The Schools’ Energy Co-operative wins national business award

Barrow-based enterprise, The Schools’ Energy Co-operative Ltd, has scooped a prestigious national business accolade – taking home the prize for the Inspiring Co-op of the Year at the Co-operative of the Year Awards.

Members of the co-op were presented with their award at a gala dinner during Co-op Congress, the sector’s annual conference, which was celebrating its landmark 150th year.

Organised by sector body Co-operatives UK and supported by The Co-operative Bank, the annual awards are a celebration of excellence and achievement in the co-op sector.

The Schools’ Energy Co-op Ltd was launched in 2014 to provide community sourced funding for solar panel systems on schools. It has since installed panels on 48 schools all over the country, providing them with a sustainable solar-powered electricity supply and engaging both the local community and students in its projects.

Laura Moreno from The Schools’ Energy Co-operative, said: “We are thrilled to receive the award and the recognition of our work helping schools to tackle climate change by generating green energy on their roofs.”

The co-op scooped the prize after a public vote which saw numerous organisations and individuals shortlisted in six categories. A record 33,000 votes were cast, with nominations and votes coming from large and small businesses, members, customers and co-operators across the sector.  

The record year for the awards also saw the introduction of two new categories for individual co-operators: the Co-operator of the Year Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other winners were The Co-op Group, South Tyneside Council and Bristol Wood Recycling Project. Individual awards went to Leeds Bread Co-op’s Lorraine Power for Co-operator of the Year, and Daily Bread Co-op founder Roger Sawtell, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: “The Co-op of the Year Awards is always a special occasion. And once again, worthy winners have taken home the coveted prizes. The Schools’ Energy Co-operative Ltd – and all our winners and nominees – are an outstanding example of how working co-operatively creates opportunity, prosperity and meaningful work, and brings social and economic benefits to communities and businesses throughout the country.”

Maria Cearns Managing Director, Current Accounts and Savings from sponsors The Co-operative Bank, said: “What a great evening celebrating the achievements of a number of co-op organisations over the last year. A huge well done to all the nominees – for doing valuable, essential work growing the UK’s co-operative economy and using the power of co-operation to enable businesses to flourish in a fair and equitable way. Congratulations to the winners who thoroughly deserved their awards.”

Chessington World of Adventures chooses eco-friendly furniture

Chessington World of Adventures in Greater London has chosen to equip its outdoor spaces with eco-friendly furniture made from 100% recycled plastic.

The Merlin Group theme park is constantly striving to reduce its global impact on the environment and as such looked at a more sustainable range of picnic benches for its guests. After researching options, the company decided upon NBB Recycled Furniture, a UK organisation that designs and manufactures stunning outdoor furniture made from 100% recycled high-density polyethylene.

Jamie Chestnutt, Sustainability Manager at Chessington states: “We looked at various options for our outdoor furniture and made the decision to go with NBB. The furniture they produce exactly matched our criteria of being attractive, hard-wearing, safe and environmentally friendly.

“It is our aim to ensure that all guests that visit our theme park feel comfortable, so we have purchased a variety of picnic benches to accommodate the diverse range of guests we have, including larger groups and wheelchair users. It is really pleasing to have found a supplier that can produce the furniture we require so our guests feel welcome as well as helping us to achieve our environmental goals.”

Having saved over 92,000 plastic milk bottles from entering landfill sites so far with its choice of outdoor furniture, the park is now working with NBB to replace its existing bins with 100% recycled plastic options.

To find out more about the range of outdoor furniture and accessories from NBB, visit, or call their friendly team on 0800 1777 052.


After months of judging and the highest number of entries in its 11 year history, the winners of the Tes School Awards have been revealed!

The most outstanding individuals and institutions that the education sector has to offer gathered together for a celebration at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London on Friday (21st June).

Schools and individuals from across the UK were recognised for incredible contribution to education.

Tes Editor, Ann Mroz said: “We had a record number of entries this year and the standard was incredibly high so all our winners should be extremely proud of their achievement.  The quality of entries was superb, and as always, our illustrious panel of judges deliberated long and hard to reach its final selections. 

