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On The Town

Student-led community projects run by Creative Education Trust schools. 

Creative Education Trust’s strategic goal under ‘community’ is for schools to become ‘active and valued participants in their localities’. A new initiative agreed by the board supports this endeavour, inviting each school to submit a bid for a student-led project that delivers benefit to the community beyond the school. After the disruption of the pandemic, this is an opportunity to bring communities together and create a long-lasting impact.  

To launch Our Town the Programmes team joined forces with the Edge Foundation, experts in Community Connected Learning, to deliver training to all project leads. Laura Hay, Strategy and Partnerships Manager, presented case studies and activities that utilise the power of young people and enable them to connect the classroom to the world around them. “It comes down to what we value in education. If we believe students should not just learn about the world but also have opportunities to actively engage with and shape it, then we have to design for that. These experiences help students develop the knowledge, skills, mindsets, and habits to participate meaningfully in the local story, and most importantly, to realise their potential to play a positive and valued role in change,” Laura said.  

Activities developed by Programmes and Edge help students consider what issues they care about, the root causes of the problems they see in their community, and the impact they want. The bids so far show a range of brilliant ideas developed by Creative Education Trust students, including a reading project offering texts that mirror the diversity of the community, community gardens to address food poverty, initiatives to support positive mental health and wellbeing, others to protect the environment from litter and pollution, and projects promoting equality and allyship. We’ve been impressed by fantastic contributions and enthusiasm from students.

Some project highlights so far include the Bulwell Changemakers interviewing their local MP for a new podcast, Thistley Hough hosting a student-led strategy day at Spode, and Woodlands developing a partnership with the parish council, who will be putting the winning designs of the school’s competition raising awareness of the dangers of litter on the local bins. We’re excited to see the next steps with the projects!