Last week, Year 6 pupils across United Learning celebrated graduating from the Group’s Primary Student Leadership Programme.
The programme aims to encourage primary pupils to develop social action projects to raise awareness and funds to support issues they care about. It was launched through a series of workshops across the country which were designed to build children’s confidence in their own leadership potential and facilitate discussions amongst pupils about world issues and how they could have a positive impact on these. In groups, pupils chose an issue on which to base a social action project back in their own schools, supported by a Year 8 mentor from another United Learning school.
In a ceremony held on Friday 4 March at Barclays HQ in London, 90 pupils from 11 United Learning primary schools met back up to celebrate and reflect on their programme successes. The schools involved were Abbey Hey Primary Academy, Beacon View Primary Academy, Cravenwood Academy, Greenacre School for Girls, Hampshire Collegiate Prep School, High Hazels Academy, Kettering Buccleuch Academy, Langford Primary, Rowan Preparatory School, Surbiton High Prep School and The Victory Primary School. 26 of the Year 8 mentors also attended the ceremony – these students came from Greenacre School, Kettering Buccleuch Academy and William Hulme’s Grammar School.
The graduation ceremony was pupils’ opportunity to give presentations on their projects, sharing what they had hoped to achieve, what they had learnt and how they had had a positive impact on the issues that mattered to them. All of the groups had developed thoughtful, detailed project plans and really worked to make these a success.
For example, one group of Kettering Buccleuch Academy pupils decided to stage a mini funfair to support their school’s four house charities. In their presentation, they explained how they planned and marketed their event and how they dealt with unexpected problems such as a last-minute date change.
Another group, from Beacon View Primary Academy, organised a range of fundraising activities for their chosen charities: WWF and Childline. As part of their project, the pupils delivered whole-school assemblies explaining why the charities were important to them and how the money raised would help. Their presentation included some key reflections about how they would manage their time better in future and become better listeners in group work.
As well as presenting on and receiving awards for their group projects, pupils took part in a workshop with Free the Children and The Diana Award about empowering change and children as leaders of social action in their own lives and communities. To finish off the day, they also enjoyed a special performance from Lara Lee, a finalist on BBC’s The Voice, who as a singer and poet has focused a lot of time on youth and community projects.
Commenting on the day, Jon Coles, Chief Executive of United Learning, said:
‘This ceremony has been a great demonstration of the power of children to lead social change within their own schools and communities. We have seen some excellent examples of young leadership and entrepreneurial talent amongst our pupils and I hope that the projects this year’s graduates have presented will inspire other pupils to achieve just as highly in the future.’
Year 6 pupil Lashawn from Kettering Buccleuch Academy, said of the event:
‘I really enjoyed this day because it was really fun. It was probably the best project I’ve ever done.’
Jessica, another Kettering Buccleuch Academy pupil said:
‘I really enjoyed it. Even if we didn’t get to raise as much money as we wanted to, we still got everyone smiling and having a good time. I learnt I need to be faster when it comes to these things!’
Sam, a Year 6 pupil from Hampshire Collegiate School, said:
‘We did a project about deforestation and our charity was World Land Trust. We learnt not to waste paper and that teamwork is one of the most important things. It was really great listening to everyone talk about their projects and seeing what they had done.’