Posts Tagged ‘education’
Hannah Roberts is currently studying at King John School Sixth Form, Essex.
She and her fellow pupils recently ran a project for READ International, which improves overseas access to education.
Hannah explains how the experience has not only allowed her to help others, but develop her own skills and experience…
I have been part of READ International 2012 at the King John School Sixth Form for the past 7 months. It involved raising awareness for less fortunate students in an attempt to collect books and money to send to them in Tanzania, which will help support their reading and education.
We achieved a book collection of roughly a 1000 books and managed to raise around £1000 through fundraising activities such as cake sales, small collections around college such as non-uniform days, donations from colleges and the main school’s theatre productions.
Taking part in this project, I am extremely proud of myself, exceptionally happy with the amount I am contributing to less fortunate students and I get a great deal of satisfaction from knowing I have helped another’s life and education, as I feel education is a right.
The experience has also benefited me personally, in a number of ways….
Relationships between friends at college have strengthened and it enabled me to carry out tasks I had never had the chance to attempt before.
It has shown me where my strengths and weaknesses are. For example, I understand everything that is needed to plan and run a successful event and can apply it in various situations.
This charity has benefited other A-level courses I am studying such as Music Performance, as I was required to apply my newly learnt techniques for organizing events to a live music show.
The new skills I’ve acquired through taking part in READ International include:
- Organizational skills through planning and holding the quiz night for friends and family
- Communication skills, as I had to liaise with many local businesses for donations for the winner of the raffle, which was new to me
- Initiative, as we were each allocated individual tasks to complete by certain deadlines
- Persuasion and fundraising skills. Our main source of income came from a quiz night we held. We managed to raise approximately £600 from ticket sales and small competitions.
Each new technique I have learnt to improve these skills, I can now bring forward for tasks in the future.
I plan to work in the finance and business sector and feel working with this charity has strengthened my interpersonal skills and will aid me in future jobs.
I cannot recommend enough becoming involved in volunteering as it benefits both parties by developing you as a person whilst helping others.
Help is needed everywhere and by everyone – so why not be that person who actually makes a difference?
“Raising the participation age” (or RPA) . . . these three words have been thrown about a lot as of late and are likely to have a big impact on young people.
But what is ‘RPA’ and what does it actually mean for young people?
In a nutshell, the government has decided to increase the age at which a young person is legally required to participate in education or training from 16 to 18 years-old by 2015. It’s part of the Government’s wider strategy of building the future prospects for young people.
For those who are presently in Year 10, this means staying in school until they are 17 – and those in Year 9 or below continuing until their 18th birthday.
Is this a good or bad thing? It’s hard to say, but we must see past chalk clouds bellowing from school blackboard wipers if we are to see the full options that may be available to young people under this new legislation.
RPA does not dictate that young people necessarily stay on at school past Year 11. Reflecting the fact that individuals are, well . . . individual.. For those of you who are approaching this crossroads- or for those of you who see it looming on the horizon from a distance- the different roads available include:
• full-time education, such as school or college;
• an apprenticeship;
• part-time education or training if you are employed, self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week.
With first-hand experience of the many benefits it can bring- both personally and professionally, I am pleased to see that volunteering alongside part-time education or training has made the cut. By including this option, the Government has swung open the doors of volunteering opportunities to new young audiences.
As a valid participation option, volunteering can offer a host of horizon-expanding opportunities to budding young business leaders of the future. Even more importantly, volunteering opportunities are built on people’s passions – something I really took home from the recent APPG on Youth Affairs I attended recently.
By giving free reign to creativity and enthusiasm, developing drive and skills and introducing the prospect of enterprise building, volunteering can pick up where the Government has left off- providing that critical stepping stone into further education or the world of work, or both.
Ultimately, of course, this decision is a personal one- only you know what is right for you ( . . . perhaps with some gentle advice and guidance). But if you find yourself approaching this crossroad unsure of which way to turn make sure to consider the “volunteering signpost” – after all, it could just provide that promising road less travelled.
