English and Maths conference 2019

Firstly, I just want to thank those who attended the excellent NCFE English and Maths Conference, it’s great to see people showing their support for our much-scrutinised industry, which is helping to change the lives of many on a daily basis.

My latest blog is more of a summary of my presentation from the conference, as the approach I took was much more orientated around the internal successes which, in my perspective, are often hidden throughout education in the current climate.

As one of the latter speakers within this conference, I managed to get a good understanding of the thoughts of the leaders within the room which I have often been sheltered, having only recently left formal education myself. I’ve often heard about the internal pressures that staff face, but struggled to understand the in-depth reasoning behind it.

From my perspective, it seems like many education professionals see the value in offering a ‘modern’ curriculum for their students, but don’t have the ability to do so. Having attended and been removed from two mainstream highschools, I struggled with the ‘textbook learning’ element that I and the teachers were forced into and was subsequently removed from the curriculum. Looking back, many people would have described me as a ‘bad student’ because I didn’t follow the plan, but my peers and teachers knew that it wasn’t because I was a stereotypical ‘bad student’, rather it was more because the lessons I sat through didn’t entice me and keep me engaged. 

After being removed from my second mainstream school’s curriculum, I decided I needed to make a change and found myself taking on a new venture with Leeds City College Apprenticeship Academy - arguably a lifesaver for myself, as they gave me the option of completing my education within a much more ‘hands on’ environment which suited my working methodology perfectly. I often look back at this time, which is approaching the 4 year anniversary of my graduation, with fond memories - not only of the environment, but of the opportunity and teachers who made sure the delivery was working for myself.

I made a point in the presentation that without having the opportunity to go to Leeds City College AA, I’d probably be unemployed with no prospects or direction.

Without the vocational courses which I had access to, I wouldn’t have been able to secure an apprenticeship with an incredible company in the city, which progressed into a full time role, and I also wouldn’t have then gained that experience to build my own business across the UK. In short, I went on to question how many other students are being swallowed up in the system which is arguably stuck in the 1990’s.

I made a huge point towards the end of my talk that I wanted to thank everyone in the industry, and I meant it. Educational professionals are so undervalued in the current system, the work which is being put in nationwide to help our next generation is often under-appreciated and that’s not acceptable.