School's Cool

A heavy dose of Education this week. On Monday afternoon I chaired the second meeting of the new Strategic Education Partnership, a well-attended meeting with lots of strong, and vocal, personalities present, which made for some really good discussion.

Some of the material like the report on capital expenditure to provide an adequate supply of school places made very dry reading but even that was very much enlivened by the debate it engendered. Progress on the Manchester Schools' Alliance, digital skills and the next generation of computer scientists, STEM subjects, and school governance were also on the agenda. All of these are important but it is worth noting on the last of these that for nearly every school judged to be underperforming, governance or lack of it is a key issue.

Last night the City Council hosted the second Tutor Trust summer reception. The Trust was set up in 2011 and is just completing its first full academic year. It is built on a very simple platform of seeking to provide 1-1 tuition to young people who would benefit from it and certainly wouldn't be able to afford to get it privately. The tutors are mainly university students in the city and have now worked with over 2000 young people. Apart from earning a bit of money the tutors also gain invaluable experience. For our school students, not only do they get some personal tutoring, that support is provided by people not that far removed from them in age who provide role models that can also help raise their aspirations. Win win win win.

The success of this is very much underpinned by changing attitudes. Not that long ago, working hard and doing well at school was seen as being very uncool. Not now. Knowledge. Education. Skills. Building blocks for our future. Young people increasingly understand they are the key to their future.

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