Three Church of England primary schools in the Birmingham area were the first schools within the Diocese of Birmingham to take part in the Young Leaders Award this year. St Barnabas C of E School, St Francis C of E Primary School & Nursery and St Mary’s CofE Primary Academy & Nursery, all part of the Fioretti Trust, ran the Key Stage 2 YLA with Year 4 pupils.
The schools set out with the aim of the YLA facilitating stronger links with their local churches as part of the Church of England’s ‘Growing Faith Initiative’.
“Growing Faith promotes a partnership between the three communities of Church, School and Household to enable the discovery, exploration and growth of faith for all in those communities.”
Pupils explored leadership skills and stories of inspirational leaders, they learnt about the work of charities and considered their place in their local, national and global communities. They put their learning into practice by taking part in personal challenges to help others around them and also organised community action projects to meet needs in their local area.
The young leaders from St Barnabas C of E School decided to tackle the problem of litter in their community and worked with the local church and a local initiative ‘Erdington Litter Busters’ to carry out a litter pick. They had a very positive experience of younger and older generations working together and realised something of the potential for them as young people to change the mindsets of others.
Denise Gardner, KS2 Teacher at St Barnabas C of E Primary School shared that the children wanted to promote caring for their local area and to set a positive example.
“At first, they weren’t too sure if the adults would listen to children. I think the Young Leaders Award really helped them to see that they could be that change and make the change in the community and lead it.”
Pupils from St Mary’s C of E Primary School noticed a problem with traffic building up outside their school and decided to think of ways they could reduce this. Aisha Mobin, KS2 Teacher at St Mary’s C of E Primary School reflected that taking part in the YLA had increased her pupils’ confidence and care for one another.
“The Young Leaders Award has really enabled them to take responsibility for themselves and take the initiative, make the right decisions for themselves, make the right choices.”
All three schools built new links and strengthened relationships with their community and churches which will continue in future. The pupils themselves were inspired and empowered to make a difference and to ‘be the change they want to see’.
Emma Jones-Ethos Champion for the Fioretti Trust said;
“The project has enabled the children to see their community with fresh eyes, with hope that they can become agents of change…it has enabled our children to have a greater and deeper understanding of the role of the church in the community and to work in partnership with them in a new and exciting way. We hope to inspire the children to become grown ups who see people’s needs and think that they are empowered, they can make a difference in people’s lives.”
The Young Leaders Award supports schools to educate pupils’ hearts and minds and to help them to flourish and realise their potential as unique individuals, who have a vital role to play in our society.