Your postcode shouldn’t be a barrier

9th November 2018, 12:00am
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Tes Editorial

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Your postcode shouldn’t be a barrier

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/your-postcode-shouldnt-be-barrier

The Youth Opportunity Index, published last week by the Learning and Work Institute, presented some challenging findings: no clear urban-rural split and no clear north-south divide. Instead, the report highlighted significant variations within regions. So, unfortunately, the future of our young people is still being determined by geography.

In the region where I now live, teaching is relatively highly paid, and my workplace feels exceptional. But what if all of the good fortune I've had is not down to merit, but to the fact that my parents took me out of an area that scores abysmally on the index and raised me somewhere wealthier.

I have no doubt that the shocking index score in Knowsley is the legacy of the Building Schools for the Future experience where economically-disadvantaged students were labelled "kinaesthetic learners" en masse and presumed not to need conventional classrooms, or teaching, or rules.

Both within our regions and nationally we have to work together as educators to look for what actually works for our learners in 2018, whether that's exciting innovations or just going back to basics, to close the gaps we see. Thanks to SHINE, this year I plan to find out if some of the improvements I've seen with English GCSE resits can be replicated in different contexts at different ends of the country. I'm hopeful, because however lucky you are in our privileges, we can't continue to leave the success of our young people to a postcode lottery.

Andrew Otty leads 16-19 English in an FE college. He is an ambassador for education charity SHINE

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