Findings of a new research report Making the Grade: Does involvement in activities impact the achievement of young people? published by charity Education and Employers confirms that employer engagement and work experience are key to achieving top grades.
The report explores the findings from a new survey which asked teachers specifically what happens to children and young people in terms of their academic achievement after taking part in activities with local employers, for example work experience, careers sessions or enterprise activities. Many teachers are well placed to offer an informed professional opinion on whether employer engagement impacts on pupil achievement , why and how it might do so, when and where it is optimally designed for maximum impact and who (among pupils) is best placed to benefit. The report addresses three specific themes:
1. Do employer engagement activities have an impact on the academic achievement of pupils?
2. Which activities have the greatest impacts, and on which type of pupil?
3. Why, according to teachers, do these activities have an impact?
Making the Grade builds on previous research published earlier this year from Education and Employers and LifeSkills.
9 out of 10 secondary school teachers (93%) say that work experience and employer related activities can help students to do better in exams.
Teachers also said that one in five pupils (20%) in a typical year group today have positively benefitted from these activities in school.
Successful work experience placements are believed to have the greatest impact on improving academic attainment, with over a quarter of teachers ranking it as their first choice. This is followed closely by employer-led sessions such as career events with employee volunteers.
While the sentiment was shared across the state and independent sector, the majority of teachers believed that employer engagement in the most disadvantaged schools had the highest impact.
Over half of teachers felt academic achievement can be improved by helping students understand the relevance of education to employment, as well as exposing students to new role models through employer engagement.