The current education system is disproportionately focussed on what goes on within the classroom. In reality, what a child does beyond the classroom holds the most potential for making a positive impact on their life chances.
The success markers along the way — the tests, key stage milestones and exams — are all constantly reinforcing an emphasis on what happens in classrooms. Yet by the time a child turns 18 they will have only spent 9% of their waking life in a classroom. When combined with the Covid pandemic, school closures and talk of the attainment gap increasing by up to 75%, the urgent need for a shift in focus is stark.
Participation in quality learning outside of the classroom can narrow the attainment gap but it is not yet accessible to all. Evidence shows that children from less advantaged backgrounds remain excluded from significant amounts of extra-curricular activities and provision that currently exists, having a significant impact on their futures. A big change is needed.
Children from less advantaged backgrounds remain excluded from significant amounts of extra-curricular activities and provision that currently exists, having a significant impact on their futures.
Encouraging and celebrating learning beyond the classroom to make real change for all young people.
Children’s University Trust works in partnership with schools across the UK to develop a love of learning by encouraging participation in quality-assured extracurricular activities in and outside of school.
By collecting qualitative and quantitative data about the impact that this learning outside the classroom has on young people’s educational attainment, wellbeing, employment and life outcomes, they will create a movement to influence policy and make real change for all young people, regardless of background or circumstance.
This will be supported by cross-party change-makers with the power to turn this voice into action and effect systematic change for all young people.
Work in action
Children’s University Trust wants to see a big change in the world for all our young people. Their vision is a world where every child has equal opportunity to unlock their full potential through learning beyond the classroom.
They want to break down the barriers to learning outside of school, and increase the emphasis that educators, schools and policymakers put on informal learning.
This movement will demand real change which enables and ensures that all children, regardless of background can equally access learning beyond the classroom.
The Big Changer
Helen O’Donnell, Chief Executive and Director of Partnerships
Helen has extensive experience in the third sector with a particular focus on education and helping young people from more disadvantaged backgrounds access educational opportunities.
Helen won the Forward Ladies Women in Business, North West Not for Profit Leader of the Year in 2015 and was nominated a second time in 2017.
She was named #SocialCEOs Best Digital CEO in 2019 and named on Natwest’s WISE List 100 – the top 100 influential and inspirational women in social enterprises the same year. She is a TEDx Speaker and has given oral evidence to the Government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.