Last week the Alliance held its second annual conference. You can download the details of the day and presentations here.
It was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved in the past year, and to think collectively about the year ahead, and beyond.
I am immensely proud of what has been achieved in twelve months through the shared endeavour of so many committed allies. We:
- Greatly expanded the group of allies working together to support Service children;
- Launched the first three SCiP Alliance Hubs in partnership with York St John University, Higher York (Yorkshire and North East Hub), the Royal Caledonian Education Trust (Scotland Hub), and King’s College London and the Royal British Legion (London Hub);
- Worked with the Office for Fair Access to publish the first ever Topic Briefing, which provides support and challenge to universities and colleges with a role to play in improving access to further and higher education;
- Undertook the first ever large-scale, UK-wide stakeholder consultation to find out what practitioners need to improve their support for Service children.
The consultation was a significant milestone and identified clear priorities for our future work. Professionals from across the UK, working in schools, colleges, universities, local authorities, charities and government agencies had surprisingly similar views of what was needed. They told us that they want to be better connected: to each other; to evidence; to support.
To be effective, professionals want to be connected...
- with each other
- with evidence
- with support
So that’s what the Alliance is doing, and will do even more in the future.
The consultation was also a great endorsement of the work of the Alliance. We are already working on networking, evidence and support in a number of ways.
- Work with UCAS on tailored university application guidance for Service children, their parents and supporters is near completion.
- We launched our briefing series at the conference and will be developing it in keeping with feedback from allies there.
- We will undertake a national evaluation of the Creative Forces model with partner universities (get in touch if you would like to take part).
- We are embarking on a major research and development project that will develop new mapping and targeting guidance, practitioner support resources, and an organisational improvement framework.
This last project is being delivered in partnership with six higher education networks representing 50 colleges and universities (Future HY, HEON, Higher Horizons, Next Steps South West, Southern Universities Network and Wessex Inspiration Network), and typifies the collaborative working that means I look forward to the coming year with optimism and excitement.
Everything that has been achieved to date, and everything we are planning for, is the result of the shared commitment and talent of a growing partnership with the common vision and collective will to see every Service child make a smooth and confident transition into a thriving life.