On Thursday 26 November, 100 Year 6 pupils across United Learning took part in the Group’s Student Leadership Programme as part of its enrichment initiatives.
Four separate conferences were held in schools across the country, in partnership with Free the Children and WE Day, to give pupils a chance to learn about leadership, public speaking and social action. Pupils from 13 of the Group’s primary schools took part: Abbey Hey Primary Academy, Beacon View Primary Academy, Cravenwood Primary Academy, Greenacre School, Hampshire Collegiate School, Hanwell Fields Community School, High Hazels Academy, Kettering Buccleuch Academy, Langford Primary School, Rowan Preparatory School, Surbiton High School, The Victory Primary School and William Hulme’s Grammar School.
During the day, representatives from Free the Children and WE Day ran training sessions for pupils on successful leadership, how to be an engaging public speaker and social action projects. There were some stimulating debates between the children on topics that interested them, such as homelessness and poverty.
The conferences involved pupils, in their school teams, designing a project to take back and implement in their own school. The aim of this was to encourage children to be leaders of social action within their local communities, raise awareness and funds to support issues they cared about and to support their peers to do the same. For example, one group of pupils decided they wanted to host a pantomime show and use the revenue from ticket sales to support their local children’s hospital. They also wanted to film the performance so that they could share this with children from the hospital. The pupils will now begin to work on these projects with support from Year 8 United Learning students.
Participating pupils have been invited to a special graduation ceremony in March to celebrate the completion of their social action projects. Each school will get a chance to use their public speaking skills to talk about their successes and share what they have learnt from the process.
Describing the day, Jon Coles, Chief Executive of United Learning, said:
“These conferences have been a great opportunity for pupils to develop strong leadership skills and use their voices to create positive change within their own communities. It was fantastic to have pupils brimming with ideas about getting involved in issues that really matter to them and supporting local charities.
“I am confident that taking this enthusiasm back to their schools will encourage other children to get involved in social action. We look forward to hearing about their successes at the graduation ceremony in March.”
There was a great deal of positive feedback from the conferences from children and staff alike. Pupils said that they enjoyed meeting new friends and working with them in their teams to plan how they could make a difference to the things they care about.
One pupil said of the experience:
“I learnt that I can be a leader even though I’m shy.”
“I learnt that children really can change the world.”
United Learning's Enrichment Programme offers a range of extra-curricular opportunities for pupils across the Group, working towards our Framework for Excellence principle 'Education with Character'.