“We’ve had the privilege of hearing about so many creative and inspiring initiatives that are improving outcomes and life chances of young people.  The spirit of great teaching really was at the heart of each and every entry and it’s been wonderful to see such amazing ideas and excellent practice emerging from our schools, especially considering the difficult circumstances that many schools operate under.”

The Tes awards have been running since 2009 and recognises the outstanding individuals and institutions that the education sector has to offer.  They were judged by a collection of the UK’s most illustrious education experts. 

Comedian, Harry Hill, who presented the awards said: “I felt quite emotional tonight giving out these awards – thanks so much for inviting me. What a night!”

The list of winners were:

  • Services to education award: Baroness Warnock
  • Lifetime achievement award: Teresa Roche, Derbyshire
  • Overall school of the year: Meadow View Farm School, Leicestershire
  • Primary school of the year: Grendon Church of England Primary School, Northampton
  • Secondary school of the year: Cathedral Academy, Wakefield
  • Alternative provision school of the year: Meadow View Farm School, Leicestershire
  • Early years setting of the year: Little Forest Folk Wimbledon, Wimbledon
  • Headteacher of the year: Naveed Idrees, Bradford
  • Healthy school of the year: Fairfield Primary School, Cumbria
  • Creative school of the year: Admiral Lord Nelson School, Portsmouth
  • Sustainable schools award: St Colm’s High School, Londonderry
  • International award: The Observatory School, Liverpool
  • New teacher of the year: Abed Ahmed, Birmingham
  • Classroom support assistant of the year: Aimee Durning, Cambridge
  • English teacher or team of the year: Joseph Cash Primary School, Coventry
  • Maths teacher or team of the year: The Totteridge Academy, North London
  • School business manager of the year: Mark Reed, Lancashire
  • Science, technology and engineering teacher or team of the year: Tapton School Academy Trust and Fields of Learning, Sheffield
  • Innovative use of technology to influence outcomes award: Oxfordshire Hospital School, Oxford
  • Community and collaboration award: Bradford Academy, Bradford

New data reveals nearly ¼ of parents believe responsibility for educating their children about financial matters lies elsewhere

According to a recent survey conducted by the team at Guarantor Loan Comparison, it has emerged that nearly 25% of parents who have children aged under 18 feel that they are not the most responsible for educating their children about financial matters.

Using data sourced from respondents across the UK from all walks of life, the survey looked to gain a greater understanding of the level of financial support parents provide to their children.

Along with direct financial support, educating children about how to handle money is essential for their future development and long-term well-being.s the above data shows, three-quarters of parents are prepared to provide this education.

However, attitudes show that it is not deemed the sole responsibility of parents to provide financial guidance, with more than 70% of respondents agreeing that secondary schools also have a key role to play. This figure drops when the respondents were asked about the role of primary schools, with just over 37% of parents thinking that schools should be discussing financial matters with children between the ages of 5-11.

Sixth forms and sixth form colleges also proved to be less popular with those answering the survey than secondary schools, which implies that the age bracket of 11-16 is seen as the definitive time for financial education to be imparted.

Talking about financial concerns

When it comes to talking about finances with young people over 18 − who are more likely to be earning of their own accord − it seems that mum is definitely the word. The survey revealed a definite gender split in terms of parental guidance on financial matters. When compared to the dads we surveyed, mums were far more likely to talk to their adult children about a number of topics, including:

  • Credit scores – 63% of mums said they would discuss this with their adult children, but only 27% of dads said the same
  • Debt – 70% of mums were happy to talk about this, as compared to 59% of dads

Budgeting – 78% of mums would talk budgets, opposed to 41% of dads

Wellbeing in schools: how can school leaders respond to the fact that one in eight students experience mental health issues?

Bernard Canetti, Principal of Brampton College, London’s highest achieving independent sixth form college gives his opinion on the government’s plan to dedicate an additional £31.6 million to the training of more educational psychologists and the need for a proactive holistic approach to wellbeing in schools…

With one in eight 5 to 19-year-olds experiencing at least one “mental health” disorder, according to results published last year by the NHS[1], I, along with many of my fellow teaching professionals, welcome the Government’s plan to dedicate an additional £31.6 million to the training of more educational psychologists[2].

