In November 2016, Anna Peak and I accompanied a group of then 5th Form pupils to the launch of the Global Social Leaders project, whose aim is to empower young people across the world to develop their leadership skills in order to create action projects in their local community. Initiated by a charity called Future Foundations, its tagline is ‘think globally, act locally’ as it tries to get more young people engaged in having a positive impact on the world.
One of the standout features of GSL is that it is completely student-led and organised, with staff offering the lightest of touches in planning, development and implementation. As such, led ably by Elliot Crossley, the group have worked over the last year on three projects, liaising both with school staff and external agencies.
The first project, called ‘Student Insight’, is a PSHE drama piece to offer to schools, whose budgets might not be able to stretch to a professional group. The six Salopians involved have devised their own short play on the theme of integration and tolerance, which they will be launching to local headteachers in coming weeks with the help of Shropshire Council. Their aim is to convey important information and ideas in a way that teenagers will appreciate differently than if done in a classroom.
The second project is a podcast called ‘ShrewsNews’, which aims to distil the important, national and global news stories in bitesize chunks to Salopians. At the same time, the group wish to highlight the vital work done by the support staff for them in interviews with different members of staff, starting with Executive Head Chef Matt Warburton. Finally, in an attempt to spread news of all sectors of Salopian life, each podcast will focus on recent and future school events. The podcast will be added to each of the weekly school eNewsletters - and you can listen to this week's edition by clicking on the image below:
The most recent addition to the project list sees a group of Lower Sixth students work with the charity Refugee Action to provide a link for some unaccompanied young refugees in Shrewsbury with people of their own age, to aid their integration into the local community. We are very excited to see how this will develop in time.
Alongside all of this, the pupils are developing their leadership and organisational skills by taking charge of stand-alone school events. The first sees them organise a tea party for elderly people in Shrewsbury, which will take place on Field Day later this term.
If any parent has any ideas on how the GSL group could provide support to the local community, they are welcome to get in touch - email firstname.lastname@example.org.