St Michael’s High School praised for innovative 21st Century Child Programme

St Michael’s Church of England High School Student Voice recently showcased its 21st Century Child Programme at the Schools and Academies Show 2022 Safeguarding and Wellbeing Stage in London. Students, aged 13-17 years old

from the Rowley Regis school, spoke in front of a group of over 60 headteachers and school leaders, giving a brief insight into the interactive programme and what it means to be a 21st Century Child. The students highlighted how the programme is a student-led initiative which has been embedded into the school day and which allows students to take control of their learning by identifying topics important to them.

The programme consists of consultation and the development and delivery of whole school events open to both students and families. The events provide both children and families with the opportunity to learn about a range of issues from mental health to knife crime and also find out where to access support. Christina Handy-Rivett, Headteacher and Kerry Whitehouse, School Engagement Development Manager were able to give an insight in to the positive impacts the programme had brought to their students and why this had been embedded in the daily life of the school.

The feedback from the audience was very positive and the school has since been contacted by other schools to share best practice. Christina said: “St Michael's is very proud of all our student-led initiatives. It is imperative that students are given a voice and are supported to help inform and shape events for our families and local community. Students' confidence, enthusiasm and passion for leading wellbeing initiatives and events is infectious; they act as the catalyst for change that we hope to see in society.”

Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member Adults, Social Care and Health, said: “I never fail to be impressed by St. Michaels and their 21st Century Child Programme as children and young people’s participation is a key strategic priority for the council and our partners. In particular,

I love seeing how the young people tackle some really big issues with sensitivity, originality and a powerful compassion that sets an example for us all. . “It’s a not a surprise that others schools across the country are wanting to learn from them!”

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