The pressure on young people today is huge and over the past ten years I have witnessed an increasing number of students suffering from anxiety and other psychological issues. Adolescence is an inherently difficult time and recently the problems have been compounded by the constant access to the internet, social media and the pressure of exams. This is widely recognised as a significant problem affecting not only pupils and schools but the support services too.

So whilst I would applaud the Government’s commitment to increase spending on training qualified educational psychologists, I would call for an even greater and more holistic approach to tackling student wellbeing, which takes a pro-active and preventative approach to the psychological wellbeing of students rather than relying on interventions at crisis point.

I believe it’s critical that all schools receive support to implement school wide initiatives which help promote and support wellbeing. More than ever, it’s profoundly important that schools present an environment where students feel their teachers are concerned about them as individuals, take them seriously and believe in them.

An important authority on this subject, Sir Anthony Seldon has voiced his opinion on the need for government to take student wellbeing seriously. A leading headteacher for 20 years, he has called on government to introduce a Wellbeing League Table for schools on a par with its Exam League Table. At a recent conference he commented, “The evidence is clear that wellbeing interventions… allow students and young people to cope best with problems… schools that prioritise wellbeing, which includes challenging and stretching students, also build character and help them to perform better than those schools which are simply exam factories.” I couldn’t agree more!    

So what measures can schools put in place which actively encourage a whole-school approach to wellbeing?

It is a misconception that a commitment to student wellbeing comes at the expense of strong academic results. In fact the two are intrinsically linked. At Brampton, we are delighted to have achieved our 18th year at the top of London’s league tables, however whilst academic achievement is crucial for our students, looking after their psychological wellbeing and developing self-belief, confidence and resilience is equally valued.

This ethos has driven our approach at Brampton for many years. As well as assigning a personal tutor to provide personal and academic support to each pupil, the college has a Student Counsellor, an Educational Psychologist and a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, trained at the Tavistock (under Emil Jackson, who is head of the Child and Adolescent Unit at the Tavistock), to provide guidance and support to staff, as well as students and parents.

We are launching a new initiative this year called ‘Creating Community Conversations’, which will be delivered to students via the weekly personal tutor sessions.  The programme has been designed to allow students time to reflect upon a wide range of issues and challenges in their day-to-day lives.  For example, the first module “Fresh Start” encourages all members of the Brampton community to develop a ‘Growth Mindset’, as well as providing resources and powerful advice that might help individuals when dealing with anxiety, confidence issues and challenges related to organisation. ‘Taking care of ourselves’ is the theme for the second module, where community members will explore mindfulness and meditation techniques, as well as examining the power of gratitude in their daily lives. This initiative is in addition to a series of wellbeing workshops, involving team building activities which explore ways to develop a positive attitude and emotional resilience.

Building a good relationship with parents is also key. For the past few years, we have been holding a series of talks for parents from leading figures in childhood and adolescent psychology. Their perspective and advice on how best to support children or cope with challenging behaviour has been incredibly well received. 

Our strong academic results stand testament to the school’s dual approach to wellbeing and studies. When students leave our college feeling happy and confident then we know we have achieved real success.

For more information on Brampton College please visit




Family For Every Child calls on organisations across the globe to sign up

It is estimated that 1 in 6 boys worldwide experiences sexual abuse. And whilst girls continue to be the gender principally affected by sexual violence (estimated at 1 in 4), the abuse suffered by boys can fall under the radar (Caring For Boys Affected By Sexual Violence, 2018).

Child-facing organisations including schools are being invited to sign up to an international charter which aims to change the way societies tackle sexual violence affecting young males.

On becoming a signatory to United For Boys, organisations will be able to access tailored support and guidance from the charter’s founding charity Family For Every Child – a member-led network of local children’s organisations from around the world.

Charter signatories will also be encouraged to publicly demonstrate their commitment to tackling sexual violence affecting boys by displaying the campaign badge.

Family For Every Child’sscoping study Caring for Boys Affected by Sexual Violence (2018), found that boys are less likely to report abuse, are less likely to be believed when they do, and are more likely to be seen ascomplicit in the act or even as the perpetrator.

