Most young people currently acquire the skills and experiences they need through a combination of school and family support, benefiting from parents who provide direction, take them to new places, encourage them to join clubs and share stories about their own work life. But for a significant number of children there is no supportive family to guide them. They rely exclusively on their school to provide a safe place where structure and civility are the norm not the exception. In 2011 there were over 91,000 looked after children who the outcomes for whom are considerably worse than their peers.
Society cannot afford to rely on schools alone to develop all the attributes a child needs to thrive. We simply do not have the resources to transform all our schools into residential establishments where every aspect of a young person’s life is directed and supported – nor would we want to. Filling the gap in provision for disadvantaged children requires a new approach that is additive to school and parental support.
Social ventures can make a huge difference in this area, delivering wrap around support for pupils, parents and schools to boost academic and vocational attainment and better equipping young people for the opportunities and challenges that life presents. Organisations like Humanutopia and Franklin Scholars work directly in schools fostering peer to peer support and role models for the most vulnerable pupils. Further down the line ventures like Represent and the Discoverables help young people to document their experiences and skills in a way that is meaningful for both them and future employers.
The Young Foundation recognises that radical innovation is required in this area if we are to transform the way our young people are prepared for life and give each of them an equal chance of success. We are launching The Young Academy to support a range of disruptive social ventures that equip our young people to prepare them for the world of work in a holistic way. We believe this is the best way to ensure more children from disadvantaged backgrounds go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
The Young Academy is a new £3million incubator and investment programme from The Young Foundation to support social entrepreneurs tackling inequality in education. The Young Academy will run over four years and includes a social investment fund of £1.5million that will invest directly in highly innovative, early stage social enterprises. The programme is supported by The Cabinet Office Social Incubator Fund, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Esmée Fairbairn, Metropolitan Housing Association and UBS. Applications are currently being accepted for the first cohort at www.theyoungacademy.org
We are looking for entrepreneurs who want to transform the way young people are prepared for life. You will be passionate about tackling inequality head on to give every child a fair chance. Our ambition is to create a wider movement of social ventures who share an ambition to create an education system fit for the 21st century.
Anna Smee, Director of Ventures
For more information on The Young Academy or to apply to be part of our movement check out our new website – http://www.theyoungacademy.org/apply/