by Christine Corlet Walker, Consultant at Aleron

Over recent weeks there has been extensive policy debate on what makes for a good education. Should schools focus on attainment? Is selection within the education system beneficial for young people? Should we return to the past to look for answers in today’s education system?

Through our work with social enterprises we see a new wave of ideas and approaches being rolled out to benefit young people in education.

Last week one of these social enterprises, Evolve Social Impact, put on their three-day annual conference for Health Mentors, Educational Leaders and Partners, and we were fortunate enough to be invited along. The theme of the conference was leadership and how everyone can play a role as leaders in today’s education sector.

This theme resonated throughout the three days. In particular, Dave Harris, Business Director at Independent Thinking, talked about the benefits of holistic education, and the importance of leadership in moving towards skills and critical thinking-based education. Creative solutions to difficult challenges, and never giving up, are crucial qualities needed in modern education.

In addition to inspiring talks from leaders in the education sector, we were also encouraged to attend workshops run by Evolve’s myriad of partners. Social businesses and enterprises from a diverse range of sectors, including now>press>play and Lensi Photography, demonstrated the unique approaches and technology solutions that are supporting a more interactive, engaging, and holistic learning experience. Innovative partnerships with innovative partners help Evolve to achieve inspiring change for young people.

The conference was brought to a close with an awards ceremony to celebrate the leaders within Evolve and its wider network. A particular highlight came when Evolve presented its inaugural Health Innovation Within Education Award to an outstanding head teacher from Birmingham, who has focused on children’s holistic development and, by doing so, produced great academic results and demonstrated the links between wellbeing and educational progress.

It was a fitting way to end such a vibrant conference and we hope that the role of social business and social enterprise, and the unique perspective that they bring and the new ideas that they develop, are at the heart of education policy over the coming years. It will be a win-win for young people’s well-being and their education.