This blog was written by Mama, a first-year member of the Fair Education Alliance (FEA)’s Youth Steering Group, Denise, a second-year Youth Steering Group member and FEA Youth Engagement and Data intern and Bethel, the FEA’s new Youth Engagement Coordinator.
Importance of Youth Voice within the Education Sector.
To truly understand the importance of including the voices of young people in education, we must understand the concept of youth voice. Youth voice in education refers to actively seeking and incorporating the experiences and ideas of young people, in order to bring about and inform changes within schools and the wider sector.
As young people, we must be part of the conversation and work in collaboration with those in power to create a fair education system. Not only are we then more engaged in our own education, but high-quality youth engagement ensures that programmes and curriculums are inclusive and effective. It gives young people a sense of ownership over their education, allows them to develop skills important to them, and ensures that education is empowering for all. The capability of young people is greater than too often presumed, and we should be taught fundamental skills that will enable us to make our world a better place for all. Ultimately, youth voices in education must be encouraged, received and actioned, as there is no power to knowledge that is acquired until it is applied.
Our diverse identities and lived experiences as young people empower us to drive change and apply our knowledge to define solutions for local and global issues, from inequality and climate change to the application of AI and mental health. However, understanding the intersectional aspects of youth voice is crucial; which is why the FEA, in partnership with Mission 44 and Pears, are working to ensure that youth engagement is more inclusive and accessible to underserved Populations.
As members of the FEA’s Youth Steering Group, we work in partnership with FEA on policy influencing, investing in innovative ideas and more. Over the past year, we have participated in youth advisory groups with the Children’s Commissioner, influenced Ofsted’s Alternative Provision Strategy, advocated for change with MPs in Parliament, and submitted evidence to the Education Select Committee. We look forward to continuing to contribute to conversations on how education is taught, regulated and how applicable knowledge acquired in the classroom is to the real world.
Fair Education Alliance’s Youth Engagement
Youth engagement is an integral aspect of the FEA’s work. We integrate youth engagement in three keyways: by actively incorporating the experiences and ideas of young people (youth voice), involving young people in decision-making processes (youth participation), and supporting young people’s acquisition of skills and resources for driving positive change (youth social action).
We are grateful to Mission 44 and Pears Foundation for partnering with the FEA, ensuring that young people across the education sector are respected and heard, and have the skills and opportunities to create change. We invite anyone who would like to be part of this movement to join the FEA Youth Engagement Working Group, featuring capacity building workshops for members and the wider education sector on youth engagement best practice, co-facilitated by young people.
As International Youth Day approaches, let us celebrate the profound impact of young people being heard across the education and youth sectors. Together, let’s strive to cultivate a more inclusive future where all young people, regardless of their socio-economic background, can be empowered to fulfil their potential.
This blog was co-authored by…
FEA Youth Steering Group member
FEA Youth Engagement and Data intern
FEA Youth Engagement Coordinator