Last week the Year 10 GCSE Citizenship group took part in an exciting new project with the Politics Project called Digital Surgeries. The group have worked through a series of lessons to find out more about the role of decision makers with the goal of speaking to them via Skype and putting their questions and ideas to these decision makers. This is a key part of involving young people in the process of politics and making their voices heard as active citizens.
Year 10 spoke to MEP Julie Ward. This was a fantastic opportunity to ask questions about Brexit and the future of the UK outside of Europe. The students also explored women’s rights and the rights of other citizens and how young people can get involved in politics.
This was a unique way for our students to share their views and opinions with a decision maker. Thank you to the Politics project for this fantastic opportunity. The Politics Society will be speaking to Beth Knowles on Friday exploring her role as Andy Burham’s Assistant and leading his Manchester Homelessness project. All students are welcome to join us.
Last weekend, Mr Humphreys took to AGGS delegations to the Model United Nations Cheadle Hulme conference (MUNCH). We were representing Palestine and Turkey in different committees, after researching their stand-points of a variety of issues. The opening ceremony
Despite the early start on Saturday, we headed to our committees raring to go. I was in Health and ice breakers over, we launched into lively debate. Many of us gave policy statements, outlining our country’s view and my resolution got chosen for debate and eventually was passed, completely making my day. In many of our committees, international tensions rose so high that delegates were evicted and, in mine, made to sit under a desk at the back! Some of our AGGS delegates received joke awards including Tara getting “best couple” with Israel, Sanah and Rosie winning Best dressed and myself “sassiest” and “most likely to be a dictator”! The day ended with the release of an international crisis, involving the spreading of a lethal pesticide.
On the Sunday morning we debated clauses attempting to resolve different aspects of the crisis, then joined in general assembly. Although there was not much time, quite a few of us spoke. Following the news that China was to blame for not intervening, Safa and I argued that it should be replaced by Palestine and made an observer state! When it came to the closing ceremony, as a school we claimed lots of awards:
Safa A- Commended delegate
Mariam J- Commended Delegate
Isabella I- Commended delegate
Sanah K- Commended delegate
Tara F- Highly Commended delegate
Me- Best Young Delegate
Overall, it was an amazing weekend- we’ve all made new friends, learnt new skills and had lots of fun- A big thank you to Mr Humphreys for being our advisor, without him we couldn’t have gone!
Exec have been super busy pulling together and communicating about all the amazing projects that have happened over this academic year amongst all the year groups. We are very proud of everyone.
Our main focus this year has been upon the Values and embedding these into our school system. Year 10 have helped us do this. We have communicated to staff and students about what our values are and how they were chosen. We have also fundraised and created the Values trees which help to communicate the values around school.
We look forward to embedding these further next year.
Suggestion boxes – in order to get the best possible feedback from our forms, we decided we needed a way for them to write suggestions whenever they wanted. A suggestion box, we decided, was a good way to do this. We held a competition for our forms to make a box, and the best one was chosen.
The buddy system – This was main focus for the y7 school council. This project will help new y7’s to settle in faster. Year 8’s will go to their y7 buddies one morning a week, and this will give the y7’s a chance to ask any questions. There will also be a chance to play games as to get to know your form better.
We knew that there weren’t enough places for people to sit and work in the library, especially at lunch. Therefore, we fundraised to buy 9 beanbags that you can sit, work or relax on. To do this, we hosted fandom day, a day where lower school dressed up as their favourite characters. We managed to raise enough to cover the cost of the beanbags, AND enough to buy extra books to enjoy! We listened to everyone’s suggestions and managed to whittle them down to a fantastic number of books.
We then designed labels to show everyone who picked up the books what year 8 school council 2017 have achieved. We chose to improve the library as it is a space enjoyed by all students and a relaxing environment. We can go to the library to continue homework, encourage independent learning or simply just to get lost in a book. The beanbags meant there is more seating for students and more people can be encouraged into this magical place.
Our year group school council have worked incredibly hard to work together, listen to ideas and improve our school for everyone. We are grateful for our opportunity to represent our year group in Year 8 School Council 2017, and many of us are standing for School Council in the forthcoming year!
Year 9 School Council
On School council training day, we were told that our project of the year was to redecorate the Medical room and to renovate the Heads of Year Room into a Wellbeing room.
We first mind-mapped lots of ideas, and consulted our form groups on whether they liked them. We then chose our favourites to focus on. Next we created a mood board of furniture, activities and colour schemes for the rooms. We decided on a calming blue and cheerful pink, with furniture and soft furnishings in neutral colours.
