We should give all children on this planet a future that is worthy of their talents and dreams.
On 21 January, the King’s Think Tank’s Education Policy Centre held an event that brought one of our key objectives, making education more accessible, to life. In collaborating with the King’s Widening Participation Department on the King’s Scholars’ Programme, we presented the Think Tank and our work to different groups of Year 7 students. The primary aim of the event was to teach young people from under-represented backgrounds about policy making, as well as opportunities to get involved with it at university.
While the idea of presenting projects of the Think Tank seemed complex at first, we highlighted that the most important part of our work is identifying existing problems and offering proposals for solutions. Using examples from everyday school life, like the debate regarding school uniforms or the diversification of teaching tools , we aimed to relate to the students and show the applicability of our research. We spoke about how we work as a team, set goals, and aim to research important topics that we are passionate about.
The event then proceeded as a guided discussion. After discussing amongst themselves in small groups, the students expressed their ideas regarding how their education experiences could be improved. Nevaeh from City Heights Academy proposed mixing classes from different year groups together to encourage greater peer to peer learning. K’Andre and his team from Harris Academy Peckham proposed shorter lesson hours to help increase concentration. Overall, the group discussions produced a very interesting conversation and our team members were impressed with the creativity and practicality of the changes proposed. We ended the talk by linking the exercise to ways we identify areas for change and produce policy proposals and concluded that all ideas are valid provided they are backed by research.
Even though the primary goal of the event was to introduce students to the world of policymaking, our team wanted to convey several equally important points: firstly, that as a society, we value and support each other; and, most importantly, that all our voices can be heard, not only within the Think Tank, but at the university and beyond.
Hari Dinis is the Researcher for the Education Policy Centre.