Charities bridging the gap in narrowing curriculum

A recent report in The Guardian has highlighted the crucial role charities are playing in the education system. As well as the associated fundraising in schools raising the profile of social issues outside of education, charities are now “forging partnerships with schools and having a huge impact on students’ educational and social development.”

From offering the chance for pupils to learn new skills to educating children about wellbeing, charity partnerships are opening up opportunities that have been closed off in an ever narrowing and results-based curriculum. Squeezed budgets are making it difficult for schools to form mainstream collaborations, and many aspects of social development beyond the academic remit aren’t getting the attention they need.

According to The Guardian report, in terms of developing the teaching profession and addressing inequality in education, charities are popping into the fray. Greenhouse Sports is a charity committed to using sport to help young people living in the inner city of London realise their full potential.

The charity assigns sports coaches to work full-time in mainstream schools in the most deprived areas of London. The coaches act as mentors, as well as sporting experts. The project is proving extremely successful using sport to deter children from expulsion and joining gangs. Coaches are even having an impact on grades as they sometimes sit in on other classes. Kids it seems are much less likely to misbehave if their favourite football or netball coach is sitting at the back of the classroom.

While Greenhouse Sports targets secondary education, there are plenty of other examples which feed into primary schools too. City Year UK is a leading youth and education charity offering the opportunity for young people to work as volunteers in schools to support children from disadvantaged communities. It provides great support to those struggling in the classroom and enables the volunteers to develop leadership skills and confidence to go on to make transformational changes in their communities. The charity currently has more than 70 volunteers in 9 different primary and secondary schools across Greater London.

And it’s not just those with learning or behavioural difficulties who benefit. The City Year UK volunteers at Morningside primary school in Hackney work specifically with people in the middle, who don’t stand out and just drift along. The head teacher, Janet Taylor, has reported “these pupils are beginning to shine.”

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