Fighting for Deep Social Justice: The Campaign

At SSAT, we know that social justice is a key driver of public policy with broad, cross-party consensus around its importance. Though open to differing, nuanced interpretations, most agree that it is characterised by a focus on the needs of the individual, on equality of opportunity, and in promoting fairness and equity throughout society. In education, it amounts to ensuring that we do our best for every young person in the system, affording each and every one equal opportunities to succeed, realise their full potential, and not be held back by their personal background and circumstances.

While education alone cannot deliver social justice, it can act as a counter-balance to the powerful forces outside the school gates which drive inequities. Schools are part of a collaborative, cross-cutting undertaking to deliver this agenda, and at SSAT, we are proud to be launching this campaign and are delighted that Rt Hon David Lammy MP has agreed to be the Patron.

Our aims for the campaign are to:

  • help understand the barriers to achieving social justice in specific contexts
  • share what schools are already doing to promote social justice
  • position social justice as a driving force for English education
  • work with schools and other stakeholders to reach a shared understanding of deep social justice and make this a reality.

“Education is meant to level the playing field, not kick people off it.”
Rt Hon David Lammy MP, patron of SSAT’s Fighting for deep social justice campaign

Personalising learning

Our working definition of deep social justice is a commitment to ensuring that all young people leave school fully prepared to lead fulfilled and purposeful lives. We think this can be achieved by returning to a personalised approach to education based on SSAT’s Personalising Learning work with Professor David Hargreaves where he grouped the nine gateways of personalisation into the four deeps. We are structuring our work on social justice based on the original four deeps: learning, experience, support and leadership to give schools a framework to work with:

  • Deep learning for social justice: the role of pedagogy in nurturing fulfilled lives.
  • Deep experience for social justice: what knowledge, opportunities and outcomes will end the disadvantaged gap?
  • Deep support for social justice: taking a broader view of the inclusion agenda to embrace all young people.
  • Deep leadership for social justice: placing social justice at the heart of your educational vision, philosophy and practice.

Fighting for Deep Social Justice publications

Next steps

We know that schools in the SSAT network are already doing amazing work to advance this agenda, and we are helping to shape this by publishing a series of practical and thought-provoking pamphlets, hosting headteacher roundtables, and designing resources to help schools take these ideas forward in sustainable and meaningful ways. We are also encouraging school leaders to take the Fighting for Deep Social Justice survey to share what is happening in their schools, and to attend the SSAT National Conference 2019 in December where we will celebrate what schools are already doing to achieve this for their young people, and identify what more we can do together.

We look forward to working with you on this critical agenda to position social justice as a driving force in education.