for them.

The third sector can provide this and support a system that is stretched at best.

It can give each and every young person the opportunity to establish what they want and what they need to make their way in the world and contribute to our economy.

This isn’t about shaking up the education system. It is about ensuring that every young person has the chance to learn and develop skills in a way that’s right for them and right for the future. It is about driving a cultural change to impart skills and learning differently.

There’s no size that fits all and we have a duty to support people to achieve, no matter what challenges they face.

This article first appeared in The Times.

Sean Duffy is chief executive of the Wise Group and a trustee of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

7th January 2020 by JC

Good read, apart from one line."We’re all born with the same drive to learn, to broaden our horizons, aren’t we?"That's clearly not true, otherwise you'd see siblings, especially twins scoring identically or almost identically across their academic careers.But again, yes charities could support the Education System.