Edge (educational foundation)
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Edge Foundation, commonly referred to as 'Edge', is an independent education foundation, dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning in the UK. Its aim is for young people to have the opportunity to achieve their potential, to ensure that the UK’s future workforce is equipped with the skills to succeed.
Edge believes that there are many paths to success. They think that vocational and practical education should be valued just as highly as academic choices. To make this happen, they run campaigns and projects that challenge academic snobbery, stimulate demand for practical learning, and supply innovative learning opportunities.
- 1 Aims
- 2 History
- 3 Edge projects and campaigns
- 4 Other projects funded by Edge
- 5 External links
- 6 References
As well as a better public perception of practical learning, Edge would like to see fundamental changes in the UK education system, including better careers guidance, more opportunities for practical and work-based learning, more employer engagement and an overhaul of teacher training, especially in practical subjects.
In 2003 educational services provider Edexcel was partially sold to Pearson PLC. The trustees of Edexcel opted to use the proceeds of the sale to set up an educational foundation: Edge was formed in November 2004. The trustees of the foundation identified the promotion of practical and vocational learning as the new organisation's primary objective. Since its inception Edge has invested millions of pounds in practical learning schemes and initiatives run by other organisations, as well as running its own projects.
Edge projects and campaigns
Next Step campaign
In August 2008 Edge published the Next Step Guide, which was distributed in the Guardian newspaper. The supplement aimed to promote a wide range of education options for young people, particularly practical and vocational routes.
Business in schools
This is a campaign to encourage employers to get involved in education and help schools and colleges provide work-related learning experiences for young people. It is piloted in Hertfordshire and Yorkshire and the Humber, and it is planned to extend it throughout the country in autumn 2009. The website www.businessinschools.co.uk allows schools and colleges to register their details and select the work-related learning opportunities in which they’re interested. Employers can then visit the site and find nearby schools and colleges in need of their help.
On 23 July 2008 the inaugural VQ Day took place, celebrating the success of those with vocational qualifications across the UK. Edge led the VQ Day celebrations, with support from many of the leading players in the vocational education community. The next VQ Day will be held on 24 June 2009.
Another Way Forward campaign
In 2007 Edge launched its first mainstream advertising campaign. The television ad features a father giving his son a driving lesson, and forcing him to drive the wrong way down a dual carriageway. The captions over the film read: "Are you pushing your kids in the wrong direction?", "An academic route isn't always the right option".
Edge is funding two new schools under the Government's controversial academy schools scheme; one in Milton Keynes and one in Bulwell, Nottingham. The two schools will be housed in brand new buildings and are due to open in time for the 2009/10 school year.
- The Bulwell Academy (co sponsored with The Bulwell Academy Trust)
University Technical Colleges
Edge into Space
Edge invited young people aged 13–17 to invent a device that could be used by in space. Twelve winning teams were taken to the NASA space centre in Houston, USA.
Edge asked young people to come up with a practical idea to combat climate change. Forty-one winners were taken to the Arctic to see climate change at first-hand and carry out experiments with leading scientists.
The Edge Awards take place annually, and reward companies for giving practical learning opportunities to young people. They also reward individual young people who have used vocational learning as a springboard to successful careers. Previous winners include diamond-setting apprentice Alasdair Craig and Suffolk-based juice bar MyJuice.
Other projects funded by Edge
horsesmouth.co.uk is a website billed as "the first dedicated website for informal e-mentoring". It brings together the expertise of volunteer online mentors, with young people who need a mentor's help. Its tagline reads: "Someone needs what you know. Someone knows what you need."
- edge.co.uk homepage
- About Edge page on edge.co.uk
- bbc.co.uk article on 'looming skills shortage'
- Edexcel website history page
- Edge Action page on edge.co.uk
- The Next Step Guide on the Edge website
- Business in Schools
- VQ Day website
- VQ Day photos on Flickr
- Edge campaign website
- Article from Guardian online 'Brown to expand school academies scheme'
- Article on Milton Keynes academy school on council website
- Article on Nottingham City Council website