Learning is everyone s business: Educational partnerships between schools, philanthropic, business and third sector organisations

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1 NOVEMBER Learning is everyone s business: Educational partnerships between schools, philanthropic, business and third sector organisations Adam Smith Centre for Strategic Education (CSE) is the business name for IARTV ABN Mercer House 82 Jolimont Street East Melbourne Victoria 3002 Phone Fax

2 Learning is everyone s business: Educational partnerships between schools, philanthropic, business and third sector organisations Adam Smith Introduction 3 Who else is becoming involved? 4 The changing role of philanthropy 5 Motivating factors 6 Understanding the new entrants in school education 6 The enabling policy environment 7 The leadership challenge 8 Barriers to partnership and participation 9 The Five Conditions of Collective Success 9 A framework for understanding the new paradigm 10 Where to next? Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series Paper No. 220, November 2012

3 ISSN ISBN Centre for Strategic Education, Victoria. The Centre for Strategic Education* welcomes usage of this publication within the restraints imposed by the Copyright Act. Where the material is to be sold for profit then written authority must be obtained first. Detailed requests for usage not specifically permitted by the Copyright Act should be submitted in writing to: The Centre for Strategic Education Mercer House, 82 Jolimont Street, East Melbourne VIC (*The Centre for Strategic Education (CSE) is the business name adopted in 2006 for the Incorporated Association of Registered Teachers of Victoria (IARTV). Therefore, publications which were previously published in the name of IARTV are now published in the name of CSE.) Produced in Australia by Centre for Strategic Education Mercer House, 82 Jolimont Street, East Melbourne VIC 3002 Editorial Team: Tony Mackay, Keith Redman, Murray Cropley, Barbara Watterston, Andrew Miller

4 Learning is everyone s business: Educational partnerships between schools, philanthropic, business and third sector organisations Introduction Gone are the days when we outsourced teaching and learning to a single teacher, a single classroom or a single school. Real time, real world, 21st century learning has changed the place and purpose of school education forever. While the core mandate of a school remains focused on organising and facilitating learning, the task of preparing every young learner for an uncertain future is one that is increasingly being addressed by a diverse range of stakeholders. Two fundamental changes have occurred that in part explain this. 1. The divide between formal and informal learning has become blurred, almost indefinable, largely due to the increase in access to a range of technology and portable devices. 2. There are more individuals and organisations than there have been ever before taking an interest in understanding, promoting, supporting and delivering learning for young people matched with an acknowledgement that many of the best reforms and approaches will come from non-traditional sectors and sources. Given the complex demands faced by schools in the twenty-first century, and the limited nature of the resources available to meet these demands, schools and governments are increasingly looking to external partners to support their needs. There has been a shift at the policy level globally towards more inclusive, collaborative and holistic ways of working. As in the area of health, in education there is a growing recognition of the need to help schools cope with the complex challenges they face (Butler et al, 2005). Schools can t do it alone ; they are increasingly looking to communities to help build capacity and improve educational outcomes. (ACER, 2011, p 6) 3

5 4 Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series Paper No. 220, November 2012 Who else is becoming involved? In a world where the most in-demand jobs today did not exist a decade ago, we need to be engaging and equipping our learners differently and preparing them for a future that is uncertain a future that will require solutions to problems we do not know are problems yet, using technologies and tools that have not yet been invented. Coupled with this, we are seeing the costs of formal education increasing, when overall government spending is contracting. While there have always been advocates, donors and supporters of school education, we are seeing an unparalleled range of entrants in the learning space typically with a focus on either innovation and improvement or equity and opportunity for all. the relationships that can form between schools and the community through a range of non-monetary philanthropic activities have a positive impact on student outcomes. The review continues to state that the education sector as a whole attracts the highest number of volunteers in Australia and is the fifth highest recipient of donations after religious organisations, international aid, community or welfare organisations and medical research. Educational commentators have reflected further on the significance of this trend. There is historic change under way in school education in Australia. It is the seemingly unstoppable momentum for significant funds from the not-for-profit, philanthropic and corporate sectors to be directed to public and private schools, especially the former. Less than a decade ago, it was a common if not prevailing view that public education should be supported exclusively from the public purse. Parent contributions, community working bees and sponsorship from local business were encouraged and generally welcomed but the sum total of their contributions rarely matched the systematic and often substantial support that is now evident. It is difficult to identify the reasons for the change or pinpoint the time at which a tipping point was reached. Suffice to say that there is now general recognition, transcending ideology, that the whole community should support its schools. It is important to understand the motivation of such organisations and the impact that they are having. First we must understand who they are. These organisations typically include philanthropic trusts and foundations; corporations and industry partners; and third sector organisations. What scale and impact are we talking about in terms of what they do? Around 5,000 philanthropic trusts and foundations, many of which have an education focus, distributed over $1 billion in Australia in Around 59,000 economically significant third sector organisations contributed $43 billion to Australia s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in million volunteers work with third sector organisations, with a wage equivalent of $15 billion. The recent Review of Funding for Schooling, often referred to as the Gonski Report (DEEWR, 2011), estimates that $1.4 billion was provided in 2009 to schools from private sources, including donations. The review also suggests that, beyond financial contributions, (Professor Brian Caldwell, in his Foreword to Anderson and Curtin, 2012, p i) There are countless examples in Australia and abroad of school communities working more strategically and more collaboratively to meet the needs of young learners and their families. Much of this has come about through the traditional school system and systemwide incentives;

