The world is changing. The landscape of Europe is evolving. Demographics are shifting. New industries and employment opportunities are emerging, and Doncaster too is on its own distinctive transformational journey.
Disruptive change – in the form of environmental concerns or radical new technologies – is becoming the norm. How, then, can we best ensure that Doncaster’s citizens, young and old alike, are adequately prepared for an uncertain, challenging and hopefully better future?
This was the remit given to the Independent Commission on Education and Skills appointed by Team Doncaster to help Doncaster manage its future collectively, consistently and confidently.
Our task was to analyse the existing system of education and skills provision to assess its fitness for purpose. We were asked to identify barriers to development, outline how existing assets and strengths could be
built upon and make recommendations for actions to be taken by a range of stakeholders.
Our analysis confirmed the picture
so often drawn for us by people we met: that Doncaster comprises a set of organisations and communities, each with its own identity, traditions, strengths, resources and ambitions, that are too frequently disconnected from each other and disengaged from a cohesive sense of shared purpose and overarching aspiration.
The Commission concludes that this is holding back the development
of Doncaster, obscuring what is
a powerful, collective energy that
can fuel and accelerate widespread positive change – and enable Doncaster to steam ahead once more.
The Commission has analysed the data collected which underlines the scale of the challenges faced. We appreciate that Doncaster is dealing with a number of long-standing economic, educational, social, and communications challenges.
It is our clear view, however, that the time is now right to tackle these challenges collectively. The whole community needs to unite to take forward a borough, rooted in bygone revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries, that has the potential to become a shining example of post- industrial 21st century civic and community transformation.
The Commission’s view is that
many of Doncaster’s issues can be addressed by changes in approach and working practices amongst
the professional stakeholders we consulted; others require political and organisational commitment; and some are a consequence of wider social
and economic pressures that require regional and national action.
The Commission’s report highlights an outline ‘phased approach’ of how the recommendations made might be prioritised and actioned.
The Commission comprised of a group of five individuals. We were invited
to take an independent and objective view of Doncaster. We saw evidence of sufficient ‘change agents’ and ‘energy creators’ amongst those we consulted in the education and skills sectors, the local authority and business communities, and across a wide range of other stakeholders, who we judge have the will, the capacity, and the vision to make a significant difference to the life chances of Doncaster’s citizens.
However, to make the changes needed to move Doncaster forward, these people, working with all stakeholders, must:
• accept the inadequacies of the current system
• agree the need for change
• make a collective effort to develop a local culture of collaboration and self-confidence
It has been a huge privilege to work with the people of Doncaster on
this report; we have been inspired
by the openness to change we have encountered here, challenged but nor daunted by the volume and scale of the ambition for transformation that is evident, and uplifted by the determination and passion of the people of Doncaster to create something better for themselves and their communities.
- Cabot Institute