Support services – where they exist – are targeted at and organised around the needs of girls, with counsellors and support workersoften ill-equipped to engage with boys.

The study produced a list of recommendations that are based on evidence and can be tailored to local contexts. These include the need for more gender-inclusive recovery services, effective sex education, revised laws, and changes to the cultural and social norms around gender and sexual violence.

Amanda Griffith, CEO, Family For Every Child, said: “All around the world, millions of children – girls and boys alike – are affected by sexual abuse, exploitation and harmful behaviours. All children deserve a childhood free of these threats.

“Socio-cultural norms related to childhood, gender, masculinity and sexuality perpetuate sexual violence affecting boys, increase the vulnerability of boys to sexual violence, and contribute to under reporting.

“Our United For Boys charter combines public awareness-raising with systemic change. It calls on everybody – women and girls, men and boys, professionals and the public, young and old – to be a part of building a brighter future for boys, and for everyone.

“We believe that the best way to achieve these changes is by engaging professionals, from teachers and school support staff to GPs and social workers, who can work in new ways to improve the system for children worldwide”.

The United For Boys charter calls for six evidence-based principles to better support boys. These are:

  1. Raising awareness of sexual violence affecting boys amongst professionals who work with children, leading to the development of organisational strategies for building staff knowledge and skills so they feel informed and equipped to provide support.
  1. Ensuring that all services that can support boys are designed and managed in ways that make them feel included, accepted and welcome.
  1. Providing easily accessible, appropriate and high quality information to help educate children and families on sex, sexual health, sexuality and internet safety; and ensuring that this includes information relating to sexual violence affecting boys.
  1. Advocating for changes in the law that could ensure that boys affected by sexual violence are better protected and supported, and that victims are not criminalised.
  1. Changing the conversation around our culturally-embedded and harmful social norms around gender.
  1. Challenging damaging narratives around sexual violence affecting boys, including in the media; and offering support on how to better frame the issue.

Family for Every Child is a global alliance of local civil society organisations working together to improve the lives of vulnerable children around the world. It has 36 member organisations in 35 countries.

More information about the Charter and the support offered to signatory organisations

About Family For Every Child

Family for Every Child is a network of local children’s organisations from around the world. By coming together as one, we ensure that locally-grown ideas get the global attention they deserve; and that individually all our member organisations have new opportunities to flourish and grow.

Our membership of social innovators and thought leaders bring in-depth understanding of their context which enables them to develop tried-and-tested models that lead to change for the families and communities with which they work. The members all have years of experience in addressing the drivers leading to children being separated from their families and examples of how families can be strengthened  and can demonstrate what the situation is for alternative care in their countries and inform what changes need to happen.

By coming together as a global alliance, we have a stronger voice than our members would individually. This gives our members a greater opportunity to influence governments and policy-makers around the world, turning their locally-grown ideas into world-changing action.

The UK is getting more inclusive classrooms to ensure no child is left behind at school

More than a million young people in the UK will be taught in more inclusive and accessible classrooms as part of a new initiative from Microsoft.

Around 30,000 teachers across the country will receive training on how to ensure every child they teach is engaged in lessons and understands the topic, by helping them learn in the best way for that individual.

Educators will also be shown how to use free computer tools that improve reading and writing, including live captioning and Translate, as well as the Immersive Reader function that’s embedded in Microsoft Edge, Word, OneNote, Teams, Outlook and Flipgrid. They will pass these skills on, to create a culture of accessible learning and ensure no child is left behind.

Immersive Reader is a free Microsoft tool that reads out text, breaks words into syllables and increases spacing between lines and letters. While it has proven effective at helping students with dyslexia to learn, it can assist anyone who finds it difficult to understand text.

Microsoft announced today that the tool will be made available as an Azure Cognitive Service, allowing third-party apps and partners to add Immersive Reader into their products to help the students and parents who use them.

Chris Rothwell, Director of Education at Microsoft UK, said: “Teachers have an impact on the young people they interact with in schools every day; they know how to run their classrooms to ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn.

