Our commitment to #closingthegap for young people

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds were an average of 19.3 months behind their peers by 16[1]. With the help of our supporters, over the last 5 years we have been shining a new light on science, engineering, and technology, helping to build essential life skills and opening up new opportunities for young people from all backgrounds.

Tragically, young people who were educationally disadvantaged before the COVID-19 outbreak have seen that gap grow, with the deputy director of the DfE’s pupil premium division commenting “ predictions are stark – up to a 75% widening” of the attainment gap.

One fifth of pupils, which is the equivalent of two million young people in the UK, have done no schoolwork at home, or less than an hour a day.[2] Just 16% of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are taking part in daily lessons,[3] meaning many of the young people at our partner schools will have had no, or very limited contact with any education since March.

Without additional support the UK’s young people are facing a shortfall in the self-belief and skills needed to enter further education or employment and thrive in today’s technology driven world.

At 1851 Trust, we are committed to closing the gap for young people. Over the next academic year, we will:

  • Continue to develop our STEM Crew platform and pupil portal to increase accessibility to resources (both on and offline)
  • Help young people to catch up on missed learning by signposting our easy-to-understand short films and interactive learning
  • Provide outdoor learning experiences which will act as an important antidote to the experience of many young people during lockdown, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Work with our partners, such as INEOS, to support schools with equipment and information they need to keep young people learning and keep schools safe
  • Support an increased recognition of the importance of science and technology for future employability, safety, and security, as the economy adjusts and develops.

Positively, there has been a marked uplift in young people who would now consider working in a scientific field because of COVID-19 – with 37% of young people now more likely to consider a scientific career.[4]

Together, we can use this opportunity to turn the tide for young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, giving them the skills and self-belief, they deserve to imagine their futures differently.

We hope you will join us in committing to #closethegap so no young person’s future is defined by the COVID-19 pandemic.

[1] https://epi.org.uk/publications-and-research/closing-gap-trends-educational-attainment-disadvantage/

[2] https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/news/2020/jun/children-doing-212-hours-schoolwork-day-average

[3] https://www.suttontrust.com/our-research/covid-19-and-social-mobility-impact-brief/

[4] https://www.britishscienceassociation.org/news/new-survey-results-almost-9-in-10-young-people-feel-scientists-and-politicians-are-leaving-them-out-of-the-covid-19-conversation

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