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Exploring the 7 Tests

The 7 Tests of Advantaged Thinking are a helpful lens to review your own practice through – and they can help you to deepen your organisation-wide approach too.

In this Section

An organisation-wide approach to the 7 Tests

As part of the Foyer Federation’s quality development programme, services reflect as an organisation using the 7 Tests as a framework. Here are some activities, questions and ideas to help you do the same.

First, create together a visual display that illustrates the 7 Tests with experiences, words and images. This will bring AT to life, create shared understanding and spark ideas!

Test One: Talk

Take a look at how your organisation promotes itself and the people your work with. Review your posters, leaflets, website, images and other advertising. Ask yourself and each other:

  • How much positive vs negative language is there?
  • What would those who access your service change or add?
  • If those who use your service had a section of wall or a noticeboard, what would they put on it?
  • Is there anything positive people wish they had known about the service in a referral leaflet?
  • Do staff make enough statements that promote people’s positives?

Test Two: Understand

Explore storytelling as a way to understand life experiences, achievement and identity. This could include poetry, music, public speaking, art, diaries, scrapbooks and mood boards, blogs and vlogs, photography, short films, conversations and interviews, or any other form of expression that helps young people articulate an aspect of their story in a positive way.

These could be shared (at least internally) through a publication, story wall or celebration event.

Test Three: Work with

Facilitate a discussion with people accessing your service about which qualities they value most in staff. Questions to consider include:

  • What skills and approaches matter most?
  • What does the ideal staff member and team look like?
  • What should staff be like?
  • What should staff be able to do on a regular basis?

Co-create a list of best practice principles to be used in recruitment, induction and training and consider how 1-1 support work approaches and plans could be improved from this perspective.

Test Four: Invest

Find out how the people you work with would like to invest any available resources to improve the service offer. What could staff and those who access your service do together to develop the offer using their collective skills and interests?

Test Five: Believe

Explore how you can capture the dreams, hopes, goals and achievements of those who access your service in creative ways. They may wish to express themselves using art, writing, music, photography, mood boards, an achievement board or tree, or a display. This can help to promote and share that the service believes in young people’s aspirations.

Test Six: Involve

Understand the types of involvement young people actually want. Consider how the service can involve people in decisions and developments through different forms of representation in house meetings, staff meetings, management meetings, a youth advisory group, or more interactive digital forms of communication.

If an effective form of representation doesn’t already exist, services think how it could be established. If it does exist, think how it could be developed to achieve greater impact.

Test Seven: Challenge

Discuss which campaign issues most inspire the people you work with. Ask them to choose a social issue that matters to them – either influenced by the Tests or other areas of interest.

Work with the group to promote this positive campaign within your service, organisation and community, connecting with any existing local or national campaigns to help shape the project where appropriate.

Exploring AT with People page

Exploring AT with People

Involving the people you work with is at the heart of an AT culture. Here we’ll explore ways to reflect, gather insights and involve those who access your service in your AT journey.

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