Getting in Early
by Sonia Sodha
Demos has just published our new report on tackling educational disengagement, A Stitch in Time. It’s the interim report of a year-long project that is being generously supported by the Private Equity Foundation.
The report highlights that while we have a significant problem with disengagement from learning in this country – one in ten young people aged 16-18 are not in employment, education and training – the approach to disengagement has been too focused on symptoms and not enough on the causes. So most efforts to tackle disengagement are focused on young people aged 14 plus – but it would be much more effective to tackle the risk factors for disengagement earlier on.
The report also argues that education policy over the last decade has been too focused on rolling out one-size-fits-all national initiatives at the expense of supporting high-quality and evidence-based initiatives at the local level. We highlight some excellent case studies of schools and charities running excellent services to prevent disengagement but find these are less widespread than they could be because of structural barriers at the local level – for example around commissioning – that have been very neglected in education policy.
Our research is ongoing and we will be consulting on our findings throughout the rest of the year. We would very much appreciate any feedback you might have and let us know if you are interested in being kept informed as our research progresses. Watch this space for the final report that will be publishing towards the end of the year!