Why it’s time to recognise schools as social motion leaders

New awards goal to recognise schools for all of the work they try this goes far past {qualifications} and transforms communities, explains Shelagh Legrave

New awards goal to recognise schools for all of the work they try this goes far past {qualifications} and transforms communities, explains Shelagh Legrave

Because the additional training commissioner and a robust advocate for the sector, I see the worth that schools add to their communities each single day. Additional training is a driver of social mobility that allows folks from all backgrounds to achieve the {qualifications} they should obtain their profession targets.

However what we have now seen over the previous two years is an outstanding motion inside the sector that has begun to mirror the true further worth that it gives. Over 140 FE schools signed as much as the Good for Me, Good for FE marketing campaign in 2021, which so far has generated over £4 million of actual social worth via volunteering.

This determine – verified by a social motion calculator based mostly on the TOMS framework – is the results of a rare collective volunteering and fundraising effort led by faculty workers and college students. A lot of this exercise was ongoing earlier than the marketing campaign launch, however by equating it with a financial worth, schools have been motivated and impressed to extend and broaden their contribution.

The need and dedication of individuals inside the sector to assist others is clear. That is regardless of the various working pressures skilled by FE workers and displays the inherent group spirit that runs via schools. It has additionally additional bolstered the significance of schools as civic anchor establishments.

College students too are taking part in an vital half. We’re seeing an enormous quantity of inspirational help from younger folks throughout the nation’s schools, with pupil unions driving spectacular fundraising and volunteering exercise. For instance, a bunch of scholars and workers cooking meals for the homeless and becoming a member of me in sleeping in cardboard bins to lift consciousness and funds. That is notably vital to me since I’ve chaired an area homeless charity board for over ten years.

College students and workers have additionally raised cash for Macmillan by promoting desserts; they’ve sponsored and joined in Moonwalks for his or her native hospices; they’ve sponsored younger folks to attend college in Kenya and travelled there to assist construct infrastructure. In Chichester, engineering, journey & tourism and development workers got here collectively to plan and construct a kids’s play space in a disadvantaged a part of town. I may go on!

We have now seen an exceptional motion inside the sector

These actions profit everybody – the recipients and the individual providing the help. Volunteering is confirmed to positively have an effect on psychological well being, which was very a lot a part of the rationale behind the Good for Me, Good for FE marketing campaign.

Crucially, the abilities and data younger folks develop via volunteering actions are immense – from bettering communication to creating a first-hand understanding of a particular business. Gaining expertise inside a office (or some other non-education setting) shouldn’t be solely worthwhile however important for each younger individual, whether or not it’s paid or unpaid.

Plus, somebody who has proven dedication and dedication to a voluntary placement regularly is extraordinarily engaging to a future employer. Volunteering is unequivocally advantageous to everybody concerned. I imagine it must be inspired on a a lot wider scale.

With such stark, all-round advantages – coupled with the goodwill and social conscience discovered inside FE communities, schools must harness and improve this incredible potential.

By encouraging workers and college students to undertake community-focused actions, schools could be social motion leaders. Whether or not this entails giving workers some annual ‘volunteering days’ or supporting college students to take up placements at voluntary companies or organisations, all may have an extremely optimistic affect.

The worth a school provides to its area people has apparent reputational advantages. Main by instance on this means as anchor establishments displays how schools ship rather more than simply {qualifications}.

That’s why I’m so happy to be on the judging panel of the inaugural Good for Me, Good for FE awards. These will recognise and have a good time a few of the superb people, groups and schools who go above and past to help their communities – serving to to make FE the distinctive sector it’s.

I sit up for listening to the winners’ tales – and people of all of the runners-up – and celebrating their exhausting work. I very a lot hope this may encourage extra folks to become involved in order that extra communities, together with employers, can reap the advantages of a co-ordinated and profitable social motion motion throughout our great sector.

Nominations for the 2023 Good for Me, Good for FE awards shut at 11.59pm, September 29, 2023.

Author: ZeroToHero