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With the Online Harms Bill (hopefully..) making it's way through Parliament, we want to make sure childrnen's voices are heard loud and clear. We will be working with the Children's Commissioner's office, not only to help educate children about what the Bill is, but also to make sure our many data reports around online harms are put forward for consideration.
We are delighted to be working with the /together coalition. We sit on their education board and support them in getting their campaigns out to schools. Thank You Day 2022 was a huge success. Plans are afoot for schools for Thank You day 2023!
Each week we send the results of the vote with comments from young people to influential people and organisations.
Our data, which represents children and young people's voices, has influenced numerous strategies, reports and campaigns.
Each year we receive hundreds of responses to the children. We are very grateful to all those who listen to them.Click here to see some of their responses
We really value our partnerships and friends. We may create some (award winning no less) content with their expertise and insight, or share data with them from our debates. We are delighted when they can help signpost our results to those with the power to change policy and practice; or create some meaningful feedback to the voters so they know they are being heard. Oh, and we are always up for sharing some freebee content resources to support their work!
We are thrilled that VotesforSchools is now a member of the Global Equality Collective, a research-based, multi award-winning digital platform, framework and app for diversity, equality and inclusion in schools.
Nic Ponsford, Co-Founder and CEO, generously gave her time to help judge our Student Voice Awards 2022.
We are really excited that so many schools from the Delta Academies Trust have recently joined VotesforSchools. We now have 31 of their schools debating and voting with us. This brilliant group of schools, mostly in Yorkshire and the Humber, are showing a real commitment to informed, impactful pupil voice and we LOVE working with them.Click to see their children talking about VfS
For the 3rd year running we are delighted to be supporting the Anti-Bullying Alliance around their Anti-Bullying week. This year with their theme of 'reach out' we are creating some bespoke resources to help teachers have a conversation with their classes about bystanders and whether being a bystander counts as bullying.
We were delighted to support schools the initiative that led to the UK's first Thank You Day on July 4th 2021. With the help of Levi Roots, we ran a competition for children to get involved to add their ideas to the mix of ways people were saying Thank You for their communities for help through the pandemic and beyond. 62% of Brits who took part in Thank You Day said they thought it made their community feel more united.
Thank You Day 2022 was even bigger and better, and we were so excited to support /together in brining it to schools. Planning is already afoot for 2023!Find out more about Thank You Day
In September 2021, we had the privilege of working with UNICEF UK to find out what young people had to say about the question: "Will climate change affect children's rights?", ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Over 46,000 children got involved in the vote, wanting to ensure their voices were heard loud and clear at the Conference in November. You can find our Data Report below, which outlines the results of the vote and our voters' insights into the climate crisis.
In November 2021, we then asked our voters: "Was COP26 successful?" Following this, we compiled an Impact Report, which included the results of this vote, and also let our young voters know what happened to their results and comments. You can also find this below.
Read our full VotesforCOP26 data report here.
It’s been brilliant to hook up with the team at the Content Creatives. They are a video production company who specialise in campaign and event videos. During the first lockdown they started creating citizenship explainer videos by young people, for young people, via their ground-breaking youth channel The Youth Citizen Service. Providing this free of charge, they are enabling young people to have a say in the world and have impact in matters that affect them. We jumped at the chance to work with them! From working on videos about how those under 18 can have an impact on elections, to some great work around our COP26 project, we love what they are up to.
The new Children’s Commissioner, Dame Rachel de Souza, launched The Big Ask- the biggest ever survey of children, so she can tell the government what they need to live happy lives. We were delighted to be able to support this project with resources for teachers to introduce The Big Ask to their children and young people; as well as some of our debate resources from our archives to help teachers have discussions about issues raised in the survey.
We love working with James Cathcart and the brilliant organisation Young Voices Heard. Their goal is to empower more young people to be effective changemakers and leaders through training, mentoring, project management and campaigning. Such a great place to go to for advice and guidance: a great service to support the work VotesforSchools is doing in schools and in affecting policy and practice.
With two former Citizenship teachers on our team, we are delighted to be working hand in hand with the ACT. Our first outing was in a joint topic around Refugees 'Is the refugee crisis really over?' With our mixutre of debate, knowledge of current affairs, and democractic particpation we make a brilliant support for the Citizenship GCSE curriculm: not least due our topics on political systems such as 'Would you like to be a politcian right now?' or 'Do we underestimate the impact of local elections?' Watch this space for our next outing with the awesome ACT team.
We work closely with the Counter Terrorism Police and the Prevent team at the Department for Education. The skills learned in debating each week meet the Prevent and British values requirements of Ofsted and we have had a Commendation for the Counter Terrorism in our work in countering extremism; and have our resources on the Educate Against Hate website. We sit on the Counter Terrorism Youth Advisory Board. Several councils this year have been granted funding for VotesforSchools subscriptions from the Home Office Prevent programme. What’s more, MOPAC has recognised us as a tool in countering violent extremism.
In May 2021, we were delighted to support The Children's Voice, 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.
Our fabulous CEO, Kate Harris, spoke at the Oracy October 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.
Seen as a tool in building cohesive communities and countering extremist views, we are also recognised by the LGA for our work in Barking and Dagenham. We also work with the Home Office and their team of Community Cohesion team across the country.
Find out more
In October 2020, 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. 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…
We have also teamed up with Shout Out UK to support London Voter Registration Week, which took place in September.Read More about it
We have been delighted to support the work of The Black Curriculum. Not only with a VoteTopic 'Does the curriculum represent you?' for Black History Month in 2020; but with special focus group too.
Protection Approaches is a charity working to end all forms of identity-based violence, and believes 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.Find out more about Protection Approaches
We have a long standing relationship with UNICEF UK and their fabulous Rights Respecting Schools programme. We have worked with them on resources around Refugees, Education in conflict, International Aid and of course our amazing project around COP26.
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 Black people. It was great to be able to support them during Black History Month 2020 and encourage our College students to join in with these crucial conversations.
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 toottoot in their Pupil Voice Week in September 2020, and to support their schools with some of our wellbeing debate resources.
We were all very excited to see The Mirror paper run an article about organ donation based on the results and comments from our VoteTopic. The VoteTopic was planned for Organ Donation Week 7th – 13th September, which was particularly important this year as the English organ donation law changed. Our schools were thrilled to have feedback from the NHS and Kidney Care UK and to see their voices being heard in a national paper.Read the article
In August 2020 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 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.
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.”
Over the summer of 2020, we were 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 a in response to the coronavirus lockdown.
We have a very special relationship with the Academies Enterprise Trust. All of their Secondary schools subscribe to VotesforSchools, giving a great overview of the hearts and minds of their students. We are able to report back to the Trust the voting data bespoke to their schools, and help them run inter-school activities and competitions such as their debate competition which took place in the Houses of Parliament.
In May 2019 we supported the NSPCC with their response to the white paper on Online Harms. We asked our children ‘Do social media companies listen enough to young people?’ Their responses went on to the DCMS to be fed into the consultation,
VotesforSchools has a long standing relationship with the Met Police. We have created bespoke resources for them them and given them data such as 'Is it fair to shut down a city over climate change? or 'Do young people feel safer carrying a knife? Each month we create resources specially for their Volunteer Police Cadets.
We work with selected partners to extend and deepen discussion and gather more detailed feedback from young people on key VoteTopics.
We recently ran focus groups on:
We want to hear what young people have to say about VotesforSchools so we facilitate online meetings where they can tell us in person.
Find out more about our Youth Advisory Board here.
Here are some of the things our Youth Advisory Board shared with us: