HELPING YOUNG PEOPLE REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL is something that rightfully preoccupies education ministers. Better-educated children mean a more skilled future workforce and a stronger economy.
THE EDUCATION RECOVERY PLAN has seen more than £3bn spent on recovery from lost learning, in order to avoid “long-term damage to life chances and the nation’s finances”. Catch Up programmes aim to improve grades with accelerated learning.
OFSTED MEASURES THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION, with rigorous inspection of schools’ systems, assessing the provision and grading, under the twin mantra of “Raising Standards, Improving Lives”.
TEACHERS USE DATA AND RESEARCH to inform learning centred strategies. We introduce new classroom technologies and techniques to promote effective learning. We teach critical thinking skills; deliver material according to student learning styles; differentiate content for children, from those who struggle to learn to our our most able pupils.
RAISING STANDARDS is the never ending quest that concerns all political parties, all educators and all parents. At the heart of the mission is a desire to help young people reach their full potential. But what does it mean, to reach your full potential? And how can we best achieve it?
MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS is one of the best-known and most easily recognisable theories of psychology. Used by leaders in many fields, Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid is popular in part because it visualises the needs that must be met in order for people to reach their full potential. Maslow calls this “self-actualisation”. In his system, needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before we can attend to needs higher up.
DEDICATED EDUCATORS KNOW that if a young person’s underlying needs are not fulfilled, the chances of self-actualisation are severely diminished. No matter what grading system you use, no matter what accelerated learning techniques, and no matter how much money, time and effort is poured into catch up classes; if the basic conditions are not met, progress is impeded, and the young person will likely fall far short of their full potential.
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO ACHIEVE everything that they can, to become the most that they can be, we must first ensure their safety and wellbeing. Before standards and inspections; above targets and incentives; beyond data and assessment. Our most effective tool, as teachers and parents, is our unwavering commitment to young people’s physiological, environmental, social and psychological needs. Helping young people to reach their full potential is not about raising grades; it’s about raising adults.