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Schools Pandemic Recovery Summit - Bradford

25 March 2021

The Ambition of the Schools Pandemic Recovery Summit

We want to bring a group of secondary school students in Bradford together for a two-hour Pandemic Recovery Summit for three reasons:

  • To better understand the impact of the pandemic on young people in Bradford.
  • To explain more clearly the support young people need to those adults in Bradford who can do something in response.
  • To start something bigger by working with Citizens UK and becoming part of their West Yorkshire Mayoral Election Assembly in April. This will involve asking the mayoral candidates to agree to work with young people to implement their agenda for change.

Young people are going to lead the summit at each stage and be the loudest voices present.

Why this? Why now?

The pandemic has taken both an economic and a human toll on all of us in Bradford. And without the pandemic, we know that there is a lot more we can do together to support young people in Bradford to be successful.

Education in Bradford is rapidly improving. There are many initiatives in place to support what happens within schools. We want to explore how we can work together as students and teachers, alongside the Council and other partners, to support our communities and our families beyond the school gates, where doing so will have a direct impact on the prospects for young people in the city as we emerge from the pandemic.  

For example, Dixons Trinity recently ran a listening campaign to ask its families what more could be done to make their young people successful. There were some really clear and striking answers – in particular, families said they wanted more access to activities for young people outside school, to help with enrichment and childcare. So, Dixons Trinity is now looking at how it can offer more opportunities once the pandemic restrictions are lifted, in partnership with Bradford Youth Service.

What will the summit look like?

Schools will send at least one member of staff and up to eight student delegates to the Summit. It will take place online on 25th March starting at 10am and lasting for two hours. The summit will be jointly staff and student led, so young people have an opportunity to have their voices heard. The organising work is being done by a Steering Group of staff and students from Dixons, BDAT and Beckfoot Multi-Academy Trusts. At the summit, we will:

  • Hear testimony and input from each school about how young people and their families have been affected by the pandemic, and what they need to successfully recover and succeed.
  • Allow schools to work collaboratively to shape shared conclusions about issues that need to be addressed for young people in the City.
  • Give adults of influence, that we are inviting as witnesses, the opportunity to listen to the students so that they can respond to the young people’s concerns and insights in their day-to-day work.
  • Hear directly from a Panel of civic leaders who will respond to the Summit delegates on questions that have been raised and issues that they consider important for young people’s welfare.
  • Following the Summit, we hope to continue to work on its key themes with the Local Authority and others in the City who can influence change for young people.

Citizens UK and the Mayoral elections

Dixons Academy Trust has been working with Citizens UK to shape its contribution to civic responsibility work this year. Beckfoot, BDAT and Exceed are working on in similar ways. Citizens UK is a community organising charity that brings together schools, religious institutions, and other community groups to ask for changes on a local level in different cities across the UK including London, Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham. This could range from asking councils to install a new zebra crossing, to asking local employers to pay the living wage.  

Before local and national elections, Citizens UK holds assemblies to allow local people to ask election candidates to support their priorities. Leeds Citizens are organising an assembly on 29th April for the West Yorkshire Mayoral Candidates to commit to their agenda, and they have asked Bradford schools to be a part of this assembly to represent the interests of young people in Bradford. We want young people to be their own voice, so just as young people are playing a leading role in the Summit, they will also play the leading role in feeding into the Citizens UK assembly.  

If this is successful, we would like to explore establishing a Citizens Alliance in Bradford.

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