Levelling the playing field
Making education fair by giving extra and different to those who would normally be at a disadvantage - so that every learner we work with can be successful.
For some people, a level playing field is a concept about fairness – not that every individual has an equal chance to succeed, but that each individual operates by the same set of rules. For example, in sports, if a field has a slope, teams swap ends at half-time to level out the advantage/disadvantage to either team.
So the concept is that a playing field is level if no external interference affects the ability of players to complete fairly.
However, all the research tells us that there are many ‘external interferences’ that affect the ability of our learners to come at education from an even, or level, starting point. So if we provide the same opportunities for all learners, the provision might be deemed as ‘fair’ but its impact would have the opposite effect from the one we desire. It won’t be as easy for some learners to attain highly as it is for others – those who have the ‘advantaged’ starting point.
In sports, the term ‘handicap’ is sometimes applied (e.g. in golf, chess, horse-racing etc.) to a situation where scoring compensation or other advantage is given to different contestants to equalise the chances of winning. Again, this aims to level the playing field – to give all participants, through an additional advantage given, the chance to win.
This is what Aldridge Education is all about! We want every learner to have the chance to ‘win’. That’s why levelling the playing field is part of our mission – our work involves us in constantly reviewing what we do as we learn what it takes to ‘level up’ and consider how we can use our learning at scale.
You can read more about our approach to levelling the playing field on the links below:
- Success for every learner
- What are our key concepts?
- Big questions we are seeking to answer
- Classroom strategies to deliver a level playing field for our learners
- Working in partnership