This has been the apparent sentiment behind numerous recent education policy changes that the government has introduced such as the drive towards an increase in academies, increasing the mandatory age of educational participation to 18, encouraging the introduction of new grammar schools, and improving the academic rigour of GCSEs. 

Taking the last point, the idea is that attainment across the board will rise in line with our international competitors if the minimum acceptable standard and maxiumum possible standards are raised. But of course this assumes two things:

1. That teaching standards will also rise in line with the new grading system

2. That young people are actually capable of the higher attainment levels desired within the spefcified time that they must be reached.

No doubt, the brightest pupils will rise quickly to the challenge and do ok. And perhaps over time, average GCSE grades across the board will climb again, as everyone gets used to the new regime. Oddly, however, this measure may actually push many disadvantaged learners further behind their peers. TwentyTwenty’s typical student comes to us aged 16 with complex needs, poor school history, and the maths and English ability of an average ten year old. So their mandatory progression towards a GCSE equivalent grades in these vital core subjects is now much harder than before, must be achieved more quickly, and doesn't attract any extra government funding to provide additional support. So as these young people and the organisations supporting them struggle to keep up, there is a danger that they fall further and further behind.

At TwentyTwenty, for many years we've been supporting schools to help them engage their most disaffected pupils. And we're getting more calls than ever to do this. Mainstream schools are focused on driving up average grades, and despite their best intentions, lack the resources and expertise to cope with this by themselves. So a big chunk of our work is helping young people to successfully re-engage with school and achieve to the best of their ability. And often the problem is not so much an academic one, but more to do with a range of and difficult and often longstanding personal and social issues that make it hard for young people to thrive in a fast paced target driven mainstream environment.

That's why in the workshops, 1to1 sessions, lessons, and mentoring we do with school pupils, we focus on equipping them with a positive attitude and a soution focused set of skills which enable them to make progress in themeselves and their learning ability while giving them the resolve to maintain the ground they've gained. For these young people, it's no use just telling they have to work harder. They may already by using up all their engergy and will surving in an abusive relationship, or be too entrenched in anti-social behaviour to focus their energies positively, or be sick with pregnancy.

For us, these young people are resources to be developed, not problems to be solved. And we will keep on dedveloping our services to assist schools with everything they need to make sure that none are left behind, all have an excellent eduction and are able to reach their full potnential.