Young Leaders build a legacy for future generations

November 27, 2023
Young Leaders build a legacy for future generations

Courageous advocacy and enabling pupils to be active ‘agents of change’ is at the heart of St Thomas Cantilupe Church of England Primary’s vision for their students. St Thomas have been running the KS2 Archbishops’ Young Leaders Award with their Year4 pupils since 2020 and, although it was challenging at times, especially with the pandemic, the teachers recognised the importance of the Award on the pupils’ understanding and involvement with courageous advocacy and social justice.

‘We knew that courageous advocacy would make a difference to our children and would fit so well with our values of unity, perseverance and love.’     Headteacher

Since 2020, the Young Leaders at St Thomas have been involved in a range of environmental and social projects that have benefitted the school and local community.

This year, Year 4 pupils have fundraised for the Royal National College for the Blind, which is based locally in Hereford. The Young Leaders organised an afternoon of games, a bake sale and fun and raised an amazing £225 for the charity.

‘Getting to learn about and help charities is amazing!’      Year 4 Young Leader

Pupils at St Thomas Cantilupe are not just leaders in Year 4. In Years 5 and 6, they continue their Young Leaders journey, using all the skills they developed from taking part in the programme and identify other areas they can become active agents of change.

Some of the Year 5 pupils this year decided to raise awareness of the condition of their local river. Their River Wye project, ‘Stories of Change,’ began as a conversation, linking with local food producers, environmental groups and residents and grew when BBC Countryfile became interested in the children’s work and visited to Hereford to film. The children linked with citizen scientists and presented their own film, at the Bishop’s Palace, to an audience including the city mayor, the Bishop of Hereford and local councillors.  You can view the film on the school website:

In the school Eco Club, children focused on key initiatives linked to recycling and electricity usage. One of their most successful initiatives of the year was the clothes swop shop. Families brought in clothes that they no longer needed, and children organised them ready for other families to take home, free of charge. This brilliant idea showed the children how they could support not only the environment through re-using, but economically in saving money.

Even though the new academic year has only just started, the pupils are building on their Young Leaders legacy and have already started discussions on aspects of school and community life they would like to advocate for or lead on. These ideas include lunchtime clubs run by the Year 6’s on Geography, History and Art which are proving very popular with younger pupils!

‘The Archbishops’ Young Leaders Award and the Church of England’s publications helped to shape our thinking about courageous advocacy. This has now grown and is truly ‘shining a light’ because children themselves are driving change through unity, perseverance and love.’     Headteacher

St Thomas Cantilupe pupils are incredible examples of ‘being the change they want to see’, not just now but also for many years to come.

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