“We want to support their vital work by giving them tools that can foster a culture of inclusivity and creativity, ease their workload and help inspire the next generation. Technology can reduce isolation and help young people gain independence. By listening to teachers and working with them, we can ensure children have access to a broad and balanced curriculum, and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released this week revealed that although 90% of teachers in England reported having been trained to teach in mixed-ability settings as part of their formal training, just 69% felt prepared to do so. The study found that an average of 41% of teachers in this country worked in classes where at least 10% of pupils had a special educational need – much higher than the average for the other countries taking part at 27%.

Many students with dyslexia, dyspraxia and dysgraphia find that they are struggling to learn in a traditional school environment. Dyslexia International estimates there are 700 million people around the world with dyslexia, including one-in-five students. However, 90% of children with dyslexia can be educated in a regular classroom if they are given the right environment and tools.

Immersive Reader will read paragraphs aloud, allowing students to follow the words – which will be automatically broken up into syllables – as they are highlighted. Pupils can also make the on-screen text larger, change the font and background colour and narrow the field of view to one, three or five lines to make it easier to focus. The tool can also use pictures to depict what a word means, so reader can easily understand what a piece of text is referring to. It can be used alongside Microsoft’s Translate tool, so any website can be translated into another language before being read aloud.

In October last year, Microsoft become the first company to sign a global pledge to help people with dyslexia. By signing the Made by Dyslexia pledge, the business promised to tackle a lack of resources and training in schools and homes that can hold back children who find it difficult to read, write and do maths.

Tags: classroom, dyslexia, Education, microsoft, school, teacher, technology

Discovery Education and Probrand Announce Partnership to Help School Budgets Go Further

Students working together on a HP ProOne 400 AIO PC in class while a teacher supervises.

Discovery Education and Probrand are delighted to announce a new partnership which will give schools access to the latest education technology and help teachers make budgets go further. It’s also an example of how market leading firms in the EdTech sector can create new collaborations in support of the DfE’s EdTech strategy.

The two pioneering EdTech companies are joining forces as part of a scheme run by HP, HP for Education, which allows schools to raise money when buying new computing equipment. By trading in their old equipment at the same time, schools can generate thousands of pounds of additional funds which can be spent on Discovery Education’s award-winning digital learning services.

The scheme means that schools can access Discovery Education services without using precious school funds by utilising the credit they earn from trading-in old equipment, including old laptops owned by parents. With award-winning digital content mapped to the National Curriculum, plus specialist teaching resources and professional development solutions, Discovery Education equips teachers with the tools to make lessons come to life.

Probrand has developed a ground-breaking CIPS accredited marketplace offering 300,000 IT products, managed services and solutions. This award-winning business openly connects over 50,000 members with 2,500 brands in education, business and all areas of the public sector. IT buyers receive personalised education discounts direct from distributors and vendors, saving them time and money procuring IT.  The business also delivers IT services that run and transform school and college operations.

Christine Major, Director of Educational Partnerships at Discovery Education said:

“We’re excited to be joining forces with HP and Probrand to deliver 21st century learning to pupils everywhere. This partnership will help teachers to get the best value from the money they spend on digital technology, making their EdTech budgets go further and improving student outcomes.”

Steve Buet, Sales Manager, Probrand, said: “Our research has found that 99% of special discounts don’t make it to IT buyers. Furthermore, the complexity and volatility of the IT market is seeing some pay a margin of up to 1092% for IT.  We’re pleased to bring a stop to this with an open marketplace and by partnering with like-minded organisations such as Discovery Education to deliver value back into the classroom.” 

Schools can access the scheme by visiting It’s quick and easy to register. Simply create an account, purchase your school’s new hardware via the Probrand marketplace, trade-in your old equipment and choose your Discovery Education resources.

Olympic and Paralympic Gold Medallists join children and families in launching Travel to Tokyo at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Seven years on from London 2012, young people and families are harnessing the power of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, to get fit and active together.

As the countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games begin, children and families across England can benefit from a brand-new active programme, Travel to Tokyo which has launched on June 18th at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The programme is part of Get Set, Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s youth engagement programme, with £2.6 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England, and support from partners including ukactive.

