Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Bow School Students Design Their 21st Century Community

Citizen School Alliance member Bow School of Maths and Computing has been working with London Citizens over the past 5 months to bring active citizenship into the classroom.

The culmination of the project was on Thursday 2nd July, when Tower Hamlets Mayor, Councillor Ahmed Omer, joined head teacher Beverley Dobson and Year 8 students to officially open the Parmiter Street ‘21st Century Tower Hamlets’ exhibition – showcasing students’ ideas and designs for a 21st century logo for Tower Hamlets.

Students worked in Citizenship and Art lessons to learn about the history of Tower Hamlets, and analyse it as a modern-day London borough. In art, students designed new logos to represent its history, entrepreneurial spirit and its diversity – while back in Citizenship lessons, students prepared speeches to persuade others that their logo was the one that deserved to feature in the exhibition.

On June 17th the Mayor and fellow councillor Azizur Khan came to the school to act as Dragons for the day, analysing the students’ logos, hearing their speeches, and deciding which designs would get through to be part of the real-life exhibition on Parmiter Street.

Such was the standard of the students' designs and speeches that ultimately all of the students’ work was given the green light by the Mayor. And just two weeks later, the same boys were outside the Parmiter Street development, painting their logos for all to see. After four hours of hard work, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets and housing developers Family Mosaic paid a visit to congratulate the boys’ work and ensure the exhibition received serious media attention in the council’s East End Life publication.

The real-life nature of the exhibition, and the involvement of real politicians from their area gave the boys involved extra motivation to succeed. The logos and speeches speak for themselves. It’s the kind of opportunity the Citizen Schools Alliance affords its member schools. Get in touch for more information on how your school can make community-based active citizenship a reality.

Hiring Now... Pathway Schools busy recruiting leadership teams

In the run-up to the end of term and the Citizen Schools Pathway launch, each participating school has been busy organising the teachers, parents, senior leaders, governors and students to make up their Citizen School Team. Participants - students included - will go on a year-long development programme where they will accrue the skills, knowledge and experience of planning and implementing real, engaging, motivating active citizenship education.

The key is get participants opting in, finding those people who really want to take part, who feel the programme chimes with where they are at and who can commit the time to really make taking part worthwhile for themselves and the school.

Head teacher of Prendergast Ladywell Fields College, Mel Whitfield, felt the Pathway was so significant that the school created a special post - with additional funding - to lead the school's participation, with all staff able to freely apply for the position. This helped recruit Simon Jones, Head of Geography, to their Citizen Schools team.

Thomas Tallis school (above) set about holding student interviews for the two student leader positions. After using our job descriptions and doing lessons to interested students, young people had to apply for the position and write a CV to support their application. Formal interviews in the school's official meeting room followed - after which students were selected, with everyone interviewed being given some form of position, be it Citizen Schools Leader (who attends trainings throughout the year) or Citizen Schools Ambassador (who works primarily inside the school to get other students motivated and involved).

All the resources to support you doing this in your school are available to download from our Citizen Schools Community, our online forum. The materials are in our special Pathway zone, so make sure you register on the forum to be able to get the resources!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Does your school need support to go green?

Does your school live within One Planet? If everyone in the world lived the way the average Londoner does we’d need three planets to support us!

To help get closer to One Planet living, London Citizens has launched a new programme of support to enable your school to become environmentally, economically and socially sustainable and just.

You’ll get free specialist training and support from London Citizens organizers and copies of the free One Planet Citizens Toolkit, enabling you to put together a One Planet Action Plan laying out the steps to sustainability for your school. There’s an award to reward your efforts too.

By thinking globally and acting locally we can have a massive impact. Small choices made thousands of times bring big results. One Planet – a programme working with not only schools but also churches, mosques, community groups and trade unions – is here to help you get results for your school.

For more info email Alex at, or talk direct on 020 7043 9879.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Citizen Schools Launch: The Verdict is in!

170 students, teachers, senior leaders, governors, parents, carers and head teachers from 18 schools across London came together on the evening of 9th July 2009 at the Institute of Education for the launch of the Citizen Schools Pathway. Before leaving, each participant completed a report card – feeding back on their experience of the launch. Here are the results...


If students from your school have got what it takes to showcase their talents and send out a positive message about what young people are about - then 28th August 2008 is the date for them.

On Friday 28 August 2009 at Stratford Circus, London E15, young people from across London will perform and showcase their talent to a huge London-wide audience, and raise serious funds and support for the young-people led City Safe Campaign of community alliance London Citizens.

CitySafe is a community-led response which brings schools, churches, mosques, local businesses together to make our communities safer for all, with the help of the Police and the Mayor of London.

