Developing character through youth social action

We are a group of Headteachers and Principals from across the UK, from small rural primary schools to large FE colleges.  All of us are united by our commitment to putting youth social action at the centre of character development for our students. 

We know the positive impacts of doing so extend beyond students’ personal development – it also helps to build stronger, more cohesive and compassionate communities.

Name: Ysgol Dyffryn Taf

Headteacher: Robert Newsome OBE

“I never thought I would be able to master the world of computers. However, after engaging with young mentors from Dyffryn Taf’s ‘Silver Surfers’ programme teaching pensioners to engage with emails, Facebook and Facetime, I can now have regular contact with my grandchildren in Australia. I am indebted to them.”

– One of the Silver Surfers

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Name: Ysgol Esgob Morgan

Headteacher: Tim Redgrave

“We love the new polytunnel, getting outside and getting muddy. Mum doesn’t mind because we have wellies and overalls to keep our clothes nice. Eco is the best􀀄!”

– Megan Pursell, Year 5 pupil

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Name: Yeading Junior School

Headteacher: Carole Jones

“Children’s attitudes and values are shaped when they are young and so we cannot afford to wait until we consider them mature enough to engage in social action, we must awaken a sense of social responsibility and give them opportunities to see that what they do can and does matter.”

– Angela Flux, Co-chair of Governors, Yeading Junior School

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Name: Waveney Valley Partnership Federation

Headteacher: Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne

“As Chair of Governors I see huge benefits that are achieved from the schools and scouts working closely together in terms of shared resources, access to opportunities and the increased confidence and self esteem that has a positive impact on the formal learning process. But the impact is much  deeper than the obvious fun achieved through these activities. Raising awareness in our children.”

– Chair of Governors, Dawn Carman-Jones

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Name: Victoria Academy

Principal: Caroline Vernon

“The students have been engaged, inquisitive, communicative, considerate and polite – all key skills for preparing for life in a workplace. The children receive praise from all who come into contact with them; they are outstanding. There is hard evidence that this work has real outcomes.”  

– Jonathan Lee, Managing Director, CN Media Group

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Name: The Regis School

Headteacher: Mike Garlick

“Through the Rights Respecting Programme of care, respect, interest and compassion, the result is a generation of students who are becoming inspiring and aspiring human beings. We were astounded by them”

– Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury

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Name: Swavesey Village College

Headteacher: Andrew Daly

“Brandon inspired the whole school to raise over £5000 for MAGPAS air ambulance after they saved his life on the day of his accident. He told me it feels like he’s achieving something and helping other people.”

– Brandon’s Mum

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Name: Sutton Community Academy

Principal: Tim Croft

“It was great to teach local pupils about business, they were very interactive and took everything on board. To involve them in the setup of Nottinghamshire Homeless Eyecare is fantastic”

– Nigel Davidson, local businessman

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Name: Star Academy

Principal: Nicola Broomhall

“I just love my academy. I feel proud that it allows me to build up to the job I want to do when I am older which is a teacher. I am determined I am going to get there!”

– Year 6 student from the traveller community

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Name: Royal School Armagh

Headteacher: Paul Crute

“Some people think ‘a good education’ simply encompasses the theory you are taught and grades you attain, but positive, meaningful engagement gave me the skills and confidence to strive for excellence in all aspects of my life.”

– Nathan Cantley, student

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Name: Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School

Associate Headteacher: Scott Garrity

“We want all our 14-19 year olds will make an #iwill pledge while the 11-13 year olds will be encouraged to make an #ican or an #iam pledge, which will encompass character work and promote youth social action.”

– Scott Garrity, Associate Headteacher

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Name: Northumberland Church of England Academy

Executive Director: Andrew Day

“Transforming a community is about changing perceptions of young people towards their community. Youth social action encourages young people to look with fresh eyes at their communities and to see ways in which they can help to make a difference.”

– Andrew Day, Headteacher

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Name: Northern Regional College

Principal: Prof. Terri Scott

“Those who take part in volunteering and social action initiatives always develop necessary life skills including independence, confidence, social skills and become better team players. Employers and universities take note of volunteering because it demonstrates a student’s dedication and they know that they will have already developed many of the skills required for work and further study.”

– Una O’Kane, Careers Adviser

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Name: North Ormesby Primary Academy

Principal: North Ormesby Primary Academy

“The children have worked really hard over the past year to support Middlesbrough Foodbank, both collecting food at the Harvest Festival with Holy Trinity Church, and also raising money by wearing Christmas Jumpers. Both events combined practical action with reflection about people who are struggling without enough food, helping the children understand why it is important to care for others.”

– Heather Black, Chair of Middlesbrough Food Bank

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Name: Newton Farm Nursery Infant and Junior School

Headteacher: Rekha Bhakoo CBE

“By being actively involved in activities which make a difference to other people has totally transformed my outlook on life. I am committed to stepping up and volunteering to serve others so that we have a world where we are respectful, tolerant and compassionate.”

– Rhiannon, Year 6 student

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Name: King’s Leadership Academy

Associate Principal: Dr. Andrew Reay

“2015 has been my most rewarding year so far. The opportunities I have had to make a difference in people’s lives has changed me forever.”

– Rachel Addison, a Year 10 student and member of the King’s Parliament

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Name: Haywood Academy

Executive Headteacher: Carl Ward

“Good relationships between education and industry is vitally important. We are absolutely delighted to support this project.”

– Kevin Oakes, Chief Executive of Steelite International

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Name: East Norfolk Sixth Form College

Outgoing Principal: Daphne King

“My final volunteering placement led to a full time job!”

– Chloe Beattie, former college student

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Name: East Kent College

Principal: Graham Razey

“Fantastic project. Learnt a lot and brushed up on some skills and now feel more confident working in teams.”

Toby Allen, Catering Student

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Name: Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig Inbhir Nis

Headteacher: Barbara Smith

“It’s very interesting knowing what would happen when they were younger, compared to what our lives are like”

Sian Jamieson, P7 Pupil on the residents of Cameron House, the local dementia care home.

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Name: Bournemouth School for Girls

Headteacher: Alistair Brien

“I have gained so many valuable skills that I know I will take forward with me through my entire life. I know I have personally developed my leadership, teamwork, organisation and creativity – to name just a few!”

– Rachel Ruck, 6th form student

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Name: All Saints Church of England Junior School

Headteacher: Alison Wyld

“When you enter the school, one has a feeling of well-being. The tea-party was a delightful experience. It was such a pleasure to see the children enjoying serving and looking after their guests. Older children showed great care towards the younger ones and consideration for everyone.”

– A guest from a community Tea party

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Name: Bishopbriggs Academy

Headteacher: Gordon Moulsdale

“A significant benefit has been seeing the pupils develop maturity and confidence when volunteering at the cafes and events; they seamlessly interact with the people with dementia and their carers both in the care home and café settings.”

Karen Heath, part of the ‘Action on Dementia’ team

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Name: Bethnal Green Academy

Principal: Mark Keary

“Once again, thank you so much for the incredible efforts Bethnal Green Academy has gone to in fundraising for Crisis. It’s people like you who enable us to transform the lives of homeless people.”  

– Community Director, Crisis

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