The following activities are examples of Active Citizenship tasks I have undertaken at my school. They can be done in classes, select groups or whole year/school groups.
1) Letters to the school council.
I got my students to write to the school council on a variety of issues, from nominating school charities to support and suggesting activities, to making changes to the school environment and uniform. Issues can be discussed and voted on in class, with a selection of the letters presented to the student council.
2) MP visit to school.
We invited our MP to the school on a yearly basis. Our year 7 students prepared questions beforehand and took part in a one hour question and answer session which included the MP giving an overview of his role. Communications were opened up with the MP so writing to him could be part a unit of work—responses were always well received.
3) Recycle project.
I worked with students from each year group to highlight the importance of recycling in the school. The students researched global warming, its effects and what can be done about it and exchanged ideas with the school council leading to recycling weeks.
4) Police visits.
As part of the year 8 unit on crime we invited the local police officers into school. The students prepared question for the police, who also gave a talk on their role and how to stay safe, this led to the setting up of an action group with them
5) Local police action group
I worked with the local police to create a group of students who joined in with a police initiative to listen to the voices of young people in the area. The students took part in out of school meetings with the local police and local councillors to express their views on local issues.
6) School Student’s Charter.
I worked with the local police to create a Student’s Charter. I created a group of year 9 students who wrote a questionnaire and went round all the form rooms in the school. The year 9s amalgamated the information and put it into pie charts and graphs and wrote a summary of their findings. The final report was given to the police who promised to act on the views obtained.
7) Safety booklet.
We worked alongside the local police to produce a booklet on how to stay safe, from safety at night to internet safety. The police gave a session on safety and the students created a booklet from the information given to them and other facts found from leaflets and the internet. The finished booklet was checked by the police and given out to students at school.
8) Japan Pen pal Letters.
I got in contact with a school in Japan (Where I used to live and teach). I worked with my year 9 students to create a pen pal scheme. The students were paired up and share letters, comparing and contrasting the British and Japanese cultures. I created a wall display to celebrate the event and used the information gathered from the Japanese students for future work on the United Nation.
9) Highlight issues
I got students to create information packs / poster on contemporary issues. I photocopied the best work and handed it out to every form tutor who, where possible, put them up in their form rooms.
10) Care home visit.
A group of year 10 students visited the local elderly care home. They firstly contacted the home’s manager to discuss their requirements and then planned an afternoon’s activities. The aim of the event was to build better communication/relationship between people who lived in the home and our school’s students. The year 10 students successfully broke down barriers by talking about and listening to the different experiences and ideas of each generation.
11) Visit/teach in primary schools on life at our school.
I got students to give assemblies and teach at the local primary schools on a variety of issues such as life at our school, the laws on drugs and alcohol, The effects of healthy eating on the local community and the importance of looking after the local environment.
12) Quiz for local schools. In our school and at theirs.
Year 9 students planned quizzes for local primary schools. These quizzes were held both at our school, where each primary school sent a team, and at one of the local schools, who split a year group into teams. Our year 9 students split themselves up into teams and each took control of a round. Each round was on a different topic, for example, music, television, current affairs, brainteasers and activities such as bush tucker trials. The students created all the questions, usually using ICT, explained the rules of each round, took charge of marking each round, and presented the prizes. The quizzes were aimed at year 6 students and gave them a chance to build up relationships with students at our school and when possible, visit the school to gain experience of the working environment at a secondary school.
13) Charity fund raisers.
My students took part in a variety of fund raisers. My year 9 scheme of work describes in detail the events we took part in during Children In Need Charity Week. I also got students to arrange non uniform and wacky tie days to raise money for a variety of charities and respond to issues such as the Haiti earthquake. Students advertised the events, creating posters and visiting form rooms and assemblies. It was also the students’ responsibility to write about the events in the school newsletters.
The year 10s and year 11s held assemblies on a variety of Citizenship issues. Time was given in lessons to prepare the assemblies, which were on contemporary issues such as Black History Month, Children in Need, Remembrance Sunday and Divali.
15) Write to the local council and local newspaper.
I got students to respond to local issues by writing to the local council and local newspaper. This gave students a sense of empowerment when studying local news.
16) Local Radio.
I got students from each year group to work with our local radio show. On one occasion a pupil from each year group took part in a question and answer session with the local MP. This was broadcast on the local radio and the school obtained CD’s from the show.
17) Questions for candidates for senior prefect team.
My Citizenship students worked as part of the school council to interview students who wanted to be part of the following year’s senior prefect team.
18) Havering Youth Council and Havering Youth Parliament—the election/workshop.
I held annual elections to elect students to represent the school at the Havering Youth Council and Youth Parliament. Interested students created manifestos and read speeches. The success candidates went to workshops and took part in Youth Council and Parliament meetings.
19) Teaching lessons.
My citizenship students, in groups of 4 taught lessons to other students in the school. They chose a part of the Citizenship curriculum that appealed to them and created a 1 hour lesson. I supported them in planning their lesson and gave them ideas for activities. They usually taught to younger students. Typical topics that have been taught in my school are the law on gun, drugs, alcohol, the importance of sustainable development, a reaction to a local protest march, highlighting the importance of chosen charities and the work of the local council.
20) Writing in School newsletters.
All of the Active Citizenship activated were written about by students in the school’s newsletters.