Friday, 26 February 2010

70 Students apply to be London Citizens MONEY MENTORS!

A whopping 70 undergraduate students from local universities have applied to be London Citizens Money Mentors!

These Money Mentors will be trained by the Citizen Schools team, Credit Action and Money Saving as peer facilitators to deliver our Money Mentors financial literacy programme to 4,000 young people in schools across London over four weeks this June and July.

With Jessica Jones, Money Mentors co-ordinator, and Ben Hammond, Citizen Schools Co-ordinator having shortlisted candidates today, the next step is interviews next Thursday.   Jess and Ben were bowled over by the quality of the candidates applying - almost all to the letter showing experience of community action, work with young people and an interest in economic education...

An action shot of Jess Jones, Money Mentors co-ordinator, shortlisting Money Mentors applicants.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Prendergast Ladywell Fields College - from 4 active citizens to 100 in 6 months flat!

A reflection blog post from Simon Jones, Head of Geography and Citizen Schools co-ordinator at Prendergast Ladywell Fields College, Lewisham:

"Six months ago the belief that pupils as Citizens had a voice or that they could bring about change within the school, let alone the wider community did not exist.

Starting with four pupils we now have over 100 pupils from all years working on four campaigns and increasingly engaging with their communities.

From the beginning I felt that the project should be pupil driven, pupils devising the programme of study, pupils teaching pupils, pupils recruiting pupils, pupils writing to, talking to, meeting with their community.

So far the pupils have been very successful, a core group of well motivated and well organised campaigners with a wide network of community links.

However we had reached a crisis point. Our teams were overstretched,  our campaign teams consisted only of pupils, and our project had become too big for just me to co-ordinate.

We met and discussed the problem and agreed on a three step solution.

One : Appeal to the staff of the school, recruit three members of staff to each campaign team.

Two : Invite parents to join the teams and establish regular meetings.

Three : Establish sustainable links with the wider community and invite them to  campaign meetings.

Our goal is to establish self sustaining, truly representative teams, which are driven by pupil voice."

Good luck to Simon and the huge Prendergast team - your energy, commitment and drive is phenomenal.  London Citizens is privileged to have you as a member school.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Ark Academy become first school to join the second Citizen Schools Pathway cohort

The newly formed Ark Academy in Wembley has become the first school to join London Citizens' flagship 'Citizen Schools Pathway'.

With a specialism in Citizenship, the school wants to be at the forefront of Citizenship in their borough, across London, and nationally; joining the Pathway is one strategic way to deliver on this aspiration.

London Citizens and the Citizens Schools team are excited to have Ark Academy on board, and look forward to welcoming them formally onto the Pathway and into membership of London Citizens and the west London Assembly this Autumn.

Meanwhile, the next step is to begin recruiting a team of teachers, senior leaders, parents, governors and students to lead the work. The Citizen Schools team, including our Brent borough organiser, will be responsible for doing this over the next few months under guidance from Delia Smith OBE, Principal at the Academy, and Ollie Knight, Vice Principal.

Explaining the school's aspirations for its students, Delia says "You will see our motto, “Civitas”, around the school. We are first and foremost citizens and this is what binds us together. We want our pupils to grow into well rounded, confident, ambitious young people, who aspire to personal high achievement and to making their mark on the world."

Sunday, 21 February 2010

CALLING ALL TEACHERS - A very special professional development opportunity!

At some point in late April, just days before the election, it is increasingly possible that London Citizens member communities will have the opportunity to put their agenda for change direct to the three main political party leaders.

We want everyone to learn about and take part in this agenda, which has come about through London Citizens' meetings, local assemblies and the huge Assembly at the Barbican on 25th November 2009.

As a result the schools team is creating 8 learning opportunities for schools (and faith groups, youth groups etc) to investigate the agenda of...

A living wage
Affordable housing
Safer Streets
No detention for children of people seeking sanctuary
Putting 1% of the banking bail-out into mutual, local forms of lending
Putting a cap on the amount of interest people can charge
Tackling the real power players in London

Each learning opportunity will include 8 steps to help people make up their minds on the issue. If you're interested in working with me (Ben, Citizen Schools Co-ordinator) to develop resources on one (or more) of these, just get in touch with me now - The finished resources will go out to over 250,000 Londoners (great for the CV)! We'll need to meet up for 1-2 hours within the next 2 weeks to get it done.

20 places available for a London Citizens day at the GLA!

