Education insights: Behaviour change and public health, the future of teacher training, and providing work experience in a pandemic

It might be the summer holidays, but nonetheless it's been a busy week in the world of education. As July comes to a close, once again this week we’re bringing you useful updates and notable news so you can stay up to date.

PHE unveils major health campaign to tackle obesity

There has been plenty of discussion about the Government’s new obesity strategy that was launched this week. A key strand of this strategy is Public Health England’s new integrated behaviour-change campaign, Better Health. The campaign will encourage adults to make lifestyle changes that will help to reduce their weight and be more active. As enthusiastic proponents of the power of behaviour change campaigns, having designed and executed many here at Hopscotch, we are glad to see this kind of approach taken towards public health; particularly in the campaign’s aims to motivate, rather than scare, its key audience.

NASUWT demands masks are made mandatory in secondary schools

In the ongoing row between teaching unions and the government over the return to schools in September, the NASUWT has demanded that face masks become compulsory for secondary school children. The unions have pointed out how difficult it will be to stop spread of the virus without masks, given that physical distancing in schools will not always be possible. It is important to think about the implications of masks in schools; if the government did make them mandatory, would financial support be provided to help schools buy them?

New study shows that lost school time 'will hurt economy for 65 years'

Research from the Royal Society suggests that the economy could suffer for 65 years as a result of the school time lost this year. There is a “huge base of evidence” linking earnings to education and skills, which suggests that so much time spent out of school will cost billions in a reduced growth rate. The damage will not spread evenly, either: those already disadvantaged are likely to be among those whose working lives are harmed most by the impact of the pandemic. Faced with such bleak figures, it’s difficult to know how to mitigate these effects. Solutions will need to be innovative: free and accessible programmes such as Barclays’ LifeSkills, designed to boost students’ employability skills, will surely have a role to play.

Teachers' standards could be adapted to reflect 'new reality' post-coronavirus

Teacher training providers have kicked off discussions over whether the Teachers’ Standards should be adjusted to reflect the “new reality”. The government has been called on to create a “cross-sector advisory group” to come up with the adjustments needed so that future teachers are equipped with the necessary skills for a post-pandemic education landscape. This will likely focus heavily on virtual learning, and what teachers need to know in order to carry it out effectively. This represents a more permanent shift to the remote learning style that students and teachers have been forced to explore this year.

Poll shows that majority of UK employers have cancelled work experience as a result of the pandemic

A crucial part of a student’s educational journey is work experience. Unfortunately, these opportunities have all but disappeared in the current climate. A new poll has shown that three fifths of employers have had to cancel some or all of their work experience placements, meaning that it’s become very difficult for young people to gain the all-important employability skills needed to enter the job market. The shift to virtual options is essential; remote internships and work experience will have to become increasingly available online to make up for missed in-person opportunities.  

About the author

Eleanor Johnston

Before joining Hopscotch, Eleanor taught English in Germany, worked as a Widening Participation ambassador at Bristol University and interned at the Young Westminster Foundation. Since securing a first class honours degree in History, Eleanor has enjoyed bringing her passion for education to projects including Bupa and LifeSkills created with Barclays.

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