6 Learning is everyone s business: Educational partnerships between schools, philanthropic, business and third sector organisations local leadership and without any system influence or incentive; third sector intervention. Typically, partnerships between schools and philanthropy, and schools and business, are understood, and the inherent value has been investigated and promulgated frequently over the past decade. However this has been less the case with the role of third sector organisations. The changing role of philanthropy The changing role of philanthropy in Australia more broadly should also be acknowledged. Almost all brokering organisations and service providers receive philanthropic funds, and often they are able to develop an evidence base and increase in scale because of a willingness to invest by an increasing number of trusts, foundations and individual donors. This continues to create an additional channel of activity and thought leadership in education in Australia, and we must work more proactively to ensure the philanthropic sector is working in genuine partnership with the education community. Nowhere in the world does philanthropy play a more dominant role in school education than in the United States. In Education Next (2005), Richard Lee Colvin asserts that local and national foundations, corporations, and wealthy individuals, have played many important roles in K 12 education: creating new schools, underwriting research, funding scholarships, testing hypotheses, generating new curricula, invoking ideals, setting agendas, bolstering training, and building a case for policy changes. While additional investment in school education should be welcomed, there is much work to do to educate and inform existing and potential donors. In The Stanford Innovation Review (Winter 2011) John Kania and Mark Kramer argue that the heroic efforts of countless teachers, administrators, and nonprofits, together with billions of dollars in charitable contributions, may have led to important improvements in individual schools and classrooms, yet system-wide progress has seemed virtually unobtainable. They go onto suggest that it is no longer enough to fund an innovative solution created by a single nonprofit or to build that organization s capacity. Instead, funders must help create and sustain the collective processes, measurement reporting systems, and community leadership that enable cross-sector coalitions to arise and thrive. we must work more proactively to ensure the philanthropic sector is working in genuine partnership with the education community. This is equally true in the Australian context. The National Audit Office (UK) refers to third sector organisations as the range of organisations that are neither public sector nor private sector, including voluntary and community organisations (both registered charities and other organisations such as associations, selfhelp groups and community groups), social enterprises, and co-operatives. Three qualities unite the third sector. 1. They are independent of government. This is also an important part of the history and culture of the sector. 2. They are values-driven. This means they are motivated by the desire to achieve social goals (for example, improving public welfare, the environment or economic well-being) rather than the desire to distribute profit. 3. They reinvest any surpluses generated in the pursuit of their goals. For this reason they are sometimes called not- 5