Have you got old books gathering dust up your book shelves at home? Is your school or college updating their curriculum this year? What happens to the old books? What is the value of these old books? To you perhaps not much, but for young people in schools in Tanzania they are life changing!
Gaining an education is a vital step towards a future free from poverty. Tanzania follows a secondary school syllabus almost identical to the UK, but they lack the resources to optimise pupils’ school careers in terms of attainment and literacy. The average pupil to text book ratio is 5 to 1. Compare this to the UK where text books are routinely replaced – often after a lifecycle of only two or three years – and a natural demand and supply relationship emerges.
READ International is a student volunteer charity that works with over 500 volunteers with 22 Universities and schools/colleges across the UK to collect, sort, and donated books. Each year we distribute over 300,000 books to 200 schools in Tanzania. Our books have transformed the lives of half a million young people. And with your help we could reach a million young people!
On Thursday 1 March READ International will run a National Donation Day to celebrate World Book Day. In partnership with 19 Big Yellow Storage sites across the UK, we will be collecting second hand books to change the lives for school children in Tanzania.
You can donate any books at any of the 19 Big Yellow Self Stores participating in the scheme across the UK (Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Canterbury, Cardiff, London – south, east, and north, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Stockport, and York). Just visit our website, www.readinternational.org.uk for details of each store location.
WE NEED YOUR BOOKS! Our amazing volunteers will sort all the books received to ensure we’re sending only the best quality and most relevant ones out to East Africa. Those that don’t fit the bill will be sold to raise funds for shipping the good books and as a last resort what is left will be recycled – nothing goes to landfill.
Give our volunteers a helping hand and please donate your old books. Working together we really can change the lives of millions of young people in Tanzania.
Hannah Mitchell is Chief Executive at READ International. Check out their volunteering opportunities currently available on vinspired.com
Is your organisation registered on vinspired.com? If you’d like to showcase your volunteering opportunities on our blog, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent statistics from UCAS have revealed that overall applications to universities are down by almost 9% nationwide and almost 10% in England.
While these percentages seem like small change, this drop represents approximately 45,000 individuals who have decided that university isn’t for them.
It’s perhaps not coincidental that this drop comes as the new academic year sees a major tuition fee hike from £3000 to £9000 per year. Interestingly, the demographic hardest hit is mature students.
Having worked for almost four years for the Principal at the University of Glasgow, I’ve seen first-hand how having a mix of people from all demographics and soci-economic backgrounds adds to the rich fabric of the University population.
So what has put them off? Is it that their ‘maturity’ has allowed them to better evaluate the forecasted debt that increased tuition fees might bring? Maybe. It could be any one of a number of reasons.
Most would agree that real ‘value’ for a mature student going to university is boosting their social mobility. With the cost providing a barrier, and for those looking for a change in their lives to re-train, learn new skills and better themselves – doesn’t volunteering hold a great alternative answer? I believe that it does.
It’s proven that prospective employers value volunteering as part of a CV; and that may bring some magic to a future UCAS application form too.
Of course we are a youth-led charity but that doesn’t mean that after 25, your volunteering life stops (I hope not anyway!). In Glasgow I volunteered at a special needs centre for young adults; a Centre one of my sisters attends as she is differently abled. I started volunteering there when I was 18 until I moved to London in July 2011.
Initially, my Business degree seemed immaterial compared to using my time to sit and talk to people- to interact with them. Or so I thought.
Endless presentations, tutorial talks and meeting new people at university had (without me actually realising at the time) enabled me with stronger confidence in talking and engaging with people. And I used my somewhat limited marketing and finance knowledge from Uni to assist the Centre in an application to secure funds for a mini-bus, and to publicise fundraising events.
If mature students are put off by rising fees but they long to re-train or bring something new to their lives, I say: try volunteering; try something different; try to help out. There isn’t anything that says just because you can’t afford the fees you can’t have education under another guise.
