The pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the diversity of needs, challenges and education opportunities with young people. The four pillars of the new Schools White Paper to level up education for all (28 March 2022) address teacher development, improving curriculum standards, parental engagement and uniformity of school hours. Yet key to its success will be the level of young people’s engagement and recognition that a young person spends 85 per cent of their waking hours outside of the school day, across the year.

A call for evidence has been launched by a new independent inquiry. An expert panel will review the role and contribution of youth work with schools for increased learning opportunities, alongside young people’s mental health and wider wellbeing, and employability. This is accompanied by a call for evidence and survey of schools and youth work organisations, online hearings and visits with young people.

The inquiry is co-chaired by former Children’s Minister Tim Loughton MP and former Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green MP, facilitated by the National Youth Agency as the national standards body for youth work in England.

Tim Loughton MP:

“A national focus for schools on academic attainment is in danger of missing out on the diversity of needs and challenges that young people face, coming through the pandemic. Our inquiry will look at the range of provision and collaboration of youth work with schools, for young people to engage in education, learn new skills and improve their life chances – ambitious for all young people.”

Kate Green MP said:

“To secure opportunities for all, we need to be clear what we want for young people from education, their mental health and wider wellbeing. This means listening to and working with young people, harnessing the best of schools and youth work to deliver real action that levels up education.”

Abbee McLatchie, NYA Director for Youth Work said:

“As we adapt from the pandemic schools were seen to be more place-based in response to pupils’ needs, and youth services were classified as an essential service. Throughout, there has been a greater sense of youth work and schools coming together. Is this built to last?

The new inquiry will look at how best to support increased learning opportunities and enrichment for all, including young people currently ‘missing’ from education. From policy to practice, our shared aim is to unlock all young people’s potential, helping them develop their skills, voice and influence in a rapidly changing world.”

To access the survey for schools and organisations which provide youth services or formal education: Click here

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Notes to the editor:

  1. Survey for schools and organisations which provide youth services or formal education: Click here
  2. A wider call for written evidence and supporting statements: email
  3. Terms of reference and panel membership: Click here
  4. This review panel will consider secondary school ages of 11 to 18 year olds. Youth work is designed to support young people through adolescence, typically from ages 8 to 25.
  5. NYA is the professional, statutory and regulatory body (PSRB)for youth work in England.
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