The Sir Stanley Matthews Coaching Foundation (SSMCF) develops and educates young people into rounded, active citizens. We do this by supporting and advising sports projects across the globe as well as running our own.
Whether cricket or football, sailing or any other sport, the common thread uniting our work is the seven values that Sir Stanley Matthews embodied:
- Health & Nutrition
Our focus is on disadvantaged children, wherever they are in the world. This is because research shows that such young people rarely fulfill their potential due to a lack of 'life skills'. By supporting the charity, you will help us instill these values into many more children.
The majority of our work focusses on disadvantaged children, both in the UK or overseas.
Research in the UK by the Sutton Trust shows how the odds of success do not favour this group. For instance:
Only 4% of disadvantaged students have high attainment at KS2, compared to 13% of non-disadvantaged pupils.
While 72% of non-disadvantaged high attainers achieve 5 A*-A grades or more at GCSE, only 52% of disadvantaged high attainers do.
Just 1 in 17 high attainers are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
A critical reason for this underperformance is a lack of soft skills. Again, research findings from the Sutton Trust are illuminating:
Essential life skills such as confidence, motivation, resilience and communication are associated with better academic outcomes and better prospects in the workplace, and there is an increasing emphasis on their value, given labour market trends towards automation. While 'character' has traditionally been a focus of British private school education, the provision in the state sector has been patchy.
There is broad recognition of the importance of such life skills, with 88% of young people, 94% of employers and 97% of teachers saying that they are as or more important than academic qualifications. 72% of teachers believe their school should increase their focus on teaching life skills.
Three-quarters of young people believe that better life skills would help them get a job in the future, and 88% say that they are as or more important than getting good grades. However, only 1 in 5 pupils say that the school curriculum helps them 'a lot' with the development of life skills.
Extra-curricular activities can contribute to the development of these skills, but almost two in five young people (37%) don't take part in any clubs or activities.
There are also substantial socio-economic gaps in access to extra-curricular activities. For instance, pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to take up such offerings as their better-off peers (46% compared to 66%), with just half of those receiving free school meals (FSM) doing so.
There are also substantial gaps in provision, with schools with higher numbers of FSM pupils less likely to offer extra-curricular activities.
While 94% of employers report that life skills are at least as important as academic results for the success of young people, 68% say 18-year-old school leavers they are looking to recruit don't have the required skills for the workplace.
Unequal access to opportunities for developing life skills plays a role in the over-representation of those with independent school backgrounds of the UK's top professions. Giving young people from all backgrounds a more significant opportunity to develop those skills can, therefore, be an engine for opportunity and social mobility.
In short, there is a lack of non-academic, extra-curricular activities that limits life chances and reduces social mobility.
The problems facing disadvantaged people across the globe are, if anything, more severe and chronic than those encountered in the UK. Sir Angus Deaton, the 2015 Nobel Prize winner for Economics, has brought insight and awareness to the subject.
For instance, he has shown that while it has been known for many years that disease and mortality rates can be reduced significantly with proper sanitation, many poorer countries still fail in this respect. The reason for this? Lethargy on the part of governments and a lack of awareness and education on the part of families and children.
Sir Angus has gone on to show that the solution offered by rich countries to this issue, namely funnelling cash into more impoverished countries, is not working. He explained how, in 2011, governments across the world offered more than $133.5 billion in development aid, with another $30 billion coming from charities. Yet, poverty remains widespread, child mortality continues to occur at elevated levels, and the number of orphans in the world grows by nearly 6,000 a day.