Developing non-cognitive skills: an exploration into schools' practice

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Ambition Institute is part of the Porticus-funded IntegratED partnership whose aim, amongst others, is to explore the idea of ‘whole-child development’ to promote more inclusive education practices.

Whole child development covers a breadth of developmental areas and approaches, a part of which is the development of a child’s non-cognitive skills. Ambition Institute’s charitable aims are to develop an education system that supports children’s long-term outcomes and ability to thrive. Whilst it is generally accepted that ‘doing well’ at school is linked to later life chances, this is often framed in terms of a child’s academic abilities. The role that non-cognitive abilities play in children’s lives is less well understood, although there is a body of literature on the topic, and less is known about how teachers and leaders in schools can support such abilities. In response, Ambition’s IntegratED project is exploring these questions and intends to generate new knowledge to inform programme design.

As part of a programme of work Ambition Institute commissioned this qualitative exploration of the approaches schools use to develop their pupil’s non cognitive skills. It addressed the following headline research questions:

  • RQ1: How do schools understand the term non-cognitive skills?
  • RQ2: What practices are schools using to develop non-cognitive skills?
  • RQ3: What difference do schools perceive their work on non-cognitive skills to make?

Download the full report here.