7 6 Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series Paper No. 220, November 2012 for-profit organisations. A better term may be not-for-personal-profit or social profit. In many cases, these organisations make surpluses (or profits ) in order to be financially sustainable. Further research conducted by Michele Lonsdale for ACER (2011) indicates that the main reasons given by schools for forming partnerships with external organisations were to improve student engagement; improve academic outcomes for students; enhance the social wellbeing of students; and Motivating factors broaden vocational options and skills. There are numbers of motivating factors that have led to multiple stakeholders entering the school education arena. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following. These motivations and attitudes are consistent all around the world. As the CBI (Confederation of British Industries), the UK's premier business lobbying organisation, found in its 2010 report Fulfilling Potential (Undated) Many contemporary social challenges are too complex for any single structure or organisation to address in isolation. The number of third sector organisations has increased exponentially, in line with diminished government investment in direct services. Third sector organisations have come to realise that schools are quite literally the most stable, consistent and unparalleled structures which bring children, families and communities together. motivations and attitudes are consistent all around the world. The 2011 report of the Business School Community Roundtable highlights schools motivations to develop relationships with business and the community. These fall into five broad categories, which are 1. provision of funding or additional resources; 2. r e s p o n d i n g t o i n d u s t r y n e e d s a n d fostering improved pathways for students into employment; 3. creating opportunities for mutual benefits; 4. recognising the potential for relationships with business to add value to the school in areas that might otherwise be unfulfilled; and 5. leveraging stronger relationships into the future. It is not business role to teach. But business engagement in schools can be a powerful tool in helping to raise achievement through making clear the relevance of the skills and knowledge learnt at school to the workplace and to ensure more young people leave the education system with the skills needed for success in their working lives. Understanding the new entrants in school education Understanding the composition of the workforce in many of the organisations increasing their work within and around schools is very revealing. The overwhelming majority of new entrants are choosing not to employ qualified educators and instead see their role as attracting alternative skill sets into education and/or finding more cost-effective mechanisms to deliver each intervention (such as online delivery of programs, or through employing teaching assistants rather than teachers). There are inherent risks associated with this approach, which include the following. While most work is conducted within schools, it is yet to be embedded within systems and therefore provides more of a supplementary/improving function rather than a transformational function.

8 Learning is everyone s business: Educational partnerships between schools, philanthropic, business and third sector organisations Many entrants are seen to be doing things to schools rather than with and through schools. While the intention is honourable, this often creates a degree of discomfort with many educators and ultimately contributes to an impact that is unsustainable. There is a rapidly increasing rate of growth evident, both in the number of new entrants and in the increase in scale/capacity/scope of current providers. However, quality assurance is becoming a problem. The return on investment of collective investment/impact of all new entrants remains unclear. It is also unclear whether the collective investment (financial and otherwise), in and through new entrants, would have more or less impact if it were to be provided directly to schools. There are countless examples of schools leading change across all four quadrants occasionally enabled by existing systems, but often in spite of them. Creating a thriving, highly interdependent, ecosystem in education is critical. A 21st century education for every learner cannot be guaranteed if we do not deliver this. Australia has a solid policy platform and enabling environment, however we must do more to promote genuine and mutually beneficial interdependency. New entrants should be welcomed and encouraged in a manner that empowers the education profession and advances the policy ambition currently in place. Australia is currently at risk of running two parallel agendas. One is driven by government at a systems level, the other is largely driven by new entrants. While there are somewhat superficial connections between both, we are missing an enormous opportunity to harness the collective impact if both were aligned. Many of the innovations made possible through the work of new entrants are highly visible, however we also need to honour the many schools and school leaders who are leading transformation in their own schools and communities. The enabling policy environment The national architecture of school education in Australia consistently promotes the role of philanthropy, the corporate sector, and third sector organisations in improving learning outcomes for young Australians. This is evident in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA, 2008), in the Review of Funding for Schooling (DEEWR, 2011), and in the National Professional Standards for Advanced Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL, 2011). There has also been some direct investment in partnership building by government. There have been many attempts by state and federal governments in Australia to harness the capacity of these partnerships and encourage and incentivise further investment and activity. While significant (but as yet unquantified) value has been added, there are no data to suggest that we have come close to realising the potential impact of multiple stakeholders in school education. As part of a government effort to promote the establishment of meaningful, studentcentred partnerships in and around school communities, state and federal government departments have funded a range of brokering services. Examples of these in Victoria,1 funded through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), include Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs) providing links to other education providers, such as TAFE and ACE (Adult Community Education), business and industry; School Focused Youth Service Coordinators (SFYSCs) providing links between schools and relevant youth services and agencies that have a client base of young people in need of additional support; Koorie Education Coordinators and Support Officers (KECSOs) who can provide a strategic link between relevant DEECD employees, school staff and external agencies; 7

