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23 Jul 2020

VotesforSchools Summer Holiday Newsletter

The final VotesforSchools roundup of the academic year, with a sneak preview of what's to come in September.


We hope you are all well after what has been an eventful - and no doubt exhausting - term. Here at VotesforSchools we have been so impressed to see your ongoing commitment to our lessons and engaging students with what is happening in the world around them. Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm over the past few months. 
The headlines from VotesforSchools HQ...
  • Provided that September brings with it some semblance of normality, our resources will also be returning to normal! This will include the reinstatement of assemblies, lesson plans, home information sheets and cross curricular activities, as well as bidding a fond farewell to VotesatHome. However, as we all know, things are still subject to change so we will be sure to keep you updated.
  • On the topic of “business as usual”, also included at this link is our annual summary of how VotesforSchools has met SMSC, British Values and Prevent criteria. It includes a list of all this year’s topics as well, so please get in touch if you’ve missed any!
  • Lastly, we will be uploading some past topics to our website throughout the summer break should students be particularly keen to carry on debating from home, and we have also been working hard to keep our website as up-to-date as possible with free resources that you are welcome to circulate to anyone that you think might be interested
We have something new on the horizon from September, with the launch of an exclusive content bundle for VotesforSchools subscribers: “My world, my choice” and “My body, my choice” will tackle tough-to-teach topics in our signature style, covering areas such as FGM, gambling and pornography. Some of these will revisit topics you may have covered with our lessons before, such as county lines and extremism, but there will be some brand new topics too!
If you are looking for something to keep you busy over the holidays, our friends at UNICEF UK’s OutRight campaign starts again this autumn, and this year the focus is on climate change. OutRight is a campaign by young people, for young people – where they’ll learn how this issue is impacting their rights, and be empowered to use their voices and call for action. To get hold of your free resources when they launch at the end of the summer, click this box to register.
This half term has brought with it some very exciting feedback and insight into a range of careers. Check out a summary of these below, and click the links to view the various videos. 
“It is fantastic to see school pupils engaged on big issues affecting the future of wildlife. Zoos and Aquariums have a vital role to play so that everyone can enjoy a world with the same rich diversity and the same wonders of nature that we have enjoyed. In 2019, our zoos and aquariums delivered over 1.2 million educational visits, inspiring a new generation of conservationists, contributed £31.5 million directly to conservation and looked after animals to the highest standards. Given the scale of the crisis this planet faces we need as many ways to care for nature as possible!”

BIAZA (The British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums), on our topic of whether animal documentaries could replace zoos.
“It is fantastic that children and young people have such positive attitudes toward diversity. However, what is clear from the survey is that they understand that discrimination still exists. Schools play a critical role in helping children to understand that all people deserve to be treated with respect. It is essential that children learn that prejudice and discrimination are wrong. The curriculum needs to address issues of social justice, marginalisation and discrimination to help to create a fairer, more equal and more inclusive society in the future.”

Professor Jonathan Glazzard, Professor of Inclusive Education at Carnegie School of Education, on our topic celebrating uniqueness during Pride Month.
Alice, Director of /togethergave voters an idea of what it is like being in charge of a charity, especially during a pandemic
Then, two weeks later, Sarah from Greenhouse Sports shared her thoughts on the results of this topic with voters!
“During this deeply strange time of lockdown, we need to know how children and young people feel and what they think about what’s happening around them. Thank you so much for getting involved and sharing your views. We think it’s really important that schools are ready to support their pupils with their mental health and wellbeing when they open again, and we wrote a report called Time For a Clean Slate that asks the Government and schools to make sure they look after pupil wellbeing as well as catching up on missed classes.”

Amy Woodworth, Senior Research and Policy Officer at Barnardo's, on our topic about being ready for the new normal.
“It's brilliant to see so many young people engaged with such an important topic. Conspiracy theories and scapegoats are common during times of crisis because they give people answers about why something might be happening. In a world where news travels fast, it's essential to think carefully about where we find our information and to think critically about what we hear. We can demonstrate healthy scepticism: checking a claim for evidence and being ready to recognise if it has no basis in fact. This is all part of developing our news literacy - so we can make sense of our complex world.”

Tom Bigglestone from The Economist Educational Foundation, on our topic surrounding the dangers of conspiracy theories. 

Up and coming E-sports commentator Chaz made us a brilliant video for our topic on whether the Olympics needs updating, which includes some footage of him in action! If you like what you see here, you can find more of his work on FacebookYouTube and Instagram.

If you have any topics you would like to suggest for the coming term, please click here to send us an email - we’d love to hear from you!

What’s to come in the first few weeks back!

  • 3rd September: We will be providing students with more information on the new “opt-out” system for organ donation with a topic coinciding with Organ Donation Week.
  • 17th September: Following the 5th July celebration of the NHS, we will be continuing our work with /together through a special VotePack on maintaining the momentum of kindness in our communities that has emerged during Coronavirus.
  • October (date TBC): Many teachers got in touch following our topic on the anti-racism protests regarding whether we would be covering similar events and issues here. For this year’s Black History Month, we will be continuing the discussion from our previous VotePack, looking specifically at the UK.
And, if you'd like to see more of our pre-planned topics for the coming year, click here to download our academic calendar. 
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Cover Image Credit: iStock


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