Educational inequality has become a serious threat which affects thousands of students who are defined by their social background. In order to cope with this, the Fair Education Alliance was launched recently. The new coalition is formed by an alliance of children’s charities, teachers’ organisations and employers. It aims to eradicate the unrelenting achievement gap between children from UK’s wealthiest communities and their poorer peers. The Alliance, united by a common objective, will work together to develop lasting solutions regarding educational inequality. It will also supervise the annual progress to lessen the gap in academic achievement.
The Fair Education Alliance
The Fair Education Alliance is determined to reduce the gap in literacy and numeracy among poor and rich children in various parts of England. The alliance believes that developing the present state of education is essential for growth of economy in future. The project has brought together 25 different establishments including the CBI, National Association of Head Teachers, Barnardo’s and Teach First.
Other organisations involved with the Fair Education Alliance include –
- Achievement for All
- The Prince’s Trust
- Business in the Community
- Campaign for Learning
- National Children’s Bureau
- National Literacy Trust
- Save the Children
- The RSA
Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, said, “This new campaign underlines the importance of our mission to improve state education. Every child should have the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background. That is why we are investing in the poorest through the pupil premium, setting higher standards for all children through our new curriculum and qualifications, and helping hundreds of struggling schools”.
Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, also voiced his support for this alliance by stating that “The Fair Education Alliance has set out a series of bold and ambitious goals for the next ten years. The aim: to end the link between social disadvantage and educational inequality that blights our society. I have no doubt today’s launch, bringing together so many powerful organisations, marks an important milestone in tackling the scar of the country’s education divide”.
Reducing “Collective Failure” with “Impact Goals”
The alliance believes that there is a “collective failure” to eradicate educational inequality in the United Kingdom. According to the Fair Education Alliance “The most recent data reveals a stagnating map of educational inequality”. The project, launched at 2014 Sunday Times Festival of Education, Wellington College is ready set some “impact goals” that will significantly lessen the social divide in educational achievement.
The common goals has been set by the alliance after consulting with 1,700 teachers & education experts, businesses and charities to improve the educational journey of students in the nation. Some of the set goals are –
Reduce the gap in literacy & numeracy at primary level
Reduce the gap in GCSE accomplishment at secondary level
Assure that students develop core strengths that will facilitate their aspirations
Reduce the gap in the proportion of students participating in higher studies or vocational training after completing their GCSEs
Reduce the gap in college/university graduation by at least 8 per cent
The first goal to reduce numeracy and literacy gaps at primary schools is highly important. Currently primary schools located in wealthier regions are experiencing better results than the schools situated in comparatively poorer territories. The campaign is determined to narrow this gap by at least 90 percent. According to the alliance, if every poor student in England manages to perform as good as their disadvantaged peers in London, then almost 65 per cent of the gap can be removed immediately. The second goal is also essential and the project aims to reduce the GCSE results attainment gap by about 44 per cent.
Making Pupils More Resilient
The Fair Education Alliance is also determined to help students develop “resilience and well-being” as this will not only lessen inequality but will also help in providing equal access to college/university to students from all social backgrounds.
Brett Wigdortz, Chief Executive of Teach First, said “I believe we are wasting talent on an industrial scale. By joining forces, we can ensure every child has a fair chance in education and life. We know all political parties and parents believe in this mission – it is time to change that belief into united action”.
The Director-General of the CBI, John Cridland, commented “The quality of our schools is one of the most important factors for the future success of our economy and society, so it’s essential all our young people get the support they need to fulfil their potential”.
Michael Gove extended his full support to the project saying, “I welcome this new alliance of influential educational, charitable and business organisations to help us defeat the entrenched inequality of opportunity which has been a feature of our education system for far too long”.