December 1, 2023

Does raising aspirations help raise pupil outcomes?

Does raising aspirations help raise pupil outcomes?

A lack of aspiration can be cited as a reason for poor student outcomes in areas of high disadvantage, including Norfolk. This is something we wanted to address in our conference programme this year. According to the EEF, in general, approaches to raising aspirations are not directly linked to improved outcomes. However, their research review points to an interesting conclusion that, “much underachievement results not from low aspiration but from a gap between aspirations and the knowledge, skills, and characteristics required to achieve them.”* In other words, in addition to interventions around aspiration, be that with the wider community, parents or students, there needs to be a robust academic approach in order to improve outcomes.

So rather than looking at different approaches to raising aspiration, we looked at other high performing education systems, systems that achieve great outcomes through academic performance. We were delighted when Lucy Crehan, author of  ‘Cleverlands’ agreed to join us to share her experiences of high performing school systems. Lucy’s research took her from Finland and Japan to Canada, Singapore and Shanghai, examining both guiding philosophies and practical strategies for high performance.

After Lucy’s keynote we will have a panel discussion with VNET members and Lucy giving a local perspective on aspiration in their school communities and what impact it has on pupils and outcomes.

During a practical workshop, Lucy will present three practical strategies that our school can implement around curriculum design, student support, and teacher collaboration.

We are also pleased to welcome Matt Stone, Operations Director of WalkThrus, who will lead a session about the impact of WalkThrus as a pedagogical approach. You may have heard of them but have little experience of running them in your school or already have signed up to the WalkThrus platform and want to know how to use it most efficiently in schools. We feel that the approach provides clear models for learning, based upon a secure evidence base, and we want to explore using them across the membership. There will be an opportunity for Q&A following the presentation.

We hope that you will join us on 1 February 2024 to gain a new perspective on what’s possible in education.

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