9 8 Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series Paper No. 220, November 2012 Multicultural Education Aides (MEAs) who assist schools to understand the home cultures and school community expectations of education, whilst also assisting newly arrived families. The Commonwealth Government, through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), supports a variety of brokering-type initiatives, typically funded through the National Partnership Program. This program includes an initial investment of $183 million for the School Business Community Partnership Brokers Program, which seeks to build community capacity and infrastructure, and to improve community and business engagement with schools. The program is designed to foster a strategic, whole of community approach to improving education and transition outcomes for all young people. This is achieved through a national network of Partnership Brokers who create new partnerships and enhance existing partnerships between and among four key stakeholder groups: education and training providers; business and industry; parents and families; community groups. Partnership Brokers assist key stakeholders to enter into partnership arrangements that will enrich the learning experience for young people leading to improved levels of participation, engagement and attainment. These partnerships harness resources and build local infrastructure to support communities to share responsibility for young people s learning and development. Partnership Brokers work with key stakeholders to identify the needs of their region, help partners to agree on how they can work together towards a common purpose, and support partnerships to achieve their goals. (DEEWR, 2012) The leadership challenge We have recognized that leaders who want to transform education systems, who are on the road to Education 3.0, need to steer not only their formal school system but also a wider ecosystem of new providers, cultural organisations, and new opportunities for informal learning. They need to be able to harness the power of innovative approaches, to learn from what works. (Hannon et al, for CISCO and the Innovation Unit, 2011) Establishing partnerships within and around schools requires a skill set that is often not specifically nurtured and invested in, particularly in schools that may benefit the most from additional support. The role of a school leader continues to change and evolve rapidly and never before has it been more important for school leaders to see themselves as community leaders, mobilisers and network builders. A consistent criticism of some corporate and third sector intervention in schools is that to ensure a substantial community benefit, the school must contort itself to fit within the requirements of the other partner (particularly with regard to funding, reporting and logistics). It is very important for school leaders to be proactive in mapping the needs and opportunities within the community and pursuing partnerships that complement the vision of the community, rather than constrict it. Establishing peer networks with other community leaders is also a powerful way of forging relationships that share a powerbase and a common intention. There are countless examples of high impact partnerships happening in schools across Australia, often led by passionate school leaders with a commitment to opening up the school gate, inviting the community in, and taking learning outside. Too often this happens in spite of the frameworks and policies in place, not because of them and, as such, it would seem that there is still a way to go in aligning policy and practice in this domain.

10 Learning is everyone s business: Educational partnerships between schools, philanthropic, business and third sector organisations Barriers to partnership and participation There are numbers of barriers to genuine partnership with third sector organisations, which stem from both schools and from organisations directly. Barriers may include schools not knowing what to ask for from well-intentioned third parties; logistical challenges (timetables, reporting, working with children checks); a widely held view that the school day is already overcrowded, and that anything else is a distraction; a degree of resentment about other sectors seeming to come into schools with solutions, many of these interventions often being seen as arrogant, unrealistic or unsustainable; the fact that we do not have agreed measures or metrics for articulating the impact of such partnerships; and schools not knowing what facilitation support is available to them (such as Partnership Brokers). The Five Conditions of Collective Success (The following are drawn as an edited extract from Kania and Kramer s Collective Impact, 2011.) Common Agenda Collective impact requires all participants to have a shared vision for change, one that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions. Shared Measurement Systems Agreement on a common agenda is illusory without agreement on the ways in which success will be measured and reported. Collecting data and measuring results consistently, on a short list of indicators at the community level and across all participating organisations, not only ensures that all efforts remain aligned, it also enables the participants to hold each other accountable and learn from each other s successes and failures. Mutually Reinforcing Activities Collective impact initiatives depend on a diverse group of stakeholders working together, not by requiring that all participants do the same thing, but by encouraging each participant to undertake the specific set of activities at which it excels, in a way that supports and is coordinated with the actions of others. Continuous Communication Developing trust among nonprofits, corporations, and government agencies is a monumental challenge. Participants often need several years of regular meetings to build up enough experience with each other to recognise and appreciate the common motivation behind their different efforts. They need time to see that their own interests will be treated fairly, and that decisions will be made on the basis of objective evidence and the best possible solution to the problem, not to favor the priorities of one organisation over another. Backbone Support Organisations Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organisation and staff, with a very specific set of skills, to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative. Coordination takes time, and none of the participating organisations has any to spare. The expectation that collaboration can occur without a supporting infrastructure is one of the most frequent reasons why it fails. In the best of circumstances, these backbone organisations embody the principles of adaptive leadership: the ability to focus people s attention and create a sense of urgency; the skill to apply pressure to stakeholders without overwhelming them; the competence to frame issues in a way that presents opportunities as well as difficulties; and the strength to mediate conflict among stakeholders. 9

