Young People Learning & Growing Together
Our long-term ambition is that young people in Walsall have diverse friendships and understanding and acceptance of all. They have the confidence and aspiration to fulfil their potential and are empowered to take social action and make a positive difference in Walsall.
To achieve this ambition, we must ensure all children are given opportunities to meet and form friendships with people from different ethnic, religious or socioeconomic groups. Children’s views are shaped in their formative years and so we must teach them about different cultures and to respect each other’s views and opinions, so they have understanding and tolerance.
We must ensure that within and outside of the school community, children are encouraged to have high aspirations and are given opportunities to develop their self-confidence and skills.
What will we do?
We will expand the School Linking Programme in Walsall. Building on the success of the pilot, the School Linking Programme will be expanded to include 20 additional schools and to better engage parents. It will conclude with a celebration event with parents and teachers to reflect on their journey. We will work with arts providers to deliver an annual borough-wide school arts competition called “what does integration mean to me?” Work produced will be
exhibited throughout the borough and will provide an opportunity for parents and communities to view and discuss the artwork.
We will support Walsall schools to become ‘UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools’. Rights Respecting Schools will be supported to create safe and inspiring places to learn, where children’s rights are respected, their talents are nurtured, and they are able to thrive. It will support young people to increase their understanding of difference and diversity and become active citizens within their communities. We will examine ways to increase integration through the education sector.
We will invite relevant stakeholders from local schools, Walsall Council and the Department for Education to consider opportunities to support integration, including examining school admissions policies, marketing and outreach work that provides opportunities for children of different backgrounds to be educated or socialise together.
We will encourage and support young people from different backgrounds to build confidence, raise aspirations and access opportunities for meaningful social integration. This will be achieved through working with uniformed youth groups, The Prince’s Trust and The Challenge as well as increasing take up of opportunities such as the National Citizen Service.
Building on the existing infrastructure provided by ‘Walsall Youth in Unity’ and ‘One Voice’ Forum, we will establish opportunities to give our young people from different backgrounds, abilities and lifestyles a meaningful voice where their views can be heard and their ideas implemented. With our support we can enable them to create the vision that takes ‘Walsall for All’ into the next generation.
What does this mean for the people of Walsall?
Short term results:
Through school involvement, young people will have the opportunity to integrate with those from different backgrounds and to reflect upon their own identity and beliefs, as well as those of others.
Parents will have an increased understanding of the benefits of our partnership with schools and participate in end-of-year events with other parents from different backgrounds.
More Walsall schools will be awarded ‘Rights Respecting Schools’ status from UNICEF – empowering young people to be aware of their rights, to become active citizens and develop pupils’ acceptance of difference and diversity.
Young people have access to exciting opportunities resulting in increased self-confidence, higher aspirations and wider opportunities for meaningful social integration with others.
Young people will develop increased cultural awareness, feel empowered and have a voice to make positive change in the community on the community cohesion agenda.
Long term results:
We gain a better understanding of views of
young people and barriers to integration.
Students and parents have more mixed social
groups and build networks with others from
Children, teachers and parents embrace
diversity and overcome prejudices which often
result in bullying and discrimination.
Schools have the necessary tools and
resources, including through the ‘Rights
Respecting Schools’ award, to support
integration and celebrate diversity and long term
system changes are considered.
Young people have raised aspirations, better
understanding of integration issues, and are
empowered to make a positive difference in Walsall.