Youth organisations can help schools, say teachers

Schools could help young people achieve better outcomes through partnerships with community-based youth organisations, a new report has found.

The findings are captured in the report, Youth Work and Schools: A partnership worth building?  written by education and youth think and action-tank LKMco. The report found that there are certain things that teachers value, but can’t always deliver within the constraints of the curriculum and the school day. These include the chance for young people to do community activities, learn to explore and cope with transitions, and explore complex issues within their own lives and those of their peers.

Jim Minton, Director of Membership and Communications at London Youth said:

“We found that teachers recognise that, within the constraints of the curriculum and the school day, there are things that they simply don’t have the time, resources, or sometimes the expertise to do. These aren’t just nice-to-have things. Instead, they include opportunities and activities that could genuinely help the personal and social development of students, particularly those who face the biggest barriers.

“But we also found that there was an appetite for creative ways of offering these opportunities – in partnership with youth organisations, many of which have strong links within the community – and creating long-term trusting relationships with young people and their families.”

One of the key challenges the report found is for youth organisations to show that they are places that teachers can trust: that they are not simply about recreation), but actually can deliver highly effective methods for engaging and supporting young people in a wide range of circumstances.

Despite cuts in funding and a general lack of understanding of our work, youth organisations can and do demonstrate statistically significant impacts on young people’s confidence, resilience and relationship skills – some of the key components of “character” that the extension of the school day is intended to support. A parallel report, Good Youth Work Works, highlights our learning, and the evidence base established by London Youth to date.

Jim Minton continued:

There are lots of positives for youth organisations in this report. The survey showed that some schools have seen beyond the outmoded image of youth work. They recognise our expertise in key areas, like learning in a different setting and providing opportunities for active citizenship. But there are still gaps in their understanding of who we are, what we do and whether we’re really any good at it, so it is vital we keep making the case for good youth work.

If you’d like to find out more about this work or be kept informed of next steps, please email hello@londonyouth.org.

 

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