If you or young people you know want to be part of this momentous event, they need to bring their talent to the show auditions, on 1-3 August 2009 at St. Angela’s Ursuline School, St. George’s Road, Forest Gate, London E7 8HU. Contact Paul Amuzie on 07800 500851 or email for more information.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The Citizen Schools Pathway is Launched!

170 students, parents, carers, teachers, subject leaders, governors, senior leaders and headteachers - representing 18 schools across London - came together at the Institute of Education for the launch of the 2009-2010 Citizen Schools Pathway...

See the highlights below...

The Citizen Schools Pathway forum has begun!

Everyone who is part of the Citizen Schools Pathway can now communicate and interact in virtual cyberspace via the London Grid for Learning-authorised 'Citizen Schools Community'. That's our online forum which helps people who believe in education for active citizens connect, share and provide support.

The Pathway forum is private - so only those teachers, parents, governors, senior leaders and young people who are part of the Pathway can access it.

Available on the forum is all the essential information about the Pathway so far - contact details for schools, details of how each school is implementing the Pathway, and draft timetables and course guides. If you're part of the pathway, visit the Citizen Schools Community to get access to all this now! Make sure you log in or register.

Anyone who has an interest in education for active citizens can join the Citizen Schools Community - our open forum has an evolving catalogue of resources and materials to support the teaching and learning of active citizenship, plus there's discussion forums and job opportunities flagged up as they arise. Visit the forum now to join...

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Job Opportunity: Do you want to join the Citizen Schools team?

The Citizen Organising Foundation is looking for an exceptional candidate to join its dynamic, innovative Citizen Schools initiative.

You would be responsible for helping to support and implement the four strands of Citizen Schools, which all aim to build strong, inclusive schools which embrace and enable their students, staff and parents as active citizens who believe in their power influence and improve their communities.

The successful candidate will work closely with Citizen Schools Co-ordinator Ben Hammond, and will share responsibility for:
  1. Supporting the Citizen Schools Alliance - a network of 50+ primary schools, secondary schools, youth groups - with trainings in active citizenship education and community organising for students, staff and parents/carers, through guidance and advice, and by building one-to-one public relationships

  2. Delivering the Citizen Schools Pathway - liaising with diverse members of school communities, borough decision-makers and service providers; delivering inter-school training for school teams, helping to organise events, communicating and broadcasting progress and outcomes to a wide audience

  3. Building the Citizen Schools Community - facilitating the increasing membership of the online forum, encouraging use and sharing of resources and ideas, creating the forum as a hub to link all four initiatives and enable members to interact and support each other

  4. Designing the Citizen Schools Award - bringing together an advisory group to steer the creation of the award, its criteria, its process, its administration and national roll-out.

To be considered, candidates must:

  • Have teaching experience in UK secondary or primary schools

  • Be available to begin the post in August/September 2009

  • Have a track record of effecting change or enabling others to do so

  • Have an interest in and emerging understanding of community organising and/or other processes of campaigning and change-making

We are currently seeking expressions of interest from those who might fit the bill, prior to a formal application and selection procedure. If you're interested and would like to find out more, please refer to elsewhere in this blog and our new website for further details of the four strands of our work. Please also register your interest by contacting Ben Hammond, Citizen Schools Co-ordinator, directly: click here for Ben's contact details.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The John Roan School: the first of 17 to confirm their Pathway participants

The John Roan School, Greenwich, have become the first school on the Citizen Schools Pathway programme to get all their stakeholders signed up. That includes a senior leader, subject leader, governor, two parents and two students - who have all met with me individually, and almost all met each other, after we had the first group meeting today at the school.

Citizenship is really moving forward at the school, with Citizen Schools Pathway adding strategic power and capacity to the mix. Des Malone, former Deputy Head at Deptford Green, and now the successful head of John Roan, has prioritised its development - and with a strong specialist Department led by Rahima Choudhury and line managed by deputy head Jan Farmer - who also oversees the school's community engagement - the scene is set for the Citizen Schools programme to take active citizenship across the whole school to the next level.

Added to that team is Carl Parsons, school governor and Professor of Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, two parents - Sam Binns and David Davis - who have put themselves forward to take part, plus Ramandeep Pawar and Jamie Galloway - two year 8 students who are already walking the talk of politics in action: they've lined up a meeting with none other than Gordon Brown, Prime Minister, at Number 10, on Friday!

John Roan are also the first school to confirm their full quota of attendees for the Citizen Schools launch - so everyone will be there on Thursday 9th, to meet other schools and participants, find out more about the programme, and get a real sense of the power of citizenship education in action.