New Ideals in Education regularly organises training conferences for groups of school children accompanied by teachers, allowing them to use and learn about local democracy, history and community action. These can be tailormade for the school and its ongoing work or projects. Contact us for further details and how your school can take part.
Mini-conferences are organised for up to eight primary schools, with eight students and two teachers each (numbers of students and schools vary depending on demand and venue) . They can be run by students from a local secondary school, who will be trained beforehand to deliver the workshops. Regular annual conferences are normally linked to national or international days such as UN Children’s Day, Women’s Day, Holocaust Memorial Day, Fairtrade Fortnight, Black History Month, Enterprise Week…
The themes or activities include enterprise, fairtrade, setting-up and running a co-operative business, sustainability, restorative justice, democratic decision-making, creating a school council constitution, making school council policies, being an active citizen, expressing views through speeches and art, representing a group, working as a team, the history of children’s and human rights, exploring and addressing local issues, researching through interviewing experts, global warming, inclusion, identity and community membership.
The aims of the training events are to reflect on the issues, giving local examples of heroes and solutions, and explore contemporary problems within participative, creative activities, empowering the children as active citizens. A culture of human rights is strengthened through the use of local, national and international histories of children’s rights development. The children and teachers will learn tools and develop skills that they can use to contribute to their communities, within a framework of rights.
The teachers will be able to see the methods and resources used and will be given a support session, alongside copies of all the resources and training guides. They will be sent a powerpoint of all the slides used during the day, edited with pictures of their children working, so that they can support the children sharing their experiences of the day with their class, year, school or/and school council, enabling them to do a presentation, and to repeat the training sessions, if they wish.
The children working in groups, meeting children from other schools, discuss and make decisions and presentations using methods developed by co-operative trainers and published by Save the Children, in their handbook, ‘Spicing it Up’. They will take over the council chamber, learning how it is used, and run their own plenary discussion and voting. They will research the topics by acting as journalists interviewing guest experts. With their teacher support it is hoped the day’s activities and outcomes will be shared by the children in their own schools, and will contribute to class, year or whole school development of the school council, children’s voice, and children as active community members.
The venues start with the local town hall, framing decision making within the council chamber and the workings of local government, and then move on to art galleries, museums, parliament, sites of community and cultural history. These will be used to explore the exhibitions or buildings and their work with the community, creating an artistic or dramatic response.
Travel to and from the event will be organised by using a hired No 15 historic red double decker bus. This will also be used for transport between venues. During the journey there will be a guide talking about the local history of the buildings we pass, and their relevance to the life of the community.