This is great news in the light of many other events happening at the G7 talks in 2019.
The lives of so many girls will be enhanced by the ability to access education. There are many known facts about the importance of education for everyone and that includes girls! Lives will be positive and girls can look on their lives ahead with hope and a future.
In many countries, girls do not have access to education in the same way as boys, sometimes this is through government decision, a faith-based decision and sometimes it is because countries do not have the resources to provide education for all.
How amazing it is, living in a developed country that this should still be the case in 2019.
The Global Partnership for Education has been pursuing this anomaly for many years and it is through their work and other organisations that this has been brought before the G7 Summit.
‘The G7 leaders have recognised the urgency of ensuring that all girls and boys around the world are able to claim their right to a quality education and called for transformational efforts to meet that goal as the route to a more gender-equal world.’ Global Partnership for Education Announcement 28.8.19
In the Declaration, G7 leaders state: “We are convinced that equal access to quality education is vital to achieve the empowerment and equal opportunity of girls and women, especially in developing contexts and countries struggling with conflict. Thus, we welcome approaches to address the barriers girls face and to achieve gender equality and, in particular, the Gender at the Center Initiative.”
There were sandwiches and cakes, balloons and celebrations as the Mandela family led us in storytelling and reflection about Nelson Mandela’s life and hardships, eventually securing the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994.
Zindzi Mandela, who is currently serving as her country’s ambassador to Denmark is the youngest daughter of Nelson and Winnie. She wanted to write a book so children could understand on their own terms about her father Nelson Mandela.
Grandad Mandela is written by Zindzi and two of her grandchildren, Zazi and Ziwelene, illustrated by Sean Qualls and published by Lincoln Children’s Books.
Zindzi had grown up in Soweto and when she was18 months old her father, Nelson was sent to prison, and her mother, Winnie, was banished to the Free State, taking Zindzi with her. There was no schooling and she only had chance to finish her education when she was sent to Swaziland. In 1985 she gained a BA in Law at the University of Cape Town, In February 1985, she had read out Nelson’s refusal for a conditional release from prison by P.W.Botha.
Zindzi also accompanied her father at his inauguration as President and was First Lady following Winnie and Nelson’s divorce.
An incredible woman, she has a special place in history during those turbulent and impossible times in South Africa. Unbelievable now, that apartheid could have ever happened, working in a multi-cultural city like London…there is so much we take for granted.
Zindzi spoke about the need to write this book so children can discover on their own terms about apartheid and the struggle to overcome it. She said children should get answers to the questions they have. The work of Nelson Mandela in ending apartheid is now legendary and his strength and stalwartness in the pursuit of peace and forgiveness should be shared across the world.
“For many years asblack South Africans we were not allowed to have a voice, but now we have a voice. And we won’t stop talking! And we won’t stop writing!”
The video below gives some of the words from Zindzi.
Thembi Tambo, the High Commissioner for South Africa in London, welcomed the family and explained that Zindzi had gone through a difficult childhood when Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years.
Thembi Tambo explained also about the life experiences of Zindzi and how she has must have hidden away any anger and fears, remaining strong in her belief and in continuing her work. She said it was difficult to imagine a better way in which to allow children to access the information than through this book. “There are many stories but some are just too hard to share”.
The Mandela Legacy organisation helped in the promotion of the book, and in organising this event, to support those who wish to have a voice and create a platform for sustainable development.
The children helped to read Grandad Mandela and were also asked some questions about human rights. One of the answers was, “You can’t judge children by how we look and feel. We are all fine just as we are”.
A stunning answer from an eight year old. The book Grandad Mandela, the work of Nelson Mandela and now his family shows what can happen to make changes for the better and the enormous courage and work needed to make it happen.
Ofsted Self Evaluation Forms are no longer needed.
The Ofsted SEF or self-evaluation form, as produced by Ofsted are longer a requirement for Early Years Providers.
This is great news, although many providers have been producing their own evaluations linked to their planning and outcomes for some time. The SEF was undoubtedly a good management tool for creating information about the setting and giving practitioners a place to be reflective about their practise.
We are often involved with early year’s providers in action planning, assessments, outcomes for children and management and governance. For many, this will come as welcome news and in the long run I am sure that this is the case. Settings who have become reliant on all the information needed for the Ofsted inspector being available in the SEF will now need to use other tools in their toolkits.
One of the best methods we suggest is to integrate the Action Plans across the setting and the curriculum into a document that can be translated into overall planning. Using a RAG system can easily identify and provide a timeline for actions needed and indicate systems and procedures which are working well.
You can always be bold, and use gold or silver to show that expectations are exceeded!!