Travel to Tokyo aims to inspire children aged 5–11 and their families to try new activities and get active together in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. By joining athletes on a virtual journey from London to Tokyo, participants will be in with the chance to win some fantastic prizes as young people work together to reach the December 2020 finish line.

To launch the programme, an all-star cast of athlete ambassadors joined local families in a Japanese-inspired family sports day designed to get everyone moving and learn what Travel to Tokyo is all about.

Joining the event to help celebrate the launch was an all-star cast of athletes including two-time Olympic Gold rower Helen Glover MBE, five-time Paralympic dressage champion Natasha Baker MBE, 2016 Paralympic table tennis Gold medallist, Will Bayley, London 2012 medallist Anthony Ogogo, London 2012 wheelchair basketball Paralympian Abdi Jama and former Paralympic rower turned Nordic Skier Rachel Morris MBE. Also joining the event was Mike Diaper OBE, Director Community Sport at Sport England.

Talking about the programme Helen Glover, said: “Travel to Tokyo is such a good idea because it’s involving young people and their families to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. As a new mother myself, it’s so nice to see how everyone has come together to enjoy themselves in the run up to Tokyo 2020. It’s brilliant!”

Talking about the event Natasha Baker said: “Having been a huge supporter of Get Set to Make a Change, I am so excited to be involved in the new Travel to Tokyo campaign. It’s be great seeing families and young people celebrating getting active and making the most of today. I can’t wait to see families across England join in on this active journey to Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games!”

After a quick warm up, young people and their families got the chance to try authentic Japanese games including the business suit relay race, a tug of war and the new Tokyo Tens warm-up activities. Staying true to its aim to get a half a million families engaged across England, the launch day got everyone on their feet including young people, athletes, families, journalists and the MC. Finishing up with some inspiring speeches, the day signalled an exciting start as families took their first steps on their journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

According to recent research carried out by Sport England, 4 in 5 young people are not doing the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise recommended by the Chief Medical Officer. Sport England’s vision is that everyone in England, regardless of age, background or ability, feels able to take part in sport or activity and to enjoy getting active. Therefore, Sport England has awarded National Lottery Funding to Get Set, the official Team GB and ParalympicsGB youth engagement programme, a grant to inspire primary school children throughout England to explore a range of new family-friendly activities and live healthy, more active lifestyles with the free Travel to Tokyo challenge.

Neil Townshend, Chairman of the British Olympic Foundation said: “It’s great to see the Get Set programme continue to champion healthy and active lifestyles by empowering children and their families across England to take part in physical activities inspired by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Travel to Tokyo is a dynamic and creative way to motivate families to keep active and the British Olympic Foundation is incredibly proud to launch this new initiative inspired by the Olympic Movement and its Values.”

Mike Sharrock, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association said: “We are proud to be part of the Travel to Tokyo challenge which uses the inspirational power of the Paralympic Games to help young people to get active on their own terms. We look forward to seeing the social impact with families across England as young people take on the values of the Paralympics to build active networks with their families and communities,”

Mike Diaper, Executive Director Children and Young People at Sport England said: “Sport England is delighted to be investing National Lottery funding that builds upon the success of Road to Rio and the Get Set Schools initiative to launch Travel to Tokyo. Our challenge is to turn the excitement and inspiration of international sporting events like the Olympics and the Paralympics into action by supporting more children and families to try new sports or activities and become regularly active.

This programme does just that, by creating a fun way for families to get active together, regardless of their level of experience. We know the importance of how working and playing together as family can build active habits. Children from active families are far more likely to take a positive attitude to playing sport or being active into their adult lives.”

Jack Shakespeare, Director of Children, Young People and Families at ukactive said “We believe this is an incredible programme that can connect with communities through the inspiration of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We would very much like to partner on the wider roll out of the programme across England. We know that our members, a large proportion of the 4,000 leisure provider members based in England, would be very keen to support the activation through their sites, right in the heart of diverse communities across the country.”

