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08 Nov 2020

From The Sunday Times to Oak National Academy: The partnerships that are amplifying pupil voice

Since schools returned for the new term in September, we have been busy building more Partnerships so that our voters have even more ways to be heard, as well as sharing our mission with others in the youth voice, democratic and EdTech communities. Below is an overview of what we have been up to so far this year…

Our VoteTopic Partners

Over the summer of 2020, we were very excited to be part of the Oak National Academy’s Activity Club. Sitting alongside other key organisations such as The Scouts, The Brilliant Club and Jamie’s Farm, Oak students were able to get involved and have their voices heard whilst debating at home with their households!

Backed by the Government, the Oak National Academy was created in response to the Coronavirus lockdown. 

Image Credit: Oak National Academy

We are extremely proud to be supporting the /together campaign. Rising from the community spirit seen amidst the pandemic, this campaign has one core aim: to ensure that spirit lives on.

Headed up by the Archbishop of Canterbury, we are making sure our young people's voices are being represented through both our VoteTopics and Focus Groups. We are joining in the talk/together project and looking forward to helping shape the future of the campaign. 

You can find out more about /together here, and the Data Report from our special VoteTopic on volunteering in communities here

Image Credit: /together


We are delighted to be supporting The Children's Voice, which is being created by the Save Childhood Movement. This is a new platform that aims to give children and young people the ability to share their own thoughts, ideas, and concerns with the wider world.

In the UK, the most powerful of these will be shared annually through events and activities linking to National Children's Day.

Keep your eyes peeled in May for our joint VoteTopic with them!

Image Credit: The Children’s Voice

tootoot is all about empowering children and young people around safeguarding by giving them a voice; to do this, they have harnessed the power of an app! At VotesforSchools, we believe that children’s voices being heard is fundamental to them being able to thrive in a safe environment. We were really happy to be able to support tootoot in their Pupil Voice Week in September 2020, and to support their schools with some of our wellbeing debate resources.

Image Credit: tootoot


Our Mission Partners


Protection Approaches is a charity working to end all forms of identity-based violence and who believe that the responsibility of prevention is a shared one, from local communities to global leaders.

We share their belief that encouraging open, tolerant conversations is a vital skill for young people. We were very pleased to be able to support them with the UNESCO Futures of Education initiative, making sure some of our students had their say.

You can find out more about Protection Approaches here.

Image Credit: Protection Approaches


Our fabulous CEO, Kate Harris, spoke at the Oracy October event on the role of oracy and citizenship and why an oracy education is valuable to both students and society.

Kate spoke passionately about her background in creating VotesforSchools and why we aim to create relevant and engaging resources for young people each week. She also emphasised that, as teachers, we understand the reality of citizenship teaching in schools and the need, therefore, to support teachers as much as possible with this.

Image Credit: Voice 21

Earlier this term, we joined Shout Out UK’s APPG on Political Literacy through our links with the Political Literacy

Oversight Group. Though still in its infancy, the group is seeking to provide evidence of the importance of political education in getting young people involved in voting and democratic action more broadly, including lobbying for a Government & Politics GCSE. With a range of MPs, academics, and key organisations on board, we are thrilled to be able to participate in this necessary conversation. So, watch this space… 

Not only this, but we also teamed up with Shout Out UK to support London Voter Registration Week, which took place in September. You can read more about it here.

Image Credit: Shout Out UK

Beatfreeks is an engagement and insight agency with a vital and vibrant community of young creatives. So they can influence how the world works, young people are connected by Beatfreeks to brands, Government and funders; as such, the agency is invested in young people getting their share of power. We happily support Beatfreeks in their work and provide them with insights from our VoteTopic data for their National Youth Survey. 

 Not only this, but their Don’t Settle project (based in Birmingham) seeks out the stories and experiences of young BIPOC. It was great to be able to work with them during Black History Month 2020 and encourage our College students to join in with these crucial conversations. Click here to see the results of the debate, or find out more about the impact of our BHM 2020 topic here.

Image Credit: Beatfreeks


Our Press Partners

The Times used our Focus Groups across the country to delve deeper into the issue of knives and gang culture in schools. It was fantastic for voters to have their voices heard in a national paper on such a pressing issue, and you can see how their discussions shaped the article here

Following the project, Sam Joiner of The Times said: 

“The data gathered from students involved with VotesforSchools has given us a new perspective — the rarely heard voices of those most affected by gangs and knife crime. It has been a privilege to read through the articulate, thoughtful responses from students and their constructive approach to the issue was both inspiring and valuable.”

Image Credit: The Times & Sunday Times    

Seeing our name and the comments of our voters in the national press doesn’t get any less exciting, so seeing The Mirror paper run an article about organ donation based on the results and comments from one of our debates was fantastic.

The VoteTopic, which coincided with Organ Donation Week on 7th-13th September, was particularly important this year as the law around organ donation has recently changed in England, with more change to come in Scotland soon too.

Our voters were thrilled to see their voices being heard on a national level and were also delighted with additional feedback from NHS Blood & Transplant and Kidney Care UK. Click here to read the article.

Image Credit: Mirror 


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