Focus on education and attainment

What a lovely week it's been - summer feels as though it has finally arrived, if only for a quick shower of rain yesterday.

As we march into the middle of the calendar year, I've decided to dedicate this week's post to the theme of education.  Back in 1997, Tony Blair proudly placed education at the centre of the Labour party manifesto - Education, Education, Education.  Still to this day, people recall it and it's fair to say that the schools and colleges have come on a long way since then.  New school buildings spring up all around us, Academy's are beginning to gradually replace the Local Authority schools and the curriculum is being driven in new directions all the time.

It was therefore with great delight that myself and the new Business Connector for the Forest of Dean (Bev) were able to meet with the Vice Principal of Swindon College to discuss the exciting ideas they have in mind for the students.  While these plans are in the early stages, the general emphasis was one of getting the students more involved in the local community.  Typically, a Connector role tends to focus on businesses but in fact, the schools and colleges have an equal role to play.  By inspiring young people to take a role in their local community, it provides the opportunity to take ownership and therefore pride, in that area.  We should never underestimate the value of students creating, decorating, building, cleaning and renovating an area within their community.  For an individual to point to something tangible and be able to say "I did that" is an incredibly powerful and liberating feeling.  It's similar to the Connector role - for us to say, "I made that happen" gives one a sense of pride and fulfillment that few jobs can offer.

So as I develop my relationship with the College, I suggest that this way of thinking - engaging young people in real world projects and not confining them to a classroom or dictating to them how youth provision will work but actively involving them, that's how we inspire our younger generation and foster a greater sense of civic pride.  

Until next time - enjoy the summer weather.  I have a feeling the weekend will have us all waking up to the sound of lawn mowers soon!

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