Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Citizens UK Workshop

Over the past two academic years, St Paul’s Academy have had a direct relationship with Citizens UK. Year 10 students started off their fruitful relationship with the charity in the Spring Term. The foundation of this relationship started with a Workshop that focused on concepts and knowledge from the GCSE syllabus: ‘Theme 1: Challenges in the Built Environment’.

Citizens UK is an organisation with 300 institutions in the national borders. Its aim is to tackle issues affecting the UK populations in the 21st Century. The link with St Paul’s Academy has provided the students with a wealth of knowledge of current issues such as poverty, work employment, immigration, affordable housing and the living wage. The importance of understanding these issues is paramount for the future of the students’ lives and gives them a sense of empowerment within their own communities.

Froilan Legaspi led the students through an awareness of the different issues facing the catchment area around the school; Thamesmead and Abbey Wood. He made the students familiar with key terms such as stakeholders and the tiers of decision-making on urban planning.

The workshop included an explanation of the issues affecting the area around the school, links to theory from Theme 1 of the Geography GCSE and a question and answer session. A group activity took place where the students were split into teams of 6 and involved in a decision-making task about a new development to the local area. Students embraced different roles and argued about the different issues when creating a new development. This was effective as provided practice for their GCSE Paper 2b for their terminal exams where students need to write a report on a decision-making scenario.

Within the workshop we were fortunate to witness the speech by Dylan Wiggins on the injustice of unaffordable housing within Abbey Wood (seen below). This speech is one that will be later given to a crowd of 6000 students, teachers and politicians – including the current London Mayor delegates Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith – and accurately depict the issues facing the students in the future. This speech by Dylan particularly resonated with the audience and stimulated debate about the problems the students faces with living wage and adequate access to housing.

Dylan Wiggins speaking to the Year 10s about the problems of access to affordable housing in Abbey Wood.
The picture below depicts why it is paramount to engage Geography students with these issues. Firstly, it enables the students to understand and apply theory learnt within the GCSE syllabus. Secondly, the students actively take ownership over local issues. Thirdly, these students – like Dylan Wiggins – become active citizens and catalysts for change in the future of our cities. Within this workshop Year 10 students showed why they are assets to the subject and the school community. Well done!

#Where’s your next geography classroom?

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