In Nursery World, 9.2.18, it states that from 1st April 2008, the online SEF will cease to exist and quote,
“While managers and staff of childcare settings need to be able to evaluate the care and activities their setting provides, and how well they are meeting the learning needs of children to an Ofsted inspector, they do not need to fill in the SEF. This is clarified in the inspectorate’s myth-busting campaign.
Ofsted says that it hopes the removal of the form will help to reduce burden on early year’s providers.”
The Pre School Learning Alliance also mentions that the need for the SEF is part of the myth busting campaign from Ofsted Early Years teams and that by no longer needing to complete the SEF this will enable managers and practitioners to reduce some of the administration burden and be more focussed on the delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage.
I wonder how many settings will stow away their SEF into the bottom of the cupboard and how many will already have developed their own systems and happily send the SEF to the famous filing cabinets!
In the last week all the main party manifestos are launched with main committments and pledges. Well worth reading!!
Our partnership remains fundamentally in support of high quality, affordable and accessible for all families and an effective choice to ensure that children grow and develop, thrive and learn, both within families and in childcare settings.
We work within local authorities and directly with settings to ensure that we are at the forefront of understanding and development.
Family and Childcare Trust are a campaigning organisation with a strong voice towards government understanding.
Julia Margo, Chief Executive has asked for support in the Family and Childcare Trust’s call to the next government to ensure that;
“Every parent is better off working, after they’ve paid for childcare and that every child can access high quality childcare to boost their learning”
The Office for National Statistics have this month (May 2017) just published another edition of the research generated by The Social Capital Project.
The ONS research key indicators of social capital to measure our societal constructs, begin by defining social capital as ‘…the connections and collective attitudes between people that result in a well-functioning and close-knit society‘.
Social captal, the ONS argues, is a useful indicator of ‘…positively functioning well-being, economic growth and sustainability‘.
(We like the framing concept. A better composite measure of human well-being, despite its overt press for economic growth. Better still than measures of ‘human capital’. Prof. Peter Fleming of the Cass Business School has, ahead of his new book The Death of Homo Economicus, written a comdemnatory article of this latter movement in the US journal aeon. Explore it further here…).
1. The most recent data show a largely positive picture of social capital in the UK over the longer-term with over half of the indicators showing improvement over a period of 3 years; a majority of indicators showed improvement or no overall change over the shorter-term 1 year assessment.
2. Most adults in the UK have at least one close friend, rising from 95% in 2011 to 2012 to 97% in 2014 to 2015. However, there has been a fall in the proportion of people saying they have someone to rely on a lot in case of a serious problem; this figure fell from 86% in 2010 to 2011 to 84% in 2013 to 2014.
3. Over two-thirds of UK adults (68%) report stopping and talking to their neighbours in 2014 to 2015.
4. More people are engaging in unpaid volunteering; in 2010 to 2011 the figure was 17% compared with 19% in 2014 to 2015.
What we find interesting in a time where the surface layer of community would, taking a ‘tabloidest’ view perhaps, be comprised of dissent, emnity and huge inequality – there appears to be, in the human interactions referenced, a solidarity and an acceptance of the ‘the other’ that media headlines would deny.
The data presented indicates that this local solidarity is not shaded interpretation or government spin.
The broadly rising ‘close friendship’ indicator may be that in times of community erosion or flex, then people will talk to each other more, seeking a compassionate connection in the face of adverse societal perceptions.
That we now have less people to rely on in emergencies or difficulty may be an indicator as to the qualitative depth of those interactions. We are less likely, perhaps, to seek aid and succour from those whose political opinions, or economic empowerment, we now know radically differs from our own.
The indicator on neighbourliness, whilst good in itself, is a pointer to a shallower qualitative social encounter perhaps? (Not least further affected by the ‘Brexit’ referendum perhaps?
Working in the Third Sector, as we do, the most telling headline for us is the rise in volunteering. This can be a reflection of, for example, more food banks need more people to staff them. More likely, in times of fractious community or political change, the Third Sector and an engagement with it, sees the power of voluntary group activity continuing to manifest itself.
To create your community enterprise or social support service with volunteers provides balm to a troubled community, no doubt, but also increases self confidence, active participation and engagement in communities which hugely benefit the skill set and self-esteem of the person volunteering too, we would argue.
It is heartening that this indicator, in the report, shows a consistent rise from 2010 onwards.
Section Eight of the full report contains the Trust and Co-operative Norms data, drawn from a variety of sources. Whilst 70% of survey respondents say that ‘…most people in their immediate area can be trusted’, only 35% have trust in central Government, and only 35% of respondents indicated that ‘most people can be trusted’ on an aggregate view of their nation, or beyond their local neighbourhood.