The Travel to Tokyo programme will be launching via England primary schools from June 2019. The programme is funded by Sport England’s ‘Families Fund’ which aims to increase activity levels of families, especially those in lower socio-economic groups, with children aged 5 to 15 and deliver positive experiences to support families to be active together throughout the week.

Check out the free resources and activities here:

Leeds school victorious as animal welfare debate finale heads to Westminster

Six schools from across England qualified for the RSPCA’s 2019 Great Debate finale in London – with Dixons Trinity Chapeltown from West Yorkshire ending up victorious.

Six schools from across England have headed to Westminster – with a Leeds-based school winning top honours for their animal welfare debating skills.

Dixons Trinity Chapeltown, from the West Yorkshire city, were judged to have won the grand finale,  with the ‘Great Debate’ concept an integral part of the RSPCA’s Generation Kind initiative.

Generation Kind is a set of ambitious, innovative projects aiming to nurture and encourage the values of kindness and compassion towards all animals within children and young people – of which the ‘Great Debate’ is one part.

Other ‘Generation Kind’ schemes include those aimed at looked-after children, deprived areas and youth offenders, though the ‘Great Debate’ is open to all schools across the country.

Dixons Trinity Chapeltown is connected to Dixons Trinity Academy, based in Bradford.

The Academy was one of six schools to have come through regional heats to reach the final yesterday (Monday 17 June).

Reading Girls School, King Edwards VI Five Ways (Birmingham), Roundhay Academy (Leeds), Highdown School (Reading) and Harborne Academy (Birmingham) had also qualified for the event, having won through regional heats earlier in the year.

Schools debated the issue of who holds responsibility for animal welfare in England – discussing the role which the general public, veterinarians, local authorities, the RSPCA, the UK Government and the police all play in protecting the nation’s animals.

Each school team also nominated media officers to live-tweet debates, utilising the hashtag #RSPCAGD19, learning  how journalists keep the public informed about events.

Awards were also given to individuals pupils who demonstrates outstanding performance at the finale in Westminster – with pupils from schools based in Birmingham and Reading picking up trophies. These were:

  • Logan Smith (Harborne Academy) – Future Journalist
  • William Brown (Harborne Academy) – Future Politician
  • Amandeep Mavi (Reading Girls School) – Future Campaigner

A pupil from Highdown School was also recognised with the ‘Animal Welfare Champion’ accolade.

The UK Government’s Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley MP attended the Great Debate.

Dave Allen, RSPCA head of education, said: “Just a stone’s throw from the House of Commons – and at a venue where Members of Parliament once sat during war-torn London in the early 1940s – the animal ambassadors of the future put on a real masterclass.

“It was so rewarding to watch the pupils from schools all across England debate the vital topic of where responsibility for animal welfare lies.

“Generation Kind is all about inspiring young people to be compassionate, empathetic and understand our fellow living creatures. Those taking part seized all the opportunities on offer – from first-class debating, to acting as budding student journalists.

“It was incredible to witness how the children have progressed through the heats, building in confidence and communicating new ideas, research and findings.

“Our congratulations go the winners – with Dixons Trinity Chapeltown our champion school for England. They debated the role the RSPCA play – and were awarded the trophy for their strong team-work, stimulating and well-researched arguments; and obvious understanding as to the role of the RSPCA plays within society.

“We hope the scheme will leave a lasting legacy for participants – with the individual award winners too displaying the skills the Great Debate aims to develop – namely communication, campaigning and compassion.”

The event “unlocked the corridors of power” to school children, with pupils also given a tour of the UK Parliament.  Mr Allen added that this is vital to the scheme’s aim of nurturing citizenship, and teaching the animal ambassadors of the future where decisions are made concerning their fellow living creatures.

He added: “The tour of the UK Parliament was a great addition for the school children – bringing to life our decision-making process; and we’re grateful to the parliamentary tours team for facilitating this. It really unlocked the corridors of power for them all.

“The Great Debate is all about developing citizenship skills, and opening the eyes of the next generation how decisions which impact animals are made, and how they can influence those decisions in the future.”

More information about Generation Kind is available on the RSPCA’s website. If you wish to support the RSPCA and these initiatives, you can donate online. The RSPCA is a charity and relies on public donations.