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Aspiration, access and achievement
Developing aspiration, access and achievement Teachers and school leaders can have a profound impact on all children and young people by developing their achievement, access and aspirations. This means: • having high expectations of what they can achieve • working in partnership with parents to set targets for their learning • tracking their progress and • increasing the range of learning opportunities available to them
By changing teaching and learning behaviours - pupils at risk of underachieving - will achieve. Access includes but is not limited to: -engagement, Achievement includes but is not limited to: -attainment, -exclusionary barriers, -opportunity, -participation. -experience of success, -progress. Aspirations includes but is not limited to: -motivation, -orientation, -self-concept, -self-efficacy.
In practice: this means creating a culture of high expectations for ALL pupils By focusing on: • Aspirations-teachers, pupils, parents • Access-what are the barriers for each pupil and how do we remove them? • Achievement
Defining aspiration • Aspiration relates to having high expectations about what learners can achieve. For pupils, it reflects a ‘can do’ mentality displayed when they decide to meet challenges and gain access to learning, thus believing that they can succeed. • Recall the adage ‘success breeds success’- children’s confidence develops step by step and is fuelled by their successes.
In the classroom it means raising aspirations by… • Having high expectations about what learners can achieve. • Enabling pupils to have confidence in their competencies • Enabling pupils to meet challenges and gain access to learning, thus believing that they can succeed. • Focussing on attitudes, confidence, parental aspiration, motivation and school and teacher aspiration. (Blandford et al. 2011)
Raising aspirations: consider • Attitudes- A pupil’s mind-set can greatly affect their desire to access school, achieve and improve their future. Pupils can be disengaged or negative for a number of reasons, ranging from established family views about education to their previous experiences in school. What can you do- an example? • Student attitudes and relationships have been altered in one school through a programme of Saturday morning sport activities. Thanks to community involvement and shared responsibility and enjoyment, families have noted a more positive outlook about what their children can achieve.
Raising aspirations: consider • Confidence- A sense of confidence is crucial for pupils navigating through school, giving them the strength to meet challenges and strive for what they want to achieve. The stigma attached to pupils with SEND/ FSM can sometimes reduce child confidence and consequently decreases the likelihood of the child accessing the opportunities a school has to offer. What can you do- an example? One school noticed that pupils with low confidence were less likely to attend extra-curricular activities both in and out of school. The school asked the children what activities they wanted and identified particular children to attend. A register was taken.
Raising aspirations: consider • Parental engagement- has a very distinct and wide reaching effect on pupil aspirations. Parents with low aspirations often pass this on to children. • Furthermore, parents who do not understand the education system of which their child is a part may struggle to communicate aspirations to their children. • Without modelling an aspirational outlook, it can be difficult for children to have their own. What can you do-an example? One school involved parents in the decision making processes, giving them the opportunity to express their views and aspirations for their child.
Raising aspirations: consider • Motivation -relates to the desire to learn and have new experiences and achieve. • Motivation in pupils is an aspirational quality as it suggests that the pupil will not only possess a desire to achieve academically, but also in the wider context of extra-curricular activities and at home. • It is important that ALL pupils feel motivated, not only to overcome potential barriers but so that they continue to have aspirations about what they are able to achieve. What can you do-an example? One school worked on personal development plans with each pupil. Another school found that pupil motivation improved when they introduced a series of sport activities
Raising aspirations: consider • Teacher aspirations- In order for pupils to become aspirational in the school environment or to continue to raise their aspirations, it is crucial for staff to be aspirational for them. Without a whole school culture which models aspirational values and holds a strong belief in the pupils abilities to access and achieve, it is difficult for them to do so.
Reflection: Developing aspiration Individually: • Reflect on all the ways you show children that you have high aspirations for them? (It helps to consider this from a child’s point of view. If someone were to ask the pupils in your class- what would they say? ) In groups discuss: • How could you do this better?
Access… …is about breaking down barriers which often prevent some children from accessing all the opportunities the school has to offer.
And enabling all pupils to access learning by focussing on… • • • Behaviour Participation in wider school life Parent or carer engagement Developing positive relationships with others Attendance (Blandford et al. 2011)
Increasing access: consider • Behaviour- is an essential factor in determining how pupils make progress in their learning and access the wider opportunities of school life. However, the ‘intricate and profound’ link between behavioural standards and SEND (Steer, 2009) means these pupils may find it harder to achieve appropriate behaviour for learning. What can you do-an example? One school redefined the way support staff were used in the classroom
Increasing access: consider • Participation in wider school-Extracurricular activities allow children to develop positive relationships and raise their self-esteem, as well as leading to improvements in their academic and personal development. However, there is evidence to suggest that children identified as having SEND are less likely to take up extracurricular activities and enjoy these benefits (Ofsted, 2008). What can you do-an example? One school analysed pupil data and developed a summer school of activities for those they felt would benefit most
Increasing access: consider • Developing positive relationships with others- All young people have the right to enjoy school. The extent to which children can develop positive relationships with those around them is a crucial factor in determining whether they do so. What can you do-an example? One school developed a pupil survey, which indicated that one year group had a particular issue with self-esteem and wellbeing. This resulted in the school putting in place a range of interventions to support the pupils involved and improve their attitude.
Improving access: consider • Attendance-Children must attend school in order to make progress in their learning. However, research shows that a disproportionate number of pupils identified with SEND or those from less advantaged families (from both mainstream and special schools) have poorer attendance than other pupils. • What can you do –an example? One school altered the curriculum to make it more accessible and relevant for pupils; they have been able to engage those who have not previously enjoyed coming to school.
Reflection: increasing access Individually: • Consider what practices you currently use to support access to the curriculum and wider school activities for all children? In groups: • How could you do this better?
Achievement • Achievement- is a term that has been devalued by the political drive to ‘count’ examination results as the single indicator of educational success or attainment. While it is essential that the workforce is literate and numerate, knowing what achievement is, having the selfefficacy to achieve and recognising when this happens is fundamental to learning. • Achievement lies within and extends beyond exams: social, artistic, musical, sporting and leadership endeavours all count towards the achievement for all. It is the breadth of success that facilitates the application of learning. Achievement means all children learning, making progress and attaining.
Reflection: Raising Achievement Consider the extent to which you do the following and how you could do them better: • Monitor pupil progress against targets • Put interventions in place only when needed • Have pupil progress meetings • Encourage pupils to take responsibility for their progress • Outline next steps in learning for pupils • Develop attendance initiatives • Organise workshops for parents to develop their role in supporting children’s reading and maths at home • Use pupil data to measure progress and inform planning • Work effectively with teaching assistants to improve pupil achievement