Sixth formers from an independent and a state school are helping pupils from six local primary schools to learn how to recognise, challenge and address issues that fuel gender inequality in society.
Twelve sixth form ambassadors from Bryanston School and The Blandford School in Dorset have just delivered a series of special discussion workshops for Year 6 pupils from primary schools in the local Blandford Schools’ Network.
The workshops were the focus of a Nurturing Equality Festival organised by the youth-led social enterprise, Bold Voices, as the culmination of its year-long gender equality education programme working with pupils at Bryanston. The festival has brought younger and older pupils together to develop awareness and skills that will help minimise the risk of gender inequality overshadowing the lives of the next generation.
Natasha Eeles, the founder of Bold Voices, said: “Gender inequality and gender-based violence have plagued society for far too long, but changing behaviours and attitudes is a progressive process and there is no doubt that the real solutions lie in the voices of the next generation.”
“Having worked closely with pupils at Bryanston for the past year we’ve seen their passion and engagement in every interaction. This pioneering festival is an excellent way to see and celebrate the power of that participation and student voice in a way that provides practical support for young children who are about to make such an important transition to secondary school.”
The workshops at the festival were led by facilitators from Bold Voices and the sixth form ambassadors. They encouraged open discussion around the challenges associated with gender inequality and the importance of taking personal responsibility to address the issues that can directly and indirectly normalise sexual prejudice, stereotypes and violence.
“All of the ambassadors benefited from the insight and guidance of Bold Voices in preparing for delivery of the festival workshops,” said Kyle Haines, a sixth former at The Blandford School.
“The day itself was a great success and, from the feedback we received, I know just how much our young participants appreciated a learning experience based on open discussions amongst themselves and with those of us who are approaching the end of our school years. There really was a sense of togetherness and a collective determination to make a difference.”
It is hoped that the success of the partnership between Bold Voices, Bryanston and Blandford School will act as a model for similar school partnerships around the country.