This term Year 7 participated in their first Citizenship Day at Leeds East Academy, where they welcomed Human Utopia to the school. Human Utopia work with young people to make positive changes, whilst helping them to reach their full potential in life.
Following a very energetic entrance from the key speakers of Human Utopia, the morning session began with a frank and open discussion of Year 7's emotions. This session focused on looking into personal identity and self reflection, in line with the Social Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) within Leeds East Academy's PSHE framework.
Students took a lot of inspiration from this session. Before they went for their break, a number of students felt confident enough to stand in front of their peers and share their emotions with the year group. The pupils who spoke had the courage to explain that they struggle with or may have been involved in bullying in the past (SMSC – Saying no to racism and bullying) and allowed the other pupils in the audience to reflect on their behaviour, relationships within the year group and their own personal identity.
Mr Hart, Foundation School Leader, said: "When break time arrived the number of students who went to comfort each other and form new friendships was incredible to witness as the Foundation School Leader."
In the afternoon, the workshop focused on respecting others and working in teams, which links to both Modern British Values and Personal Learning and Thinking Skills. The pupils were all mixed out of usual friendship groups in the ‘comfort zone’, to challenge themselves to communicate and build relationships with others. Students began to value the differences between themselves and their peers, and demonstrated empathy towards one another.
Mr Hart adds: "Human Utopia detailed to me after the day was complete that our Year 7 cohort was the nicest year group that they have had the chance to work with in comparison to any school across the country. Year 7 should feel a real sense of achievement and pride for how they conducted themselves during the CT Day as they will benefit greatly from the learning that took place. 97% of the Year 7 cohort, in their feedback, revealed that they thought the session was good or outstanding."
Ms Mumby, who coordinates the CT Day, reflected: "Human Utopia is always a very emotional process for our students and staff. Year 7 were talking about very personal experiences and we saw some tears at break time. What makes me so proud of our students is their confidence and honesty in being able to express themselves in this way, as well as providing support to each other as part of that process.”
For more details about Human Utopia and the work they do with young people, visit their website here.