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

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

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

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

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

This determine – verified by a social motion calculator primarily based on the TOMS framework – is the results of a unprecedented collective volunteering and fundraising effort led by school employees 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 develop their contribution.

The need and dedication of individuals throughout the sector to assist others is obvious. That is regardless of the various working pressures skilled by FE employees and displays the inherent group spirit that runs by means of schools. It has additionally additional strengthened the significance of faculties as civic anchor establishments.

College students too are enjoying an vital half. We’re seeing an enormous quantity of inspirational help from younger individuals throughout the nation’s schools, with scholar unions driving spectacular fundraising and volunteering exercise. For instance, a bunch of scholars and employees cooking meals for the homeless and becoming a member of me in sleeping in cardboard packing containers to boost consciousness and funds. That is notably vital to me since I’ve chaired a neighborhood homeless charity board for over ten years.

College students and employees 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 individuals to attend faculty in Kenya and travelled there to assist construct infrastructure. In Chichester, engineering, journey & tourism and building employees got here collectively to plan and construct a youngsters’s play space in a disadvantaged a part of the town. I may go on!

Now we have seen an outstanding motion throughout 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 talents and information younger individuals develop by means of volunteering actions are immense – from enhancing communication to growing a first-hand understanding of a selected business. Gaining expertise inside a office (or every other non-education setting) isn’t solely useful 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 frequently is extraordinarily engaging to a future employer. Volunteering is unequivocally advantageous to everybody concerned. I consider it ought to 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 have to harness and improve this implausible potential.

By encouraging employees and college students to undertake community-focused actions, schools might be social motion leaders. Whether or not this includes giving employees some annual ‘volunteering days’ or supporting college students to take up placements at voluntary providers or organisations, all can have an extremely constructive affect.

The worth a university provides to its area people has apparent reputational advantages. Main by instance on this means as anchor establishments displays how schools ship way 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 rejoice a number 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 arduous work. I very a lot hope it will encourage extra individuals to get entangled 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