Changing Schools Together Young People As A Source Of Energy For Change In Education

Friday, March 27, 2015 by richard

On 4th March 2015 we hosted an event to share and learn from our recent Changing Schools Together programme, which ran for two and a half years from 2012 to 2014.

We wanted to bring together young people and teachers from the programme and give them an opportunity to share a rich picture of their experience together with a range of stakeholders who had not been directly involved. Our aim was to support an open dialogue about the learning and implications of the work for people, practice and policy.

It was a lively morning and the big talking points included:

Mutual respect – the young people felt very strongly about why this is important, what it looks like and how it increases confidence. They said that it’s clear people find it easier and safer to talk when mutual respect is explicit.

Keeping momentum going – not exactly a surprise topic and it provoked an interesting discussion about where does the energy come from, the model or process or from the young people involved?  How does the school create space for dialogue? The importance of young people’s natural energy seems like an important asset – in school and beyond!

Embedding change and leaving a legacy – teachers and students wanted to emphasise the importance of the perception of any group of people trying to lead change.  It must be seen to be about real change for students and staff to take it seriously.  Thinking in advance about how to sustain the group as people leave and join (the group and the school!) also helps.

Personal impact – teachers and students talked about increased confidence and skills (for now and later life) and also a sense of being part of the school and feeling listened to.  Relationships between teachers and young people felt less scary with more trust.

We would like to thank everyone involved again for giving up their time and energy to take part.

You might like to read this blog from Fiona Munro at The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) who was there and has reflected on what she heard and the insights it prompted.