Parenting is considered to be the most rewarding journey of your life but it is also renowned for its ability to provide the sternest of challenges, the reasoning why Beverley Burton has gone the extra mile to provide the right support.
As a leading educationalist, Beverley’s work has spanned the country, building expertise and generating key experience on developing young people who are equipped to succeed along the way – ultimately the core foundations for writing her first book.
Beverley says: “I want the book to be affirming for parents and carers. I have not written this as the perfect parent from the perfect background in a perfect parenting
“The book, titled ‘How Can We Equip Our Children To Succeed?’ aims to help parents reflect on their parenting, with valuable insights for those who are not parents, to take away.
Beverley says: “I want it to act as a reminder in the hectic pace of life and the demands on our time how important it is to be positive with our children and to coach
them rather than tell them.”
The book, which was released in December 2013, is unique in the sense that it combines wide-ranging research with personal experiences to identify what is required to succeed in an ever-demanding world.
Beverley says: “I have used my professional background to inform my parenting and my parenting to inform my work. For example there is information in there about learning, about how we learn and how we can help our children learn from everything. All parents want to help their children at school but may not have an understanding of learning because their field of experience or working background is different”, Beverley added.
With some of Beverley’s projects interacting with a variety of age ranges, the book could have easily taken another path.
“With my equipped2succeed framework, I have worked with all sorts of people from seven to sixty-seven. My decision to begin with a book that supports parents is partly that I realise how challenging that role can be with many conflicting demands on parents. I also have my own longitudinal study in terms of parenting, with my own children!”, Beverley explains.
Helping people fulfil every ounce of their potential has always been Beverley’s professional focus, who lives in the Carrington area of Nottingham.
Beverley says: “Empowering people to succeed has been my passion since I did teacher training. An early indicator of this was my first teaching practice in an inner-city school in Hull, where I attended University.”
“I had a class of eight and nine year olds and I absolutely loved it. I went back to college for a debrief on our teaching practice and I remember saying I had a great class with some really bright kids and the tutor stopped me to say no actually they were not really bright – we will send you to a good school next time.”
“From that moment I really fought against that notion that you judge children on the basis of where they are from. Children from all backgrounds have an amazing capacity to learn and achieve if they are given the right opportunity”, she added.
Beverley’s two children Harriet, 25, and George, 21, who were both born and raised in Nottingham and attended Carrington Primary School, played an important role in not only encouraging their mother to write the book but also by inspiring some of the content that features inside.
Beverley says: “The style of the book is a mix of information about why it is important to develop these key attitudes, thinking and behaviours in young people and
sharing practical examples of how I have developed those understandings with my children.
Harriet and George have been amazingly supportive and really wanted me to do this, and I am very grateful to them for allowing me to share our experiences, even the
more difficult times”, she adds.
And despite any differences in personality or interests, Beverley’s children have managed to achieve success in what they are most passionate about.
Beverley explains “Harriet is slightly dyslexic which is a challenge in education but she went all the way, after attending Bluecoat School and Bilborough College, to gain a first class degree at Sheffield Hallam University. George is very bright linguistically and naturally very good at English. I have to say he was not studious but he did well in his GCSEs, at Djanogly City Academy. He went on to Bilborough College for a little while but his focus was on being a cricketer”, she adds.
While acquiring skills and building intelligence are key components of every young person’s persona, other aspects that contribute to well-rounded individuals can fall short in modern curriculums.
Beverley says: “In the education system we clearly focus on knowledge and skills. What makes the real difference in people in all walks of life are attitudes, thinking
and behaviours. We do not systematically enable our children to develop those in school and sometimes not at home. In terms of employability, these make the difference in getting a job and progressing in a career.
We can ignore attitudes and beahviours and say people are ‘just like that’ and it’s easy to say our children are ‘just like that’ too. But there are lots of things we can
do to develop positive mental attitudes, self-belief and a real understanding of what it takes to succeed. It’s important to empower our children to aim high and
learn that you get out what you put in – you decide what you want, you decide what you are prepared to pay and you do it”.
The notion that underprivileged backgrounds can hamper chances of success is something this book challenges,as what’s in it is applicable to everyone.
Beverley says: “There are too many examples of people who have gone on to do fantastic things with their lives, having come from backgrounds where they could
have easily used that as an excuse not to. Why do some kids come out with that aspiration and self-belief and others not?
Part of that is nature and part is nurture: having the right opportunities and the right challenge as well as the right support. We have to balance that with our children.”
A key theme of the book is enabling children and young people to aim high, set goals and determine their own positive future.
“I think expectation has an enormous part to play. If parents, teachers and those around children do not expect a lot of them it is challenging for the children to expect
a lot of themselves. The other extreme can be just as limiting: parents having too set expectations, in terms of mapping out their children’s lives and career paths. I hope my book helps parents to empower, enable and equip their children to be the best they can be in every way”, Beverley adds.
How Can We Equip Our Children to Succeed? Empower, Enable and Equip Our Children to Develop the Attitudes, Thinking and Behaviours to Learn, Achieve and Be
All They Can Be? is available on Amazon and to find out more about the Beverley’s work, visit www.beverleyburton.com.
Jordan Rowson, Journalism Student at De Montfort Univeristy in Leicester, who attended Djanogly City Academy.