You may find, as I did, that education in the “school of life” can be best attained via a combination of meaningful volunteering and studying – as has been proven by the inspiring stories that have been shared during Student Volunteering Week.
And in some cases, volunteering may in the immediate-term at least, be the more valuable option available to you.
The Good Childhood Report 2012 published earlier this month by The Children’s Society, gives us rich food for thought. Perhaps not surprisingly it found that family is the most important factor in children’s well-being, particularly its harmony and stability. Having friends and the quality of peer relationships feature highly too, though to a lesser degree than relationships within the family.
Feeling safe both at home and at school are important to children’s well-being but around 7% reported not feeling safe at school. In fact those reporting regular and recent bullying by peers are six times as likely to have low well-being as those not bullied at all. On the issue of feeling safe, girls feel safer in rural areas than in urban ones.
Changes to household income were found to affect well-being, particularly in the poorest 20% of households. I welcome the news that most children are happy with their health and place importance on doing well at school. However, one must be concerned by the link between poverty and lower educational aspirations and expectations.
A real fascination of mine is body image in adolescence, so I was particularly struck by the results pertaining to children’s feelings about their appearance. No surprises really: negative feelings about appearance increase with age and more so for girls than boys.
As an advocate of youth-led activity and active listening to the young, the most striking, fundamental issue in the report for children’s quality of life is that related to choice, freedom and autonomy. A substantial minority (23%) feel they have very little choice, with 23% feeling that their views are not listened to locally. This also worsens with age. For those of us who work with the young: take heed and do more!
The Good Childhood Report set out what children need and how they can get it and I believe that volunteering can play a significant part in many respects. Especially on issues of self-esteem and confidence, relationships with others, opportunities for free play, access to the outdoors, feeling safe, experiencing care and caring and having plenty to do in the local area. Volunteers can provide opportunities for children to experience all of the above – and volunteering itself enables young people to experience these things for themselves.
Here at vInspired, opportunities for young people to be heard occur through programmes like vcashpoint and Team v; and we also link young people to many wider opportunities in the charity sector through our website, vinspired.com.
Of course there is little that can replace the fundamental of a stable and harmonious family. But we can most certainly supplement it and fill some of the gaps to give children the best possible present and future.
It would be (quite literally) the understatement of the century to say that digital technology has come a long way since 1988, when teaching of ICT in schools first became compulsory.
Yes, the “there’s an app for that” culture of present day is a far cry from the basic computer usage for word processing twenty years ago. So you might expect that schools have been keeping up and altering tech teaching to ensure its relevance to the modern world. Right?
Wrong. Ofsted delivered a damning verdict of ICT teaching in schools last week. Its conclusion: schools simply aren’t doing enough to make technology lessons current and engaging enough for young people.
We now live in a world where everything from the way we shop, to how we socialise or listen to music has been (mostly) enhanced by a combination of the internet’s ubiquity and the astonishing ingenuity of the latest app or gadget. Yet schools’ teaching of the subject seems to have done the equivalent of sitting in a darkened room, feeling a bit miserable.
But going forward there is hope. From calls for coding skills to “become the new Latin”, to a brilliant scheme run by Apps for Good, where pupils in south London are taking part in a competition to design their own smartphone apps, the penny seems to finally be dropping that it’s time for ICT teaching to get up to speed with the 21st century.
In light of the present tough economic situation, schools and businesses alike should realise that investment now in the development of these kinds of skills among young people will ultimately reap rewards in the future.
At vinspired, the use of technology is at the heart of everything we do to assist young people. Our website helps young people find meaningful volunteering opportunities and our own smartphone app is the result of our belief in constantly innovating to help young people realise their potential in the easiest possible way.
If you’ve studied ICT at school in recent years, what’s your verdict? Would app-building or blogging lessons make you more likely to take up the subject? Share your thoughts here.