11 10 Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series Paper No. 220, November 2012 A framework for understanding the new paradigm A white paper released by CISCO and the Innovation Unit in the United Kingdom (Hannon et al, 2011) outlined a new framework for understanding the rapidly changing education landscape, and highlighted the importance of considering the impact of having such a range of providers across the formal informal learning continuum. Figure 1 suggests that the focus of existing providers working in formal learning settings is typically on improving outcomes for learners. Our schools fit clearly within this domain. There are new entrants joining the formal learning realm, who typically have a focus on reinventing learning. There are two dominant examples of this in Australia one is the increasing number of for-profit providers establishing a range of new training organisations and learning institutions (including virtual ones) in Australia, and the second is the emergence of third-sector organisations who are establishing new learning environments, and in some cases their own model of education. Big Picture Education Australia is an example of this. settings. This often has more of a remedial focus and often provides additional support to those learners and families who need it the most. Examples of such providers include Teach for Australia, The Smith Family, The Song Room, Beacon Foundation and Ardoch Youth Foundation. Finally, new entrants, working across informal learning platforms, are typically focused on providing a new paradigm for learning to occur. Many of these initiatives have more of an entrepreneurial or 21st century focus, promote learning across a range of integrated platforms and give ultimate control to the individual learner. The Khan Academy is an example of this. Figure 2 indicates the proportionality of providers and entrants existing within and around school education. Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming number of organisations consists of existing providers operating formal learning environments, the majority of which are our schools. In contrast, the smallest numbers are of the new entrants in informal learning, creating a new paradigm through which learning occurs. The focus of existing providers working across informal learning settings is typically on supplementing the work being done in formal It is interesting to overlay where policy most supports and enables both intervention and innovation. What should be avoided is privileging one type of approach over any Figure 1 Figure 2 Formal Learning Informal Learning improving supplementing Formal Learning improving Existing Providers Existing Providers New Entrants New Entrants reinventing (Source: Hannon et al, 2011, p 11) new paradigm reinventing (Source: Hannon et al, 2011, p 12) Informal Learning supplementing new paradigm

12 Learning is everyone s business: Educational partnerships between schools, philanthropic, business and third sector organisations other; instead our focus must be on generating an appropriate mix of activity across all four quadrants. Applying the framework makes it clear that education systems have much to gain by fostering connections between formal and informal learning, between existing providers and new entrants, and between service providers (mostly teachers) and service users (mostly students). In order to bring about this interconnected learning ecosystem, system leaders need to reposition themselves so that rather than being primary providers of education, they provide a platform for a diversity of providers. (Hannon et al, 2011) What this framework does not capture clearly is the increasing role of brokers and third party facilitators working across each of the four quadrants. In addition to the brokering role funded by government, organisations such as these work to harness the talent and resources of other sectors, and bring them into school education. Examples include: United Way Australia; B u s i n e s s Wo r k i n g Wi t h E d u c a t i o n Foundation; Australian Business Community Network; Social Ventures Australia. Consider the following case studies that have been reported. Case Study 1 Schools First, National Australia Bank (NAB) NAB Schools First is a national awards program, which recognises and rewards outstanding school community partnerships that are having a positive impact on students beyond the classroom. The program supports Australian schools working in partnership with their communities to help young people realise their potential. Since 2009, NAB Schools First has awarded 440 school community partnerships with over $18 million in funding to support and sustain their effective school community partnership. To date, 30 per cent of Australian schools have submitted an application for a NAB Schools First Award. In 2012, $3 million in awards funding has been awarded to 130 Australian schools across three award categories: 1. Impact Awards for existing partnerships that can demonstrate impact; 2. Seed Funding Awards for new or developing partnerships; and 3. Student Awards for partnership ideas initiated by students. The award-winning partnerships were those where the contribution of the partners went beyond the provision of goods or money to helping schools develop programs designed to address specific needs relating to improving outcomes for students. Specific examples of how community and business partners have helped schools included: conducting training sessions across a wide range of topics; providing relevant work experience, including industry experience for teachers; helping teach specific skills and knowledge related to the curriculum; donating equipment and produce; organising field trips and camp activities; linking other community groups and support services with the school; providing facilities, materials, advice or resources; helping students with resumes and interview preparation; helping students get drivers' licences so they could get to work; helping students complete official employment-related documents; showing students potential career and study pathways; working with students to improve the physical environment of the school; helping create market gardens and harvest food produce from these; and providing social contacts within the community and giving students a better awareness of the services available for young people. (Lonsdale, 2011) 11

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