Recognising London Citizens as the capital's most powerful community alliance, the Greater London Assembly has invited London Citizens to spend a day at City Hall learning about its work and putting questions to its power players.

On Wednesday March 17th, 60 Citizens' leaders will get the chance to attend Mayor's Question Time, take part in talks by with Darren Johnson (Chair of the London Assembly), and Janet Hughes (Head of Scrutiny and Investigations), and put questions to these power players.

The Schools team has managed to secure 20 tickets for students from our member schools to attend. Attendees must be in year 9 or above (though ideally in the 6th form in order to travel independently), need to complete an application form and come to a short interview with Ben Hammond, Citizen Schools Co-ordinator, between 10am and 1pm on Saturday 13th March.

For an application form, teachers and students from member schools only should contact Ben Hammond via email:, or download directly from our online Citizen Schools Community. Completed applications need to be received by Friday 5th March to be considered for interview.

Lilian Baylis secure £30,000 for their Citizen Schools bike project!

Amazing news from south of the river... Lilian Baylis Technology School have been awarded £30,000 of TfL funding to turn its Citizen Schools community bicycle idea into a reality!

Lilian Baylis old school site: potential site of the new Cycle Hub?

It all began with students creating ideas for change during the Autumn term, where they focused on trying to improve local bike facilities. And it shows the importance of London Citizens borough organisers to schools' succeeding in getting community backing - Jamie Audsley, borough organiser for Lambeth, brought Lilian Baylis together with local cycling activist and London Cycling Campaign member Charlie Holland, and the rest is now history.

Students, parents, the school and its local community will now come together as a steering action team to set up the Cycle Hub (a place where young people and the local community can go for bike riding & maintenance workshops), increase the number of community rides, and build a successful model other London boroughs will want to emulate.

Next step for the school is building the team - recruiting an alliance of school, student, parent and community constituencies, and then negotiating the site for the cycling hub... the site of the old Lilian Baylis school is target number one!

Congratulations to all involved with the project - particularly the student team, assistant head Karen Chamberlain, humanities teacher Sian Williams and the parent team at Lilian Baylis School, and Charlie Holland for bringing it all together to get such a result.

Citizen Schools PATHWAY - 20+ places available now for primary or secondary schools in 13 London Boroughs. Deadline 15th March.

Do you need to build your school's contribution to community cohesion?

Do you want to increase the level of parental engagement with your school?

Does your school need to increase its networks and leverage in your borough?

Do you want to take your active citizenship to the next level across the school?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, London Citizens is now recruiting for its second cohort of schools for its landmark 'Citizen Schools Pathway' - an induction course in community organising to build the capacity of school communities to effect change, build alliances, facilitate community cohesion and make learning more relevant and compelling.

See the document below for full details.

We don't want any school to participate, however. There are four criteria for each school to be able to take one of the limited places we have available:

* 1) A belief in schools as community hubs, with parents, students, staff and community members taking responsibility for creating a high quality education and a cohesive community
* 2) A headteacher who will build a direct relationship with our organisers, and advise us on who to approach to construct the most effective, diverse team; they also need to give one team member the time to lead the work (1 hour per week or more).
* 3) To be able to raise the London Citizens membership dues and course fee required to take part - see the summary below for more details. The cost is not prohibitive for any school, and varies with the size of each school taking part.

Head teachers who think their school fits the bill should contact Ben Hammond, Citizen Schools Co-ordinator at London Citizens, to book an initial exploratory/strategy meeting, by 15th March 2010. Email / Telephone 0772 33 780 44.

London Citizens to host BBC Any Questions? Member schools can claim 5-10 tickets each!

London Citizens is hosting a live broadcast of BBC Any Questions? On Friday 5th March. Our member schools have the opportunity to claim 5-10 tickets each.

Panellists include Ken Livingstone (former Mayor of London) and Ken Clarke MP.

It’s your chance to influence the national debate with questions focused on London Citizens priorities: street safety, fair wages, affordable housing, sanctuary for migrants, active citizenship in schools.

Where? London Muslim Centre, Whitechapel
When? Friday 5th March; Doors Open 6.45pm

PLACES ARE LIMITED. For your FREE tickets exclusive to London Citizens members, teachers should contact: Josephine Mukanjira at London Citizens, on 0207 043 9881; email PRIORITY GOES TO EAST LONDON MEMBER SCHOOLS.

Migration Conundrum: the dream team needs YOU!

