Festival of Ideas 2019 - The Discovery Academy

On Thursday 28th February, schools from Stoke-on-Trent were brought together at The Discovery Academy, for Franklin Scholars’ Festival of Ideas. We were delighted to be joined by Birches Head Academy, St Thomas More Catholic Academy, and Thistley Hough Academy, as well as the Franklin Scholars from St Peter’s Academy and of course, our hosts.

70% of students feel more excited about helping others in the future.

Attendees sought to tackle complex social issues facing their community, such as the impact of elderly loneliness, gender inequality in STEM subjects, teenage mental health, disenfranchised young voters and waste in schools.

100% of students felt they had developed useful skills such as public speaking and communication.

Following a public speaking workshop, each school was given the chance to persuade our Dragons Den panel that their solution was the best. All in a bid to win a share of the £200 prize fund.

100% of staff are going back to school with fresh ideas and / or enthusiasm.

Our dragons on the day - Adrian Hurst (Head of Community at Stoke City F.C.), David Brandrick (SMSC Lead for the Alpha Academies Trust), and Olly Offord (Franklin Scholars Programme Director) – had a tough decision to make, with each idea showing great promise. First place was eventually awarded to students from St Peter’s Academy, for their afternoon tea event for the local elderly community, staffed by young people to provide valuable work experience as well.

Here are some pictures from the day …

Festival of Ideas 2018 - St Clement Danes School

Just before Easter, students from 5 schools in the Hertfordshire area came together at St Clement Danes School for a day of community-focused collaboration and problem-solving. Students tackled challenges ranging from encouraging more girls into STEM subjects and careers, to elderly isolation. After a public speaking workshop, participants then pitched their ideas to a Dragon's Den-style panel, who awarded development cash prizes to those that had the most potential.

The overall winners were students from Rickmansworth School with their elegant plan for "Memory Mornings" - coffee mornings hosted at the school for the local elderly population to share memories and interact with the younger generation and each other.

Here are some pictures from the day... 

What the attendees thought...

  • The day was "amazing" and "a rollercoaster";
  • Students left feeling "proud", "buzzing", and "more confident";
  • 100% of teachers enjoyed the event and agreed or strongly agreed that students had developed practical skills;
  • Students reported a 79%increase in their self-efficacy and a 68% increase in their confidence communicating with new people.

#WeDayUK: “I feel strongly that you are the most powerful generation in the whole of human history. Use your power to create the world you want to live in.”

“I feel strongly that you are the most powerful generation in the whole of human history. Use your power to create the world you want to live in.” - Professor Muhammad Yunus

Last Thursday we were lucky enough to be a part of the second ever We Day UK, and what a day it was.

Not one of the 12,000 schoolchildren packed into Wembley Arena had bought a ticket. Each and every one of them had earned it through doing good to others - which is why some Franklin Scholars from Burlington Danes Academy were privileged to be in the audience.

Proclaimed “the coolest classroom in the world” - it probably was. A whole day dedicated to not just celebrating the good that our young people have done in their communities and beyond, but also hearing and learning from some of the most truly inspiring speakers, social entrepreneurs, activists and changemakers that the world has to offer.

Here are just a few of our highlights:

- The inimitable Martin Sheen making a supremely powerful call-to-action - “While acting is what I do for a living, activism is what I do to stay alive. We are all responsible for each other and the world. We make the rules that govern our hearts and minds. My fondest wish for each and every one of you is that you will find something in your life worth fighting for.”

- Learning about the ingenious Solarbox- transforming disused telephone boxes into free solar-powered charging points for phones - and BioBean- collecting waste coffee grounds and recycling them into advanced biofuels.

- Andy Barrow telling us about how he used to think it was all about him. And how empowering it was when he realised it wasn’t.

- Bars and Melody - nuff said.

“I learned that no matter what age you are, you can make a change. All of the speakers - of different ages, different backgrounds, and with different stories - were directed at one thing: change. There are no restrictions within change!!!” - Salwa, Y10 Franklin Scholar, Burlington Danes Academy

“It was a fun way to find ideas about helping other people while helping yourself too. My favourite speaker was Kweku Mandela. He had a strong relationship with someone very inspirational and he learned how to take his grandfather’s influence forward into his own life and the lives of others.” - Zak, Y10 Franklin Scholar, Burlington Danes Academy

A big thank you goes out to our founding partners, Big Change, who are also founding partners of We Day and were our wonderful hosts for the day.

Franklin Scholar, 15-year old Irene Kolawole, is named as an #iwill ambassador for Step Up To Serve

We are very proud to reveal that Irene, one of our inaugural cohort of Franklin Scholars at Langdon Academy, has been named as an #iwill ambassador, as part of the Step Up To Serve campaign for youth social action.

Read about how and why here.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate not just Irene, but all her fellow Franklin Scholars, for the really important work that they have done and continue to do in their schools around the country.