Sexual Health Week: Getting the information we need

Sexual Health Week 2020: Getting the information we need Sexual health week is run by #iwill partner Brook, the UK's leading sexual health and wellbeing charity for young people. This week is focused on "Get your RSE in gear!", all about making sure young people are getting the quality sexual health and relationships education they need. In our feature for #SHW20, we share reflections from #iwill Ambassador Joana on current RSE provision, as well as the latest updates to the government's social distancing guidance for young people in England.  Why are young people, particularly girls and young women, still so let down by sex ed? "Sexual health is a taboo subject. In schools, we are taught the barebones of reproduction, sexual health and menstruation. In my experience, boys and men are still incredibly uncomfortable at any mention of the word ‘period’, and I would be lying if I hadn’t had conversations with a number of women explaining to them that condoms are to prevent STDs as much as they are for contraception. In failing to teach young adults - most of whom inevitably will at some point get tangled up in the world of sexual relationships (whether that be discovering they do or don’t enjoy them) - we are relying on them to magically teach themselves this essential knowledge, and then blaming them when things go wrong. This is much like the conversation we have seen around coronavirus, where young people are [...]

A Perspective from a 15 Year Old

A perspective from a 15 year old Rebecca, Age 15, BiteBack Youth Board Member At 15 years old, the 20th of March 2020 was my last day in secondary education; almost 100 days early. The school doors were shut that night as I along with the rest of the nations year 11s and year 13s were left with our vital qualifications (GCSEs and A-levels) up in the air and yet despite an atmosphere of tension frustration and fear looming over many, it was ultimately a unanimously accepted decision that putting our health and the health of others first was the only choice that could have been made. On that day we trusted our government with the course of our lives because each one of us understood the importance of putting health first and the urgency that was needed to keep the country safe. Now, weeks on and we have all begun asking ourselves, what legacy do we want to leave on this world? Read More

Categories: Be Heard, Coronavirus Views, Education|

Re-examining exams for a new normal: Mortal Fools

A blog from Mortal Fools: Is our education system 'Relentless'? Mortal Fools is a multi award-winning theatre, drama and creative learning charity working with young people across the North. In recent months Mortal Fools have reinvented their entire programme of work with young people and supporting them through the pandemic. Their new show Relentless, supported by the #iwill Fund, unfortunately has had its tour cancelled by the the Covid-19 pandemic. The show focuses on what it means to be growing up and getting by in a chaotic new decade; young people’s fears, wants, hopes and voices laid bare, accompanied by a soundtrack worthy of your most-played Spotify top spot. In this blog, a young person from Mortal Fools shares their perspectives on the role of education. They have requested to remain anonymous. A Mortal Fools Panel - What could UK education look like post-pandemic? Hear young people and staff from Mortal Fools share their perspectives on how we can reshape the education system. Why should one exam, or one bad day determine the rest of my life? I am an 18 year old young company within Mortal Fools’  ‘Ensemble’ group. With Mortal Fools I have the opportunity to produce original theatre work collaborating with fellow young people around themes and issues important to our generation today.  Our work tours across the North to theatre venues and we get to connect with other [...]

Categories: Be Heard, Education|

Class of Covid-19 – What challenges do we face?

The challenges faced by the Class of Covid-19 #iwill Ambassador Iqra, 21, speaks to other young people about the support they have received - or not - from their schools since lockdown started. In anticipation of a UK-wide lockdown, schools, colleges, and universities transformed the way lessons are conducted overnight. Email inboxes and parents’ phones were bombarded with plans to implement remote lessons. For many, exams were cancelled until further notice. Others continued revising in the midst of a pandemic. Perhaps due to the speed of change within the pandemic, as these decisions were made few institutions consulted their students. I (virtually!) sat down with the other #iwill Ambassadors to discuss how these changes have impacted students. What changes have been implemented in the education system? The changes resulting from COVID 19 differ depending on one’s stage of education. This year’s A-Level and GCSE students have seen all exams and lessons cancelled. Instead, teachers have predicted student’s final grades, but even these have then been adjusted based on a school's historic performance. Meanwhile, for University students assessments have been made remote (and a handful of universities have made these optional). Although schools are gradually being opened, plans to ensure all primary pupils in England are back before the end of term have been dropped. Whilst some institutions have factored in the pandemic when awarding grades, others have been less understanding. For example, for #iwill Ambassador Amelia, she feels that her university final year marks won’t reflect the [...]

Categories: Be Heard, Education|

The greatest educational inequality is the loss of hope

The greatest inequality in education is the loss of hope #iwill Ambassador Adam explores how schools, and society, must adapt to support the students who have been let down during the pandemic. In the many months since the first closures of schools in the UK, much has changed. For some, vast online systems of integrated, interactive learning rose to meet the challenge. Innovation has shown us the demonstrable strength of a community when united towards one goal - our future generation. For others, the present and future appeared bleak. No systems. No learning. Just them, hopefully a laptop, maybe some wifi, and a google classroom. This resource gap made an already existing inequality even more apparent: 60% of private schools in affluent areas have access to online learning, compared to 23% from deprived state schools.  The purpose of education is a diverse one, but a strong contender would certainly be around developing active citizens, with the character strengths and skills to enter the wider world and workplace. It should stand with no controversy, then, to claim that any education must first help the most disadvantaged. It is the most disadvantaged that are vulnerable to losing self-belief and resilience when faced with an almost insurmountable hill to climb. It is the most disadvantaged that stand alone in freely navigating the world of further education and work. In a pandemic, these challenges are not only realised but made worse. Families that already struggled have less money, and children [...]

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