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Colmers Sixth Form students: ready to take social action! (click to enlarge)

From Louise at UpRising:

Students from Colmers Sixth Form [in Rednal] have created digital Social Action Projects this week, designing campaigns to tackle issues they care about.  

With support of the charity UpRising leadership, the young adults discussed topics ranging from poverty in Birmingham through to deforestation, and thought about how they could make positive change.

Over the course of a couple of days, groups looked into symptoms and causes of their issue, mapped stakeholders, wrote action plans and designed digital campaigns.  Wednesday morning saw the groups present their work to staff and the Sixth Form, sparking some great debates around campaigns they really should be proud of!

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One group looked at the rise in ‘pro-anorexia’ websites and Instagram accounts, with a vision to remove as many of these as possible, while promoting better education around healthy eating to reduce the number of eating disorders.  Their campaign will start with a ‘pro-anorexia’ Twitter debate to help research and identify supporters, moving to discussions with curriculum staff in September around education on such issues.

School trips were tackled by another group, with students concerned that trips have been significantly reduced in recent years.  While the group recognised that funding and health and safety have to be accounted for, they also demonstrated the educational and motivational benefits of school outings.  The group will create an online petition to circulate among students, asking to meet with the headteacher to find out why trips have been reduced and how students can support bringing them back.

The third group tackled the issue of unsafe sex among teens, and the resulting increase in abortion rates.  They showed that although sexual health clinics are available in some areas, these are not promoted enough in school and young adults don’t know where to get support and advice.  Through creating a Facebook page and Instagram account, they will advertise available clinics and share messages about safe sex.  They will also approach a local Councillor to discuss gaps in provision of sexual health clinics, and ask for support to make services widely available.

Finally, support for victims of bullying in school was discussed by the final group.  They identified a gap in support for students who might be being bullied, and decided to create an anonymous survey to all students investigating instances of bullying, or awareness of it, and advertising peer-led drop in sessions for support – creating an intermediate step for pupils who may not wish to speak to teachers.  Fingers crossed this could be in place for the new school term!

Overall, the groups had a great time and learnt some really practical skills they can apply to A-Levels and beyond – watch this space for updates on their campaign progress!

If anyone would like any information on the free workshops, get in touch with Louise at UpRising – louise.belsom@uprising.org.uk

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click to enlarge

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