We are looking for both excellent learning activities to bring the issue of migration alive in UK classrooms, and interesting case studies of migrants to humanise and inform students' learning. All contributors will be credited and broadcast nationally when the resource is launched in June 2010:

If you're a teacher or student and have any learning activities which cover any of the following, please email with details:

Life in migrants' countries of origin
The push/pull factors
Migrants' journies
The reactions on arrival - from immigration officials, the public, the media, UK government, charities, communities etc
The lifestyles of migrants
How migrants' cases are/have been/will be resolved

Here's an example of a learning activity - but we're looking for anything in length or activity type, so long as it's interesting and compelling...

If you know of someone who would like to be one of our case studies, please contact Carina Crawford-Rolt on We are looking for the following case studies in particular:

Migrants who live outside of London
Migrants from other MEDC countries who now live in the UK
Migrants from Europe
Migrants who have emigrated from the UK

Here's an example of the type of format each case study will follow. Get in touch to talk about the next steps to create the real life case study!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Calling all 6th formers studying Politics or Citizenship! Amazing opportunity this Friday!

London Citizens is hosting a very special audience and round table event with Professor Michael Sandel of Havard, author of "Justice - What's the right thing to do?', on Friday 26th February, 2.00pm to 4.00pm, at the London Muslim Centre, Whitechapel.

6th formers from its member schools are invited to claim their places at this prestigious event with the BBC Reith Lecturer 2009, lectures based on his hugely oversubscribed Harvard course "Justice".

London Citizens Member Schools can have between 5 and 10 tickets each - for parents, teachers, sixth formers or year 11s only, but places are going (really, really) fast! Contact to reserve your places today.

Please visit his website to view his lectures ahead of the event.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Migration Conundum Dream Team is Ready!

An alliance of 18 teachers, education consultants, ex immigration officers and migrant leaders came together last week in the first step to ensure that: No child is to leave education without an understanding of our past and present role of providing sanctuary and that they are given an opportunity to develop their own minds in the great migration debate.

"The Migration Conundrum" is an exciting new resource being produced by London CITIZENS, a partnership of our Schools team and Citizens for Sanctuary, a London Citizens campaign which aims to secure justice for people fleeing persecution and to rebuild public support for sanctuary. The resource aims to bring compelling, discursive and active teaching and learning around the issue to every classroom in the UK. We believe that every young person should be entitled to experience a high quality, evidence-based exploration of this issue.

The resource is designed in a flexible resource to teach this issue, but also associated issue to fit the curriculum. There are four key parts to draw from:
  • Real Lives - Case studies of some of our young leaders.
  • Activate - Ideas, activities and resources to bring the issue alive in the classroom.
  • You Can Tool Kit - A tool kit to help students make a difference and take action.
  • Evidence Bank - A bank of supporting facts, figures and evidence.

The team assembled to develop, trial and launch the resource offer a wealth of skills, experience and knowledge to the resource as well as painting a clear picture of the situation.

Jon, 27, fled Zimbabwe 2 year ago "It's a shame that the media tend to tell a negative story when it come to issues around sanctuary and immigration. This resource will help students understand what individuals really go through and who they can become whilst seeking sanctuary in the UK. It will encourage them to make up their own minds, and hopefully take some action."

The resource, is currently being trialled in 4 of our London schools and will be available for the start of the new year 2010/2011. If you would like to trial it in your school, please contact

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Prendergast Staff Meeting: Citizen School Style

This week Prendergast Citizen School Team have been spreading the news of progress across the school and working to build support for their campaigns. The team presented during a staff meeting asking staff not already involved for their support and specifically their time to integrate the campaigns into the curriculum. This request aims to add a bit of extra spice to lessons; enable students to direct their learning towards what's motivating them, and to enable even more people to get involved across the school.

The team asked teachers to make the campaigns they have developed their campaigns and gained a lot of support. Twenty additional teachers have now joined the campaign teams AND four facultities are going to weave the campaigns into their curriculum. e.g. Maths are going to do traffic surveys, graphs and statistics for the Road Crossing team. Lewisham's Deputy Young Mayor also spoke and endorsed the team focused on launching Safe Havens in their local area. Prendergast Citizens School Team hop you enjoy the video.

Just 6 places left for the City Safe Youth Games!

