Year 6 pupils – Jessica, Hannah, Orlaith, Sophia and Florence – were delighted to celebrate their graduation from this year’s United Learning student leadership programme, after taking part in a global social action initiative that included schools as far away as Thailand. With a local focus, the girls worked with the Senior School Warmhub and also undertook litter picks at the local dipping pond in Claremont Gardens, “aiming at cleaning and improving the area there to improve the space for families” (Jessica). The girls showed huge determination in these efforts and often battled the weather during the winter months, always cheerful and always working together. Their whole-school assembly has now brought the rest of the Girls’ Prep into the project, inspiring us to keep our own Surbiton Spaces Sparkling nearer to home with Reception B winning the first of the weekly competitions. The project has also afforded the chance to “develop public speaking skills so that both you and the audience can enjoy your performance” (Hannah) and found the “GEEP (gesture, eye contact, emotional, pause) technique really helped our confidence” (Orlaith).
The graduation took place at St Anne’s College, Oxford – a co-educational college since 1950, with an interesting history of being one of the first colleges to offer women the chance to not only read a subject but sit exams and qualify. The girls found their day huge fun, taking part in a Classics lecture and quiz. They relished the chance to “dissect the pictures on the Greek vases, understanding that the scene was part of a story and looking for clues to make connections to the myth” (Sophia). Given a tour by a current pupil, they learnt that “university gives you the chance to expand your studies but not to forget it is also about meeting new friends and trying new things” (Florence). Listening to all the other teams summarise their own social action project, the girls also had a valuable chance to discuss current challenges that many people face: simply having enough to eat, new shoes when they are needed, or a safe place to live. We are very grateful for the chance to take part in such a rewarding project and look forward to carrying on with our initiatives next term.
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