Looking back, looking forward: #WeAreTFTF

Updated: Feb 8

Our Founding Story

Think for the Future was founded in 2012 in partnership with the University of Nottingham.

We started by working in very challenging school environments trialling different models of intervention designed to drastically improve outcomes for the hardest-to-reach students by reducing exclusions, improving behaviour, and transforming educational journeys. From the start we were heavily focussed on capturing impact data and comparing the success of different models of delivery. We have spent the last 10 years developing and refining our Behaviour & Resilience Mentoring Provision; including our curriculum, mentor training, school management and our impact measurement system. We now work closely with over 120 schools across 12 local authorities, with over 5000 young people every week who are disengaged from education.

Disengagement from Education – Why does it matter?

Disengagement from education is a problem that many schools and young people face across the UK. This can be caused by both extreme high-level behaviour and exclusions as well as poor mental health and wellbeing. The relationship between disengagement from education and behaviour/wellbeing is complex and nuanced. In many cases it is not only the effect of behaviour and low emotional wellbeing, but can be the cause too.

Every year 8,000 children are permanently excluded from school and an even greater number are moved into alternative provision (AP) through other routes. This is important because both school exclusion and being educated in AP are correlated with poorer life outcomes: less than 5% of students in AP pass their

English and Math's GCSE, half are NEET (Not in education, employment, or training) 6 months after leaving AP, it’s been linked to exacerbate poor mental health and 1 in 4 prisoners report being permanently excluded from school.

As an organisation we understand that school leaders have to have clear boundaries in managing behaviour, and in many instances, schools are forced to permanently exclude students for the safety of staff and other students in school. However, as an organisation we believe that the outcomes being achieved by students who are permanently excluded are not good enough. Something has to change and we want to be an important part of this change.

Disengagement from education is much wider than permanent exclusions, in many ways these cases are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Looking at the data into the causes of permanent exclusions, we can see that over a third of exclusions are caused by ‘persistent disruptive behaviour’. Disruption to learning in the classroom has huge knock-on effects on the welfare of teaching staff and also negatively impacts the learning of other students.

Furthermore, there are many students that we would describe as ‘disengaged from education’ who do not demonstrate any challenging behaviour. They may be suffering from poor mental health, low self-esteem, and challenging environments at home. Schools do a huge amount of brilliant work to identify and support these students, however what we also know is that too often they fall through the net. This might result in low educational attainment, or long-lasting poor mental health and wellbeing which has consequences far beyond the reach of education.

We are excited to continue delivering our tailored Social and Emotional Learning curriculum to help develop your student’s character and emotional resilience which gives them the skills and knowledge to transform their school engagement. Our industry-leading TFTF impact system automatically collects large amounts of behavioural and outcome data from your school, which shows that our provision has a significant impact of student outcomes such as: reducing negative behaviour points, improving attendance and reducing fixed term exclusions.

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