CfEY at the Festival of Education 2021


3rd July 2021

At this year’s Festival of Education CfEY ran a popular series of events, drawing on key themes from our book ‘Young People on the Margins‘. If you missed the event we have all the sessions available for you to catch up on below.

1. Understanding Young People’s Life-stories

Abi Angus, Senior Research Associate at CfEY, chaired the first session on June 16th, focusing on ‘Understanding marginalised young people’s lives’. Joining her on the panel were three young people aged 16-24 from across England: Alisha, Joy and Auras. Each of them has experience a number of barriers to education, including the care system, being homeless, and leaving education with no qualifications. These young people’s thoughts experiences have led them to become vital sources of support for others, enabling them to give their perspectives as practitioners, alongside sharing observations from their own journey through education.

2. Early intervention

Our second session on ‘How can schools support early and preventative interventions for young people?’ Will Millard, CfEY’s Head of Engagement was joined by Catherine Roche, Chief Executive of Place2Be; Claire Heald, Deputy Chief Executive of Inspiration Trust; Crisitina Odone, Head of the Family Policy Unit at The Centre for Social Justice; and CfEY’s Vanessa Joshua.

During this session, we heard from practitioners and experts about how schools can support early and preventative educational, behavioural and wellbeing interventions for young people. The discussion emphasised how acting early reduces the need for reactive and more drastic interventions further down the line. The panel offered insights about schools, children’s social care, and mental health, and provided practical advice on supporting children and their families.

3. Child Poverty

Next we had a session on ‘What can we do about child poverty?’, chaired by CfEY Associate Baz Ramaiah on June 28th. The panel included Naheeda Maharasingam, Headteacher at Rathfern Primary School and CfEY fellow; Sammy Wright, Lead Commissioner for Schools and HE at the Social Mobility Commission; Zoe McIntyre, Project Manager at Children’s Right2Food campaign; and Mei Lim, Director at Reach Children’s Hub.

The UK has an alarmingly high rate of child poverty compared to other wealthy countries and schools are often at the forefront of dealing with the effects of this poverty. This panel looked at the things that all of us can do about the causes of this poverty. The discussion analysed the magnitude and nature of child poverty in the UK and mapped out how schools, charities and the government can work together to bring an end to this injustice.

4. Cross sector collaboration

Our final session ‘Can schools do everything?’ was chaired by our CEO Loic Menzies, on June 29th. Loic was joined by Ndidi Okezie, CEO of UK Youth; Professor Sam Twiselton OBE, Director of Sheffield Institute of Education, Deputy Chair of Doncaster Opportunity Area and CfEY Fellow; Anna Trethewey, Head of Strategy at Ofsted and former CfEY Exec Director; Emma Hardy, MP and CfEY fellow; and Janice Allen, Headteacher of Falinge Park High School, Rochdale.

The list of roles schools are asked to fulfil beyond academic learning is a long one, including responding to mental health needs, supporting families, social and emotional development, and providing enriched life experience. The events of the past year have thrown the huge range of ways society depends on schools under the spotlight more than ever.

In this session, the panel set out their views on what schools should and shouldn’t be expected to do, and what the future might look like for a more cross-sector approach to ensuring young people, particularly those on the margins, can make a fulfilling transition to adulthood.

We hope you enjoy revisiting these important discussions and invite you to get in touch with the team to share your thoughts and ideas for future change.