On Friday 20th May we held our inaugural MAT Student Leadership Conference.
Student Leaders in Years 7 through 10 from Sarah Bonnell, Rokeby and Lister assembled for a programme of team-building exercises and to exchange ideas about the shared future in the Trust. The first of its kind, the leadership conference was organised by the elected School Councils from each of the schools and centred on their future collaboration under the NCST.
Year 8 student Marcel Zielonka, 13, from Rokeby School, said:
"We can collaborate on ideas to improve our schools. We could see how they practice their subjects, and see their techniques.”
15-year-old Dalib Omer, also from Rokeby, said:
"We have the chance to discuss with other schools, take ideas, and make our own better. Being in a trust with the others will be great for all of us. All of our schools would benefit.”
Siobhan Farrell, 13, from Sarah Bonnell School, said the Conference was an example of what the new Trust could achieve:
"I think it's great because you get to communicate with people from different schools, and find out what life is like for kids at the other schools – and we can then use that to benefit us and our school. We can learn from their strengths and weaknesses.”
Siobhan and her friend Karimah Khanum, 15, who both go to Sarah Bonnell, said what they most looked forward to after joining together in a Trust, which was to: “Open it up to the Borough to help our community out and do something for the youth”. At times they feel the youth are often “generalised as troublemakers”.
Faris Qureshi, 12, from Lister Community School, said:
“It’s really helpful that we can all talk to each other, and share ideas that another school might not have had.”
The keynote speech was given by Mark Leftly, the former deputy political editor at The Independent on Sunday who now writes for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and TIME magazine.
Mark Leftly said:
“It was wonderful to see students from the three local schools coming together to share ideas about their partnership going forward. The event was an example of the potential that formal collaboration has for the benefit of students, and I fully support their aim of working more closely together as an academy trust. The students are clearly a real asset to their community, and their practice of collaboration should be commended.”
Sarah Jacobs, headteacher at Sarah Bonnell School, said:
“It’s been an incredible experience to witness the student leadership from all three schools come together to explore what collaboration means to them. We have occasionally had students visiting the other schools for events, but this is the first time we have all come together to share our thoughts and hopes. All three schools have such strong student leadership, and I can’t wait to hear their ideas for how we can all learn from each other and improve even more.”