Five years at Franklin Scholars: Looking back on the early years!

Now that Franklin Scholars has got more than half a decade under its belt, we’ve accumulated quite a few moments that still keep us smiling, years later. From individual moments with students who have learned how to mentor a peer, to a successful Festival of Ideas, the ‘moments that keep us going’ span almost every one of our partner schools. As we move into another year - sure to be full of fantastic new memories - we look back at some of our favourites:

1. When the US Ambassador visited our Franklin Scholars schools!

Back in spring 2014, Franklin Scholars organised two visits for the US Ambassador to visit the Brentford School for Girls and Thomas Tallis School. In these visits, the Ambassador fielded thought-provoking questions from students, with one Brentford Student saying, “it was good to hear the ambassador speak and the fact that viewpoints were shared and echoed was enjoyable and informative.” At the Brentford School, two Franklin Scholars were even awarded special US Embassy coins to recognise their work with the Franklin Scholars programme (the coin being traditionally awarded by Ambassadors to their guests). So cool!

2. Piloting the Junior Franklin Scholars Programme!

Here at Franklin Scholars, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to bring our peer mentoring model to new groups of students. In 2015-16, we piloted the Junior Franklin Scholars program where Year 8 students were selected to support Primary students in Year 3 and 4. Meeting every Wednesday lunch time, the programme helped students in Year 3 and 4 to develop their confidence and social awareness, as well as support their literacy skills. Following the completion of the program, 75% of Junior Franklin Scholars reported enjoying team work more while 67% were more confident in developing their own ideas.

Looking forward to 2019, we are re-visiting the idea of working with primary schools. Why? Because we believe that a strong foundation for emotional and social skills development can never start too early! Interested? Contact us!

3. Franklin Scholars recognised as #iwill ambassadors!

In 2014 and 2015, two Franklin Scholars were recognised as #iwill ambassadors, which now number 250 young ambassadors working to promote youth social action. Speaking about her time with Franklin Scholars, and after being given the opportunity to meet HRH Prince Charles, one of our former Scholars said, “When I heard Franklin Scholars were looking for mentors for Year 7 at my school, I thought about how at that age I’d have appreciated the support of an older student, so I volunteered to help. It’s honestly been an amazing experience.” One of our #iwill ambassadors was even in the news!

4. Partner school wins a Pupil Premium Award for work with Franklin Scholars

In 2015, we were thrilled to find out that the Brentford School for Girls won a Pupil Premium Award for their work with us and with the Brilliant Club! Whenever we work with a school, we always look to create a meaningful partnership with the school, working to help them meet their targets for student progress. So of course we are always thrilled when our schools are recognised for going above-and-beyond!

5. A visit by Princess Beatrice to one of our first partner schools!

In 2014, Princess Beatrice visited one of our first partner schools, to learn more about our programme! As reported in the news, Sam and Holly Branson as well as Noah Devereux accompanied Princess Beatrice during the school visit as part of their work for Big Change.

At the time, Sam and Noah said: “We were completely bowled over by the energy and enthusiasm of the Franklin Scholars. Each question we were faced during the Q&A was considered and relevant and every one of the students demonstrated a real understanding of Life Skills and why they are so important as they questioned us on teamwork, resilience and perseverance.”