We found comfortable furniture within our budget and then we consulted Mrs Ogunmyiwa, Mr Beddows and the Wellbeing Ambassadors. Once approved, we created an official floorplan that incorporated our ideas for the new rooms.
We think the Wellbeing room is a fantastic idea for our school community that will improve the mental health of our students as they go through their school lives. The wellbeing room is now a great space to take a time out. It’s currently being put together and painted by the caretakers and should be ready for the new school year in September.
Year 10 School Council
This year has been very productive for year 10 school council. With the Values being implemented across the school year 10 have been embedding these into the expectations for learning and developing the merit criteria. Both of these are now ready for next year and we are looking forward to them being used across school.
The second half of the year we have been gathering and writing posts for the pupil voice blog, we took over this role from year 11 school council when they left for exams.
On the 2nd July 2017 8 pupils from years 9-11 from our school attended a conference at Withington High School, representing 2 countries: Brazil and Spain. Throughout the day, we each had 2 or 3 resolutions which we could debate within our individual committees, then we had a joint committee meeting where we could debate similar resolutions with other delegates. Everyone who attended from our school spoke with points of information, submitted resolutions and did very well representing their country.
In general, the day went very smoothly and it was very helpful for all the newcomers who hadn’t attended a conference before. The chairs of each committee were very supportive and encouraged everyone to suggest different points of information. It was a very interesting day and some resolutions that were proposed were very silly and comical to debate which made the atmosphere very energetic.
Overall, Hedye (Y9) received a commended award and Hania (Y9), Safa (Y10), and Sanah (Y11) received a highly-commended award. Within each committee, there were also some made-up awards where Hedye (Y9) received the award for best acronymmer.
As part of the Citizenship GCSE curriculum it is vital for students to scrutinize and question the views of their local MP. Friday’s visit of Graham Brady was arranged before the snap general election was called. Although Graham Brady is officially declared as the conservative candidate he was able to explore and share about his role as an MP within the Altrincham and Sale West constituency. Students learn about the role of an MP within the new syllabus so this was an fantastic opportunity to hear about what it is really like to be an MP.
Students and staff submitted questions to explore and challenge the Conservative ideologies and to find out Graham Brady’s views. He talked of his current role as the chairman of the 1922 committee and considered his past roles on the shadow cabinet in his early career. The role of grammar schools, school funding cuts and austerity were high on the agenda for questions.
AGGS Politics society are currently working towards running our own AGGS Mock General Election and are exploring all the parties pledges, these will be presented to students at a Hustings on June 7th followed by an election on June 8th.
Friday 20th Jan saw Year 10 & Year 11 Citizenship GCSE students head down to London for the annual visit to the Houses of Parliament. We had two fantastic workshops at the brand new Parliament Education Centre. Year 10 explored how Laws are made and Year 11 did elections and voting. The visit also included an access all areas tour of the Houses of Parliament. We had the privilege of witnessing some Private Members Bills being debated in the Houses of Commons. Caroline Lucas got very passionate about the need for statutory PSHE in schools, a fascinating topic for us to witness debate upon.
We did a walking tour past the Supreme Court and Downing street and then walked all the way to Euston seeing so many of the famous London sights such as Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and China Town.
On Friday the 7th October, the GCSE Citizenship students went on a trip to Manchester. While we were there, went first to the People’s history museum. We learnt about the Suffragette movement and how women gained the vote by watching a drama performance of a lady called Hannah Mitchell. Hannah Mitchell, a self-educated Socialist and suffragette, was born in Derbyshire. Later, she served on Manchester City Council. The Hard Way Up, her autobiography, is seen as a classic account of life by a working class woman. We then did a range of activities such as debating how to get equal rights in education for girls and boys and learnt about different methods of protest. Some even suggested kidnapping a teacher!
In the afternoon, after eating a foot long at Subway, we visited the Crown Courts. We were taught of the different positions in a case and even rein acted one in court 16. This linked to what we learnt in the People’s history museum as two suffragettes, Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney, were on trial in our case. We even tried on judge’s wigs and robes! After a long, exciting day, we got the tram back to Altrincham.
Overall, our day in Manchester was fun and informative. Some highlights were:
Getting involved it the dramatic performance.
Looking round the museum at all the exhibitions
Dressing up as judges
Shouting at our peers in court!
Safa falling asleep standing up on the tram back
We all enjoyed the trip and are looking forward to our trip to the Houses of Parliament next year.