In our small way, we work creating community projects across the UK, and work to engage a wide variety of families, children and young people and Third Sector organisations. Those communities, for us, are conditioned by their similarity, not their difference.
The old maxim, that cities are in fact a collection of villages, holds true, we think. From within, all our neighbourhoods, in our experience, are populated by individuals striving for their contentment and happiness, to add to their community’s social capital, if you will.
The measure of our own social capital, and happiness, from the reading of this ONS report is perhaps to step up the fight on inequality and to resist ‘tabloidism’ and the ‘three word headline’ when thinking in community or humanitarian modes.
What can be drawn from the research is the immense importance of relationships and community, in the emergence of healthy, active and content lives. Clearly the pursuit of wealth, fame and other ‘commonsense’ consumerist goals for achievement fall away in terms of objective true value.
It is interesting that the ONS study above should be focused on human capital as a driver for economic growth. Whereas, in the Waldinger thesis, the very opposite is true of long-lived, happy humans.
Oh that government should directly invest in equal measure, then, in the voluntary sector, with all its diversity, complexity and community affinity, as it does in trying to achieve economic micro and macro permanent ‘market’ growth?
We hear so much about achievement and attainment levels and the need for testing and assessment so it was with real joy that I read the article and found that there are others who know that happiness is key to learning.
If a child is not happy they do not find it easy to learn!
Some of the source comments are quoted below. They makes inspiring reading and a great encouragement for education principles which believe in the word ‘educatio‘ meaning ‘leading out‘, rather than levels and testing assesments.
”Happiness has captivated great minds since ancient times, with thinkers as varied as Socrates, Aristotle, the Buddha, Confucius, John Locke and Johann Pestalozzi expounding on its nature and the importance of well-being in our lives. And today messages about the importance of well-being, mindfulness, positive thinking and how to live a more meaningful life seem ubiquitous.”
”Happiness has also become a dominant policy concern for the global community. The United Nations designated today, March 20, the International Day of Happiness in 2012 and identified the pursuit of happiness as “a fundamental human goal” the previous year, while the concept of well-being features across many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
Just last month, the World Government Summit held in Dubai included a high-level Global Dialogue for Happiness, which examined the issue of happiness from a policy perspective. Speaking at the event, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said:
“Paying more attention to happiness should be a component of our efforts to achieve human and sustainable development.”
“But what role does and should happiness play in education?”
One of the most beautiful things we have seen is the Baby Box for all newborns in Finland.
‘I started life in a box, we all did!’ said a colleague, who was proud of the equality given to all babies in Finland since 1938. An equal start, and an equality in society that is mirrored throughout life.
Every Finnish mother receives a maternity grant when baby is born.
We started to get really interested in the concept of the box. At our meeting in the Finnish Embassy, which was actually not to do with provision for babies, we were shown the most beautiful boxes. The box has a mattress and sleeping oufits so the baby can sleep in the box for several months of their life.
The contents of the box include all that you would need for a new baby, and in excellent quality. The clothes, including very warm snuggly ‘all in ones’ are in colours that are gender neutral, and really beautiful. Who would not to have one of these?
An equal start in life it really is. And an equality that pervades the whole of the Finnish culture.
The baby box has been available since 1938 and is provided as the maternity grant. Mothers can choose between cash and the box. Of the 60,000 grants distributed annually by Kela, Social Insurance Institution in Finland, two thirds are taken as maternity packages as the baby boxes with contents.
In the 1960’s sleeping bags first appeared in the boxes instead of quilts. By the 1980’s and 90’s families had become better off, but since the package remained as popular as ever it was decided to continue.
In the 2000’s the boxes continue and the contents are reviewed annually by a social insurance committee following a competitive tendering process, in which quality and affordability are equally important.
The boxes are available to purchase for anyone living outside Finland, who is not covered by the Finnish social security system, and can range from a Summer Basket to a Cold Winter Basket.
Our partnership is very socially minded and this idea has a huge appeal, so simple, so beautiful and yet so practical. It provides an equal start in life and a pride of life in a box shared by all citizens in Finland.
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Preparing for Christmas we realised that although we have a number of active and complex projects moving ahead into 2017, including more international book and author events, web and communications build-outs for community clients and development of our literacy and book projects, we had no homework!
‘We will begin by defining a Social Business according to Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Laurate 2006. We will look at how a Social Business is different from other similar concepts such as Social Economy or Social Enterprise’.
We hope to see how the theories of Muhammad Yunus match our delivered practice, and to discover how other international social business developers interpret their work through the academic theory and practical dialogue that the ‘Pompeu Fabra‘ course will deliver.