Minister for Civil Society visits Whole Education
MINISTER FOR CIVIL SOCIETY VISITS WHOLE EDUCATION DURING NATIONAL STUDENT VOLUNTEERING WEEK - February 2016
The Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, visited Whole Education during National Student Volunteering Week to find out how Whole Education is supporting schools and students to develop spread excellent social action practice and student leadership through its new student network.
The Minister met with three students from Whole Education Pathfinder school, School 21, who, as part of their ‘Real World Learning Projects’ have been visiting Whole Education weekly throughout the Spring Term to help set up the Whole Education Student Network (WESNet). They were joined by a designer from Makewaves who was helping the students to design the student network’s online platform and digital badges, which students within WESNET will be able to earn by, for example, sharing the brilliant social action work happening in their schools.
The Minister was very interested in the WESNET online platform and encouraged the students to consider how they will measure its success. The Minister also discussed with Whole Education staff the importance of social action for every child.
Heather Tyldesley, one of our Network Facilitators overseeing the Youth Social Action Project, said of his visit “The Minister was really interested in how our student interns are setting up WESNet and the Youth Social Action Project – he had some great questions for the students that really go them thinking. Hopefully he will come back and see use later in the year to see how WESNet has grown, and to be inspired by some of the great social action happening!”
Whole Education Student Network (WESNet) and our Youth Social Action Project
In November 2015, Whole Education successfully secured funding from Cabinet Office and Pears Foundation’s Youth Social Action Fund, to help schools to develop and spread effective social action practice.
Great examples of social action and student leadership already exist in many schools within the Whole Education Network, and so the WESNet will provide us with a key mechanism for spreading this knowledge and experience, with students central to making that happen. However other schools feel that their students are not given genuine and authentic opportunities to lead on things, that many projects end up teacher-led and that the activities suffer as a consequence. That’s why our project will help schools to create truly student-led opportunities for young people that equip them to make a real and meaningful difference to their school, local, national or international communities.
This two-year project will initially work with fifteen schools across three regions, using the Learn to Lead model of co-production to support students to change the culture of their school toward an ethos that Learn to Lead have developed over ten years. We’re really excited to see how ‘team’ of students doing social action in schools involved in the project will share ideas with other students throughout our student network in the years ahead.
For further information, please contact Lizzy Jones at Lizzy@wholeeducation.org
Notes to editors
+ Whole Education is a partnership of like-minded schools and organisations and individuals that believe that all young people should have a fully rounded education, developing the knowledge, skills and qualities needed to help them thrive in life and work. Skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication; qualities like resilience and empathy in addition to subject knowledge and a wider understanding of our culture, form what we call a fully-rounded education.
+ Whole Education was one of nine organisations to be awarded a share of the National Youth Social Action Fund, jointly run by the Cabinet Office and Pears Foundation, worth £1.2m. Whole Education are using their network of schools across the country to work with students who will take inspiration from existing social action projects and embed the culture of social action in their school.
+ The Youth Social Action project, in which Whole Education is partnering with Makewaves and Learn to Lead, grew out of Whole Education’s Development and Innovation Hub. The Development and Innovation Hub provides a space for Whole Education Partners and schools at the leading edge of practice to come together and effectively pilot and test new approaches through funding provided by the Whole Education Network. Though the Hub, Whole Education is able to facilitate links between innovative schools, funders and organisations with a desire and capacity to work in collaboration to tackle some of the big challenges our schools and the wider system are facing through whole education approaches.
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