Friday insights round-up (1 Feb)

1 February 2019

Happy Friday everyone! There’s lots of exciting insights from the sector and our Big Change, project partners in this week’s roundup from Impact Manager, Caitlin.

We’ve still buzzing about EasyPeasy’s win at the Bett awards in the early years content category – seeing a project partner gain recognition is always a win for us!

Government takes notice of teacher wellbeing

A different form of recognition, this time for one of our focus areas, comes by way of the DfE release of it’s new teacher recruitment and retention strategy, which includes a focus:

  • Pay and training reviews
  • Access to flexible working
  • Building of houses for teachers
  • Increased access to specialist qualifications

Big Change identified a crisis in retention and recruitment when we released our emergent narrative for teacher wellbeing in our call for proposals in 2017.

We have since gone on to support brilliant project partners working in this area such as:

  • Whole Education
  • Institute for Teaching
  • Bounce Forward
  • Achievement for All

The fact that the government has released a strategy in order to try and address the UK’s teacher recruitment and retention problem is promising, and we look forward to seeing how it progresses in practice.

Exclusions gaining visibility

MP Vicky Foxcroft supported the mission of project partner, The Difference, in Parliament last week. She highlighted the attainment gap between mainstream school students and pupil referral unit students, as well as the disproportionate representation of excluded students among the UK’s prison population. One in two prisoners were excluded from school.

It’s encouraging to see that the UK’s exclusion problem is starting to gain visibility, and that The Difference is being recognised for its pioneering work to address this issue!

System change musings

We’ve been putting a lot of thought into how change happens. Caitlin has been thinking a lot this week about the conditions that need to be in place in order for change to happen, which brought her to this article written by Big Lottery Fund’s Cassie Robinson about how to let old systems die with dignity.

She makes the point that in order to bring about a new, emergent system, we need to provide care and compassion for the systems that therefore need to come to an end – and those people and organisations working within them. 

Philanthropy also plays an important role in creating the conditions required for systems change. Pioneers working to bring about change can leverage the UK’s increase in philanthropic giving during these times of austerity. However, we must also be challenging of the purpose of philanthropy – Anand Giridharadas points out that elite philanthropists can often be guilty of trying to address the harms caused by the system that helped them generate their own wealth, as opposed to being committed to making changes to a system that caused harm in the first place.

As we kick off our 2019 project finding process, Caitlin is thinking about these power dynamics within philanthropic giving, and making sure we do not reproduce the system that caused the problems we are seeking to address in the first place. Look out for her learnings from this over the coming months.