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06 Apr 2020

VotesforSchools Easter Holiday Newsletter

A recap of what's been going on at VotesforSchools HQ and what you can expect next term.

Hello!

Despite the bizarre circumstances at the moment, we hope you are looking forward to a bit of respite and recuperation over the Easter holiday. We thought we'd send a quick roundup for those of you who might be missing your usual dose of VotesforSchools! We'll be talking about our recent award success, content changes in response to the pandemic, and what's to come between now and the end of term.
What's new with us?
  • We had reason to celebrate last month as we won the Impact Award for Education at the London Business Awards! Click here to read more about the event. 
  • Speaking of awards, thank you to everyone who applied for our Student Voice Awards - we will be announcing the shortlist at the end of this month. For more information, please visit our website
  • Want to know more about the people and organisations we work with? Check out our blog to read about our lovely partners and how we have taken our voters' voices beyond the classroom.
VotesforSchools & COVID-19
 
As many of you will know, our materials are looking a bit different at the moment in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Here is a quick overview of what's new (click the links to download our most recent resources): 
  • Home Learning Guide - this shows parents & students how to make the best of learning from home, including where to look for other activities to support their learning. These packs will temporarily replace our assemblies and cross curricular guides. 
  • Lessons (1545 16+) - these are much the same as always, though they include some guidance for students (and possibly parents) using them at home, including how to log their votes while they're not in the classroom. The guidelines in each of the sessions are intended to replace our lesson plans until things return to normal. 
  • Independent Learning Top Tips - some ideas and advice on how students can keep calm and carry on when it comes to working at home! These will change each week to target different areas that students might be struggling with or want to know more about. 
Over the Easter break we will also be uploading two past topics that have been updated so that they are suitable for independent learning. Please log in to our website to download them.
We want students & parents to get involved with our topics as much as possible, so please share the hashtag #VotesAtHome with them so they can show us on social media how they’re learning from home with our weekly resources! Find out more after Easter on our social media - find us @votesforschools on Instagram & Twitter
Despite the upheaval of this half term, voters have still managed to make their voices heard on topics ranging from diseases to diesel. Keep reading for a summary of our Career Launchpad & feedback highlights... 
"Overall, the modern world makes it easier, not harder, for diseases to spread, mostly because of increases in global transport and travel and population sizes. However, science can help us to mitigate the risks of disease spread – identifying new disease risks early and understanding their likely spread and impact, to design the best control measures, from hygiene advice through to special tests and vaccines. Of course, stronger health systems in some countries can also offer treatment for people who do catch diseases to help them get better – but it is important that every country plays a part in detecting and controlling diseases."

Dr Philippa Brice, External Affairs Director at PHG Foundation, in response to our modern world & disease topic
Click here to watch a video for students & parents introducing them to how VotesforSchools works and how to make the best of learning from home, made by our Director of Education & co-founder, Kate! 
“It’s sad that the figure for children who enjoy reading drops off at Secondary level, but I can understand why that might be. As they move up through the years, the pressures on Secondary school students increase, and everything to do with reading becomes ever more serious. It’s seen (by adults!) as a means to an end, and that’s the problem. Of course it’s important that children have good literacy skills and use them in their schoolwork. But the evidence shows that children who read for pleasure do better than they might have done if they didn’t read books for fun. It’s a strange paradox - the more you read just because you enjoy it, the better you’ll do at school. So the answer is simple - let’s show children just how much fun reading a great book can be!”

Tony Bradman, Children's Author, in response to our World Book Day topic on reading
We got an insight into the complex world of derivatives & oil from John, who told us all about what an average day is like for him as part of our petrol & diesel cars topic.
S E Lynes addressed all the aspiring authors as part of our World Book Day topictelling students about her career and the qualities you need to be a writer.
Hannah Chetwynd, Policy Officer at The Children's Society, highlighted what they planned to do with students' views on our domestic abuse topic:
  • “We want to see the law changed to make the support for young people who experience abuse in their own relationships better.
  • We will write a report and include what we have learnt from you – the report will go on our website, on our social media and might be covered in the news.
  • We will speak to MPs in Parliament and ask them to support in making this change.”
Please click here to download the SMSC, Prevent & British Values Map for Spring 2020.
Although the holidays are now upon us, here are a few topics that you & your students can anticipate next term:
  • 16th April: We have had many requests from schools to cover finances, so we thought with students at home and (hopefully) helping round the house, it would be a fitting time to discuss pocket money and allowances... 
  • 23rd April: We plan to cover child actors and the entertainment industry on this date. We thought this would be an interesting one for voters to look at, particularly with their parents and caregivers!
  • 14th May: We will be preparing a special topic to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. Depending on the situation surrounding COVID-19, we will be focusing on the impact of this on students’ wellbeing. The theme this year is "Sleep".
  • Date TBC: We have had several requests from schools to cover organ donation, as the UK is due to switch to an "opt-in" system very soon. However, due to the sensitivity of this topic and the fact it is likely to discuss medical conditions and vulnerable people, this may need to be pushed back to later in the term.
As always, please get in touch if you would like to suggest a topic. We look forward to hearing from you!
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