Withernsea High School

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  3. Withernsea High School launches student-led Board for Change

Withernsea High School launches student-led Board for Change

15 March 2024 (by admin)

A group of students are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping decisions that will impact their whole school community thanks to the establishment of a ‘Board for Change’ at Withernsea High School.

Comprising representatives from each of the school’s five year groups, and ambassadors from existing sub-groups focussing on Health, Careers, Active Travel and Sport, the board’s members will take an active role in the life of the school, working collectively to help make significant changes for the benefit of their peers.  

The formation of the Board for Change marks the latest evolution of ‘student voice’ at the school which, over the last eighteen months, has seen the introduction of ambassador roles to support various short-term projects and long-term initiatives, including the promotion of sustainable travel, positive mental and physical well-being, sporting opportunities and careers guidance.     

Overseeing the work of the board is Teacher of PE, Nick Richmond, who said: “For the past year and a half, our ambassadors have played a valuable role in leading the way with student voice, supporting at school events and helping to bring change in key areas across the school. These students are not only passionate about leading change in the areas they specialise in, they are also role models and a point of contact for fellow students – building an effective communication link between the student body and the staff.

“Under the banner of the Board for Change, our ambassadors will be influential in making decisions that will improve our school. They will formally meet with representatives from the school’s senior leadership team and governing body on a half-termly basis to share their progress and discuss wider school issues.”

The first board meeting took place on Wednesday, March 6. Prior to this, its members engaged in a day-long training session led by representatives from StreetGames, Active Withernsea and Active Humber. Exploring themes including inclusivity and community engagement, students also learned what it takes to make a good leader and how to be a positive role model.

Nick added: “The students were all really positive about the training session and I would like to thank the representatives from our partner organisations who helped to facilitate the day’s activities. The students said it helped to make them feel part of something bigger and it definitely instilled confidence into what they are doing.”

Making a return visit to the school ahead of the board’s first formal meeting, Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness, shared his words of advice and encouragement as part of a Q&A session with the students who are hoping to bring change to their school.

When asked how the board for change could make a noticeable difference to the school, and how the group should approach things, Graham said: “With politics, the hardest thing is to work out what the right thing to do is. Although that may sound obvious, it’s actually more complex than you think. You’ve got to think about the issue, research it and establish the facts to back it up, and then work out whether it’s right. Investigate; be open-minded; persist and be brave. Changing things by yourself is very difficult, but when working as part of a group you want to make sure that people are heard. Sometimes the person who stays the quietest might have the best ideas in the whole room, so try and encourage everyone to have a voice.”

Graham’s visit also coincided with the launch of National Careers Week – an annual celebration of careers guidance in schools with the aim of providing a focus to help support young people develop awareness and excitement about their future pathways.

Speaking to school Careers Leader, Viki Foster, Graham reaffirmed his support for young people in Holderness to ensure that they are afforded the best opportunities for post-16 success. Graham also shared his own career journey with the Board for Change members who were interested to learn about his route to becoming an MP.

Graham said: “Withernsea High School is doing a great job of showing our young people as many options as possible for the future. I was delighted to meet them for the start of National Careers Week to tell them about my own career journey, and it was a great pleasure to see some of their hardworking staff again. Viki Foster, the school’s Careers Leader, does a brilliant job to inspire the children and they are clearly engaged in the work she is doing.”

Viki added: “We are really grateful to Graham for his support of our careers programme and the long-term successes of our students. National Careers Week provides a great opportunity to highlight careers in school, giving prominence to some of the work that takes place on a weekly basis throughout the year. 

“With the formation of the Board for Change, we have a valuable support network which means that our careers ambassadors are not just two students working on their own – they will now have the collective support of the board to help implement change and further raise the profile of careers in school.”

As one of the key components of the newly formed Board for Change, the school’s Careers Ambassadors, Eliott Trewick and Elizabeth Pearson, both in Year 10, have already leant their support to a number of careers events where they have interacted with parents, carers, staff and students, helping to raise the profile of careers across the whole school community. 

Their ambassador roles have also seen them take the lead on helping to shape careers guidance in other schools as part of the Hull and East Yorkshire ‘Student Voice’ programme.

Commissioned by HEY (Hull and East Yorkshire) Careers Hub in partnership with The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC), the Student Voice programme was commissioned in the 2022/23 academic year, as a first-of-its-kind programme for the region, with the aim of capturing student views on careers education, information, advice and guidance within schools.

To celebrate the success of the pilot programme, a Student Voice Celebration Event was held at Hull’s Guildhall on Tuesday, March 12, where employers, careers leaders, parents and students were afforded the chance to discover key findings from the programme to date, as well as hearing from current students on the scheme about their vision for careers education in schools.

Explaining more about the Student Voice, Viki Foster said: “Our Careers Ambassadors, Eliott and Elizabeth, have worked incredibly hard to research what students would like to see more of on the school’s careers programme.

“Along with students from ten other schools across the region, our ambassadors presented their findings at the Student Voice Celebration Event in front of councillors and representatives from businesses and careers support networks. The student feedback was really well received by all who attended and will be used by local businesses and other organisations to help shape careers provision in schools to address the needs of all learners.”

Lucy Gray, Careers Hub Project Manager, added: “Student Voice has reinforced some of our initial thoughts, whilst also unearthing new findings. Students have had the space to be honest and challenge what their school careers programmes could be. They have collaborated with peers and students from other settings to consider what is important to them and what they would like to see in the future. The findings of this project will be compiled in a final report that will be shared with senior stakeholders and employers.”

Reflecting on their ambassador work, Eliott said: “I’ve really enjoyed being part of the Student Voice. I have learnt more about careers and apprenticeships and I’m really proud to be helping shape careers guidance. My favourite part so far has been the research part of the project.”. While Elizabeth added: “I’ve also enjoyed the project – it’s been really interesting, and I hope to be able to apply what I’ve learnt to my own careers journey while helping others on theirs.”


ABOVE: Local MP Graham Stuart with the members of Withernsea High School’s Board for Change.

ABOVE: Graham shared his own careers journey with members of the Board for Change ahead of National Careers Week. He also held a Q&A where board members quizzed him on how they should approach their work in school.

ABOVE: Graham Stuart with school Careers Leader, Viki Foster.

ABOVE: Careers Ambassadors and Board for Change members Elizabeth Pearson and Eliott Trewick pictured at the Guildhall, Hull, where they attend the Student Voice Celebration. 

ABOVE: WHS Careers Ambassadors Elizabeth and Eliott joined peers from ten other schools to present their careers research findings to guests at the Student Voice Celebration Event. 


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