School teachers all over the country will have begun the new academic year with a renewed sense of purpose and committed to working incredibly hard to help all their pupils to do their very best.
Yet despite the many years of hard work schools put in, the attainment gap between the very poorest children in England and their (non-disadvantaged) peers remains. The latest study from the Education Policy Institute suggests that the most disadvantaged pupils are more than two years behind their classmates when they sit their GCSEs. Far too many disadvantaged young people do not achieve a decent pass in English and maths – resulting in a future career path likely to be paved with poor outcomes.
One thing which I feel could help these youngsters is a renewed focus on technology. Today’s school children and students are the first generation of true ‘digital natives’ – also known as ‘millennials’ – who have grown up with technology.
Integrating technology into the classroom is particularly useful in addressing the needs of disengaged pupils. Working with children to overcome their barriers to learning and development involves trying all sorts of different approaches to teaching. A kinaesthetic style is often most successful for disengaged learners who don’t like listening to or following orders, but who learn best when doing something physical or practical – such as on a computer.
Technology also allows better opportunities for interaction between classmates by encouraging them to collaborate. Fun ideas to try include using QR codes on wall displays or worksheets which students can scan into their smartphones and then get directed to further media such as videos relating to the subject they are studying.
That’s why I’m so pleased that we are succeeding with our Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) training. These qualifications are globally recognised and improve employability for students by validating their skills in Excel, Word and PowerPoint, which then helps them to progress towards their career goals.
The Key Stage 4 learners who receive our MOS Office Suite training can achieve a GCSE A* to C equivalent for this valuable vocational qualification, which is used by employers to validate the proficiency of their employees in computing skills. Vocational education and training like this is key to taking that first step on the employment ladder.
The full article on which this blog is based was published in Education Today: September issue