Developing young workforce strategy - impact on education: evaluation
An independent evaluation of the impact of Developing the Young Workforce Strategy on education.
6. Conclusions and recommendations
Many individuals and stakeholders with detailed knowledge of DYW took part in the research, sharing their reflections on the changes in recent years and examples of their efforts and experiences with pupils, colleagues and employers. These contributions provide valuable insights into how DYW has been implemented in schools and its impact on pupils.
This report provides evidence that, among schools which participated in the research, the aims of the DYW programme are being met. DYW has been embraced by schools, as demonstrated by the range of approaches identified in the research and the examples of commitment by staff and leadership. This willingness stems from the positive impacts staff have seen for pupils and their belief that DYW improves pupils learning experiences while at school and enhances their future employment prospects.
The research has identified a raft of ways that work-based learning has been embedded into curriculums. Given the flexibility afforded by DYW, these approaches vary, and there are many examples of good practices that interviewees felt to be worthy of consideration by other schools. This activity and focus align with a learner-centric approach to curriculum design and have contributed to changes within education,requiring schools and partners to work in new ways.
For pupils, DYW has meant that their experiences in education have changed. There is a greater focus on learners' preferences and consideration of how their education will link to their experiences in the workforce. Closer working with employers has enabled pupils to develop employability skills that meet the labour market requirements. DYW was found to enhance the employment prospects of pupils across the board, with particular effects on improving outcomes for young people who are less likely to thrive in a school environment. This has the potential to play a role in addressing the attainment gap.
While these findings are strongly positive, many challenges to implementation were identified in the research, including how to prioritise DYW in the context of competing pressures on schools. The challenge of creating a culture change about the purpose of and nature of education among staff and parents is also clear.
Based on the findings set out in this report, we make five recommendations.
1. For the Scottish Government to share this report with stakeholders, including schools across Scotland and the range of agencies and organisations that contribute to the implementation of DYW.
2. Working in partnership with COSLA and other key stakeholders, we recommend the Scottish Government develops policy responses which address the learning points set out in chapter 5 and considers whether additional or reallocation of existing resources is required to fund any policy measures.
3. To further embed work-based learning into the curriculum, we recommend that the Scottish Government ensures that the principles of DYW are incorporated into curriculum design processes at a national, regional and individual school level.
4. To build on the strengths and successes identified in this research, we recommend that the flexibility inherent in DYW is maintained. This includes enabling schools to learn from one another through sharing examples of good practice, providing support for tailored work with individual pupils, and the capacity to respond to local labour market opportunities.
5. Finally, to provide a holistic understanding of the impact of DYW, we recommend that any wider evaluation of DYW includes research with pupils and parents/caregivers to understand their experiences and perspectives on the implementation and impact of DYW.
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