Pupils from seven United Learning schools were invited to celebrate social action at Free the Children’s national WE Day event this year.
Children and young people have the chance to earn tickets to the annual event based on their contributions to a local or global community. This year, United Learning pupils of all ages joined 12,000 young people from across the UK at Wembley Arena to listen to inspirational life stories, share in each other’s social action successes and hear live music from artists such as Rita Ora and Labyrinth.
The United Learning pupils who were lucky enough to secure a ticket have been taking part in a range of social action projects in their schools over the past year and this was their chance to celebrate and be rewarded for their contributions locally and globally. The schools that took part were Abbey Hey Primary Academy, Hanwell Fields Community School, Hull Collegiate School, Surbiton High School, The Hurlingham Academy, The Regis School and Wye School.
Abbey Hey Primary Academy’s Year 6 ambassadors had been inspired by United Learning’s Primary Student Leadership Programme to develop further social action projects. Following workshops from Free the Children representatives, pupils organised a bake sale to raise money to help reduce homelessness and poverty in their local area.
At Wye School, a group of students worked with the Salvation Army to get an insight into what life can be like for those less fortunate. Subsequently, they held a food collection in support of the Salvation Army’s local food bank, creating posters to let other students know what to donate to help those in need. Just before Christmas, every student brought in at least one food item to create a total whole-school donation of 532 items (over 200kg worth of food) which benefited the homeless and less advantaged families in the local area.
At Hull Collegiate School, students and staff support a range of charities including the L6ve Life Foundation for Motor Neurone Disease, the Teenage Cancer Trust and Real Aid. Hull Collegiate’s Sixth Formers have also established strong links with a number of local schools; they volunteer at Ganton Special School, a school for 3 to 19 year olds with severe learning difficulties, and Oakfield School, a residential school for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, and mentor pupils at Hull Children’s University. Internationally, the school raises over £4,000 each year for the sponsorship of pupils at Great Lakes High School in Uganda.
Students at The Regis School, which is a Unicef Rights Respecting school, have also developed a number of social action projects this year. Two students were featured in the Free the Children film and photography which was played on the Wembley stage to celebrate their participation in social action. One Year 10 student, Kasjan Paszkowski, was an Honoured Guest at the event because he is a member of the national Free the Children Youth Advisory Committee.
Among other projects, The Regis School students have been inspired by the idea of empowerment through economic independence. In order to benefit both a local and global action, students organised their own ‘Mini WE Day’ event to raise awareness about the long-term positive impact of giving women in developing countries a goat, enabling them to support themselves and their families. Inviting pupils from 14 local primary schools, students arranged activities such as meeting a goat, goat’s milk tasting sessions and expert talks on using goats’ waste to fertilise crops.
Macy, a Year 6 pupil from Abbey Hey Primary Academy, said of the WE Day event:
‘It was inspirational and it made me realise it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, you can do anything.’
Megan Chapman, a student at The Regis School, said:
‘I found the entire experience inspiring. WE Day opened my eyes and I can see the full effect that we, as a local and global community, can have. It showed me that we can make a change for the better. I am glad that I have been a part of this unforgettable day and I hope to help encourage others to make a change that they want to see in the world.’
Hannah Kelleher, a student at Wye School, said:
‘I am so proud that the school came together to help others.’