Great news from Emmanuel Gotora, London Citizens' CitySafe Youth Games Co-ordinator. Since we began promoting it two weeks ago, fourteen schools have met with Emmanuel and have signed up to take part in this fantastic sports and leadership development programme. There are now just 6 places left for schools in the five olympic boroughs for this programme. In the summer term this year, London Citizens, in partnership with MET-Track and London Youth, will hold inter-school leadership and sports development sessions for 10-20 students from each school in a borough, culminating in a 'City Safe Olympics' day for all participants across the 5 olympic boroughs. The aim? Safer streets and the breaking down of postcode barriers through inter-school collaboration, sport, leadership, and team-building. If you're interested, contact Emmanuel Gotora, City Safe Co-ordinator, via / 07956 998909.

What's more, all of this is FREE to London Citizens' member schools!

Five Schools join London Citizens' 'Money Mentors' programme - just 10 places remaining!

In just two weeks, five schools have joined London Citizens' flagship 'Money Mentors' financial literacy programme. Designed to create a generation of young money mentors, literate and confident in budgeting, money saving and debt and able to share their expertise and skills with other students and families, the programme has seen Central Foundation Girls School, Hackney Free & Parochial School, Kingsbury High School (Brent), Langdon School (Newham) and Lampton School (Hounslow) join in just two weeks.

There are now just 10 places remaining from schools across London. Get in touch with London Citizens' Money Mentors co-ordinator Jessica Jones now to claim yours - / 07899 663123. Places are FREE for London Citizens member schools.

The Background...
Our 'Money Mentors' programme sees undergraduate student finance experts leading day-long collapsed timetable days to teach money saving, budgeting and debt, and in the process create 'Money Mentors', who at the end of the day showcase their learning to parents and other invited community guests. The programme is being run in association with and Credit Action, and places are going fast.

London Citizens' member school John Roan hit the front page!

London Citizens member The John Roan School, Greenwich, have hit the front page of local council-run newspaper the Greenwich Times. Their Year 8 'Make a Difference Club' has been working with our Citizen Schools initiative, with students busy around school cutting it's carbon emissions by 10% in 2010... Congratulations to the school, and the particularly savvy students and Citizenship department for getting their message out across the whole borough!

Monday, 15 February 2010

John Roan Citizen School Build their Power

London Citizens' Schools work in alliance with other organisations. In order to gain support and build their power, students from John Roan School in Greenwich have been presenting their idea to improve Westcombe Park Station to local primary schools who are also members of London Citizens in their borough.

The team at John Roan identified Westcombe Park Station as a problem when they conducted their local listening campaign. Poor lighting and a station underpass that needs tidying up make the majority of people who use the station feel unsafe. Primary school students at Halstow and St Alphege's listened to ideas for change and then contributed their views and ideas for improvements to the proposals. All students were keen to take part in designing a new underpass wall design and suggested a competition be held that involves all the local schools.

Students and staff gave unanimous support for the idea for change and will now negotiate with John Roan when they meet with South Eastern to put their demands forward.

Ella and Christina from John Roan acted as representatives for the team during the day and said
"We enjoyed presenting to and involving other students. On our own we wouldn't be able to make this change but we're building positive power and getting stronger."

Next stop towards change: preparing for the negotiation with other members of the alliance, supported by their dedicated borough organiser, Sebastien Chapleau.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Drayton Manor - promoting student leaders in the real world!

Four fabulous young student leaders from Drayton Manor High school joined 30 other leaders from Ealing at West London Citizens' borough meeting, together in the room with people from local churches, schools and community groups.

Vikram and Nadia brought two other young sixth form leaders along - Billon and Sami - and together they held the room's attention - speaking out on the importance of young people owning programmes supposed to help them so that they last and work for the people intended. They spoke of a lack of creative opportunities and spaces for young people in the borough. This was added to the list of all the other priorities in the borough - paying a living wage at Ealing Hospital, road safety, family support and commercial waste - priorities which Citizens' will work to turn into real, lasting change.

So it was that Nadia, Vikram, Billon and Sami then voted in support of Ealing Citizens holding a 'borough accountability assembly' - where London Citizens' communities in Ealing come together and put their agenda for change to Jason Stacey and the other council candidates before the elections in May. It's all about holding elected officials to account and getting long term commitments - not asking questions and then walking away.

Watch this space for more from these exceptional young leaders...

Hendon School Get Road Safe Real!

Students,teachers and Parent/Governors from London Citizens Member Hendon School (Barnet) got out on the streets today to begin their campaign to improve road safety around the school...

The school, situated off Golders Rise in Hendon, faces considerable traffic difficulties on a daily basis, and after selecting road safety as one of three top priorities to take action on, a team of year 8 students are leading the way in improving the situation, and ultimately getting the borough council to help. The team have identified parents, local residents, teachers, pupils and other users of Golders Rise as the key people to connect with, bring together and forge into an alliance for change.

