AA Educates


With the impact COVID had on education, it's no surprise that the gap between state schools and private schools has widened. During the lockdown period, some state school students didn't have the same opportunity to carry out uninterrupted learning for various reasons such as; having to share laptops between siblings, lack of good internet connection, no adequate study space at home, not being able to afford a private tutor and the list carries on. Compared to private school students, whose social-economic circumstances meant that they could learn uninterrupted as their families could negate issues identified. Their education has not been affected, which is one of the main reasons for the widening gap between England's state and private education systems.

The issues listed above are all common factors associated with the physical learning environments. The environment we learn in both physical and online, is essential to our understanding and development. The impact of the physical environment can be explored further here.


Are there any organisations focused on bridging the gap between private and state schools?

"AA Educates is a non-profit organisation that provides 100% subsidies education to disadvantaged students." Often, organisations come into the education space trying to change the system from a top-down approach or provide students with learning technology. Such initiatives are all welcomed, but this hasn't proven easy to accomplish over the years. Still, AA Educates takes a bottom to top approach focusing on the needs of the students first and creating a program that will help them excel both in the state education system and in life.

What type of changes is AA Educates looking to make in students life? Acknowledging that some students in state schools who are outperforming their peers irrespective of their social-economic status need to be given the same opportunity readily available to private school students. AA Educates has developed a programme to tackle this issue directly called. Private State School Partnership Program (PSSPP).

What is PSSPP?

Over one academic year, each student enrolled on the program will gain access to 3 hours of tutor time each week with qualified English, Mathematics, and Science tutors. Additionally, they are provided with a mentor to assist with tailored career planning to broaden their perspective on life. The crucial takeaway from PSSPP is the opportunity given to the student via the change in environment for the selected students to allow their minds to start creating a brighter future than what their familiar environment has shown them is their limit. Also, they get the opportunity to learn in a private school environment. Why is this important? Research has shown that particular environments are good for learning factors such as air quality, natural lighting, access to nature are all holistic factors to put into consideration. In the case of the selected students, a new learning environment will stimulate their brain, forming new neural pathways prepared for learning.

Stakeholder

Students are the primary stakeholder, and the program is about improving their academic success. Before starting the program, each student gets to explore how best they learn and what process needs to be put in place to facilitate a better-personalised learning outcome.

Keeping track of data such as subject grades or attendance scores is all vital statistics but focuses on hardskills; developing a balanced student requires some focus to be placed on understanding a student's level of softskills in preparation for life beyond the education system.

Four key questions will be drafted to help prepare students for the necessary softskills they will be developing throughout the program.

  • What is the student's expectations from the program?

The purpose of this question is to highlight any key areas a student may have identified that they want to focus on through the program––key Softskill assessed here is Autonomy. Can the student take the initiative where necessary by providing a potential solution to identified problems in their education?

  • How will they ensure that they take advantage of the available opportunities?

Having been selected, students must understand that they need to be focused and disciplined to make the most of their opportunities—key Softskill assessed Discipline. Studnet will need to develop new habits that allow them to excel with the help of mentors and coaches.

  • Why do they think they have been selected to be on the program, and how makes them feel?

Learning is possible when the recipient of the information is engaged and in the right mindset––Key Softskills assessed Emotional Intelligence. They will be taught how to perceive, understand, manage and use their emotions to their advantage.

  • Who will they recommend joining the program, and why?

Students tend to have a much better understanding of the school environment, and grades can't always be the only metric used when assessing what students to select onto the program––Key Softskills assessed Collaboration. Students will learn to collaborate with their peers to achieve a common goal.


The four key areas identified are themes to keep in mind when conducting any group or individual workshop with the students, which will help develop a profile on each student before they embark on the program, during the program at the end of the program. This being the first batch of students assessed holistically regarding their Softskils development. Further design iteration will allow for a more refined assessment that different educators can easily replicate to produce and evaluate their own results.

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