Campaign for Learning wins Fair Education Alliance Innovation Award

Campaign for Learning has won the prestigious Fair Education Alliance (FEA) Innovation Award which recognises the ways in which we are working to end educational inequality. The flagship award will support development of a new family learning and parental engagement initiative to transform the education system and make it fairer for all.

The education system needs innovative and impactful solutions that tackle the root causes of educational inequality more than ever before. The FEA’s 2022 Report Card shows, at system level, the disadvantage gap in some areas has remained stubborn – and following the recent Covid-19 crisis, for poorer families it is widening again. The disadvantage gaps at primary and GCSE now stand at their highest points since 2012.

The root causes of this stretch far beyond the school gates. We currently have the lowest real-term funding for schools since 2010, and despite additional funding announced the Autumn Statement, funding is far from keeping pace with inflation. Families are also struggling, and we’re seeing poverty rising due to the cost-of-living crisis, with the number of families in persistent poverty and deep poverty also rising.

At Campaign for Learning we know that parents and carers have a bigger influence on their child’s learning and achievement than school. Schools account for 14% of the disadvantage gap between pupils from low socio-economic backgrounds while their peers, parents and carers account for 49% (IFS 2010). At age 7, this influence is up to six times more important than what schools can do (Sacker et al 2002).

Over the next year, Campaign for Learning will create a solution that focusses on pre-intervention interaction – a solution that meets socioeconomically disadvantaged parents where they are, addressing motivations, and realigning their understanding of their value in their children’s education.

John Beattie, Deputy Director for Families at Campaign for Learning said: “Despite knowing the impact of parental engagement, we don’t have a systemic approach and it remains a wicked problem, particularly for low-income families who could benefit most.

Our solution will tackle this problem head on. We will co-create with families and communities a resource targeting parents’ motivations and values to enrich the home learning environment. We will share this through National Centre for Family Learning, our new free membership association for anyone working with families, with a projected reach of 5,000 members working with over 500,000 families every year.

Together, we will show parents and carers that they matter, and that it's not who they are or what they know, but what they do that counts.”

Campaign for Learning is one of six initiatives to be awarded the FEA’s Innovation Award, supported by Bloomberg LP. Innovation Award Winners receive a 6-month salary contribution of £22,500 per winner and a yearlong programme of support with over 140 hours of technical training and leadership development to help develop, test and scale an initiative.

Caroline Rowley, Head of UK, Ireland & Middle East Corporate Philanthropy at Bloomberg said: “At Bloomberg, we are committed to improving social mobility and have been a long-term supporter and advocate of education initiatives across the UK. We are incredibly proud to support the Fair Education Alliance in its efforts to promote innovation and collaboration in the education sector, ensuring that greater numbers of students can access and thrive in education, irrespective of family income or circumstance. With the cost of living crisis threatening to entrench existing inequalities within our educational sector, the work of these incredible award winners is vital.”