Today it was time to begin connecting with local residents. Students established their aims, devised a survey to achieve those aims, created a petition to harness support, and role-played conversations and tactics. Then it was time to take the whole team onto the streets, connecting with residents along the road and listening to their views on the issue.

The team - conquoring both their nerves and the freezing temperatures - were amazing, persuading residents to give up time and support for the cause. Change at and around Hendon has definitely begun!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Hackney Free & Parochial School tops the student leadership tree?

One of London Citizens member schools, Hackney Free & Parochial School, has so consistently impressed with its leadership programme - recently expanded to include year 10 and year 8 'community leaders' with training by Citizen Schools - that we felt it warrented it's own blog post.

Almost half the entire school (over 300 students) now holds a position of leadership responsibility. These are wide ranging... from Student Prefects, Sports Prefects, Community Leaders, Peer Mentors, Peer Mediators, Healthy Living Mentors, School Tour Guides, Student Panels, Recycling Team & Eco Committee, Student Translators and Subject Leaders... the list is comprehensive!

And at Hackney Free this kind of student participation is not the huge burden in terms of training and administration many might expect - Rachel Kelly, Assistant Head in charge of Student Voice, explains that each team of student leaders has its own older students responsible for its co-ordination and leadership.

Combining with a school focus on promoting positive rewards for excellence, the leadership programme is a flagship example of how far the boundaries of students responsiblity for school life can be pushed. London Citizens is proud to be a part of these exciting developments at Hackney Free - long may it continue!

For more details, visit

Hackney Free Citizen Schools bring recycling in range...

Hackney Free & Parochial School, a London Citizens member, is focusing its' Citizen Schools team on recycling - persuading the council to support more street recycling facilities, in addition to the big recycling bins provided at supermarkets, for example.

Ben and Jess (our Hackney borough organiser) went into the school on Tuesday to establish plans to get the campaign up and running. Working with three excellent student leaders - Josie, Corey and Bruno - the team planned their strategy and took on key roles...

Using the fabulous ASMILEY planning method of 'Learning to Lead', the team crafted a clear, specific and measurable strategy, and will be working with London Citizens to make it happen in the run up to the Hackney Borough Accountability Assembly (where London Citizens' members in Hackney put their agenda for change to councilors and prospective councillors from the three main parties) on March 22nd.

Barking Abbey Citizen Schools Team Launches

13 students and staff from Barking Abbey School stayed behind after school on Monday to launch their Citizen Schools student team... 9 committed, articulate and confident year 7 pupils who are dedicated to improving their local community.

Over the next few weeks the group will be deciding which hot topic to focus on - policing or youth club facilities - and connecting to allies within the community to make real change happen. More updates from the students themselves soon...

Good luck Barking Abbey!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Kingsbury's Citizen Schools leaders prepare for action!

On Friday the brilliant Citizen Schools team from Kingsbury High School came together for two hours of special training to take their ideas for community change to the next level.

Ben came into the school to help students sharpen their ideas - centred around an Expression Board (a space for students to get creative in, in a positive way), and a SundayFunday (the opportunity for young people to find out about the youth services on offer in the area), and a multicultural day (to celebrate the diversity of Brent).

Students went through an intensive Dragon's Den-style challenge, and then focused their efforts on finding those community allies who can help them make their ideas a reality - youth clubs, local community groups and council employees. With their next steps clearly identified, this is one Citizen Schools group who are going places! Well done to Head of Citizenship Joanne Robinson and Citizenship Teacher Thomas Owoo for supporting students' excellent progress!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Community Cohesion in action... in east London!

Heard the one about the young person working together with the cleaners, the vicar, the imam, the Rabbi and schools of a different postcode, all to make a real difference to their neighbourhood?

No? Well this is what London Citizens is all about. And in East London today young people came together with leaders from across diverse communities, gathered together in Bryant Street Methodist Church hall because they all wanted the same thing: change. We had updates on key campaigns (like the living wage and strangers into citizens), and saw young people like Mohammed Abbas present on the progress he had made in leading City Safe in Waltham Forest Borough.

After that came the training - all about power and building public relationships; the one to ones - people getting to know diverse others and building power together; and the planning, ready for the general election to come and with it 'accountability assemblies' in certain boroughs, holding candidates for elected office to account on paying fair wages, creating safer streets, and creating affordable housing for local people.