The second of our blogs for the Herald Business magazine came out in June. In it, Animate partner Jo reflected on whether our education system prepares young people for work:
It is incontrovertible that the future of work will be shaped by increasing digitalisation, artificial intelligence and robotics. There will be little need for employees to undertake repetitive work and the evolution of intelligent networked machines will increasingly impact on the service sector. These prospects are both exciting and terrifying – will they lead to more leisure time or to mass unemployment and migration?
Finland is renowned for achieving high levels of literacy and numeracy by investing in teachers (many have Masters Degrees), prioritising early childhood care, and giving schools autonomy. The curriculum additionally puts an emphasis on the arts, and outdoor activities – and has minimal homework and tests. They are changing their approach because they recognise the world is changing and they need to better equip children with the competences needed.
So where does this leave us in Scotland? The Curriculum for Excellence encourages more collaborative and project based approaches to learning but we still have a culture of training young people to pass exams. The Scottish Government has recognised attainment is slipping and that there is a widening gap between those who achieve and those who don’t. It has committed itself to delivering excellence and equity by closing the attainment gap between children living in the most and least deprived areas. There is much to be hopeful about.
The Pupil Equity Fund (PEF) is a recent innovation which the Scottish Government allocates to schools with children in P1 to S3 most affected by the poverty-related attainment gap. It gives headteachers the autonomy to respond to local needs. For the most deprived children this is a lifeline.
One of our Animate team is on the board of With Kids, a charity which provides play therapy to children aged eight to 11 and support to families in Glasgow, West Lothian and Edinburgh. With Kids has been approached by schools newly in receipt of PEF in the east end and north of Glasgow. To give these resources directly to headteachers is a bold step, and one which hopefully signifies a new level of trust in the profession’s capacity to innovate and provide the conditions that support learning and increased attainment.
You can read the full article from Herald Business magazine here