Sutton Trust CEO, Dr Lee Elliot Major, is quoted on the importance of life skills in an article by Robert Wright in the Financial Times.
As Efe Ezekiel addressed a group of teenage boys at a conference centre near Ipswich, her audience listened attentively. When the youth mentor asked for a volunteer, a hand shot up.
A boy named Luke was soon on his feet, shoulders back, learning how to make good first impressions. “When you meet someone, what are you going to do, Lukey?” Ms Ezekiel asked him. “You’re going to smile! Let me see your smile!” Luke was one of 14 boys from schools in Ipswich at the session, part of a pilot to test whether intensive training can improve the opportunities for boys from parts of the UK where children face poor life chances.
The programme is particularly aimed at white working-class boys, who are the least likely of any social group to go to university, have the worst GCSE exam results of any group in England and are least likely to find jobs after leaving school.
Focus on life skills, not just academic performance Lee Elliot Major, chief executive of the Sutton Trust, which works to improve social mobility through education, said it was important to improve students’ overall life skills, which had as much impact on children’s chances as their academic performance.
That the programmes were being attempted was positive, he said, but he added: “The problem is we have very little evidence of what programmes work.”