Ambition is everything: “For most of us the problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail. It’s just the opposite: we aim too low and succeed.” Sir Ken Robinson
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who signed up for the webinar where we officially launched the Securing Good Transitions resource pack. What was evident from that was people’s commitment and passion to ensure that these learners don’t become the ‘lost generation’ due to the impact of Covid-19. What we do know however is that we are in challenging and different times, which means that new, brave and ambitious approaches are needed to genuinely secure these good transitions.
During the last 12 months I have been fortunate to observe some exciting and innovative practice across a host of education settings, all centred around learners with additional learning needs and disabilities. To accompany the Securing Good Transitions recourse guide we have also created some Covid-19 specific resources and information sharing examples that we hope you may be able to adapt and use in your settings:
Let’s look for the opportunities….
Amongst the huge personal and professional challenges that Covid-19 has presented, exciting opportunities have also emerged and given us the opportunity to reassess some of our education provision / delivery styles and offered us a re-set button. To some degree society has never felt more equal, no one having greater protection from the virus, regardless of qualifications, social status, or financial security. Communities value each other more and recognise the richness of diversity and equality. Whilst normal life has been put on hold that has also galvanised large sections of society to come together to address systemic inequalities.
Now is the perfect time to raise the profile of our learners with SEND, celebrate the richness of their skills and talents and raise ambition nationally. Everyone deserves the right to aspire to their very best future and that starts with the advice, guidance, experience, and transition opportunities we offer. Through the resource guide there is information and guidance about the different best practice routes to employment our learners with SEND may choose to take, embedded in all of these are the support mechanisms to enable them to succeed and flourish.
Not only has the pandemic sent shockwaves through the economy, but it has also triggered a moment of social awakening. Over the last 12 months our whole society has made reasonable adjustments in a way most never believed possible. And more than that, we made them quickly and efficiently. People have proved that they can work in different ways yet remain effective, productive and supportive. We have shone a huge light on people’s wellbeing, recognising that what makes a team is diversity and that people are worth investing in. For these reasons workplaces are feeling more confident to meet different needs now, they feel more secure in making adjustments and recognise that working for an ethical and supportive organisation is what motivates people, not necessarily money.
Talent mobility: transitioning into a more diverse community “Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability. And at the heart of the challenge is to reconstitute our sense of ability and intelligence.” Sir Ken Robinson.
The case for diversity and inclusion is watertight. Diverse workforces and inclusive workplaces are associated with higher individual performance because employees can innovate and are more engaged. It’s also associated with higher collective performance because diversity of thought and experience leads to better decision-making, owing to more careful processing of information than in homogenous groups.
Research conducted by CBI in collaboration with Ipsos MORI shows that two-thirds of businesses are planning to increase their diversity and inclusion activities in the two to three years beyond 2021.
For these reasons now really is the time to step up our transition work, to raise aspiration for learners with SEND and to prepare them fully for the careers ahead of them.
As we move to a 'new normal' now is the time think in a new way. Let us think of 'conscious unbias' rather than 'unconscious bias'. Let us not just think about 'equality', where we seek to treat people the same but also think about 'equity' where we focus on a fair outcome. Placing people at the same start line will not necessarily address the many obstacles some will face further down the track.
Ambition really is everything…
Our education settings thrive on understanding the distinctions between our learners, recognising that one size does not fit all, and one person’s transition pathway may look very different to another. But one thing is universal, ambition is a major driver for personal growth and development and strong transition work is a major driver for ambition!