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News Stepping through the looking glass for NSPCC

Nottingham Girls’ High School has raised over £1,000, stepping ‘through the looking glass’ with its esteemed alumna Jenny Farr MBE. The school held a Mad Hatter style tea party as part of a coffee morning campaign to mark 125 Years of NSPCC East Midlands.

Jenny, President of the Nottingham branch of the NSPCC, attended the festivities at her old school, which included Alice in Wonderland themed fancy dress, bake sales, tea parties and an art competition. Nottingham Girls’ High School, which is celebrating its 140th anniversary year, is known for its charity work and raised almost £15,000 for 17 local charities during the 2014/2015 academic year.

Sue Gorham, Head, comments on the fundraising efforts of her students: “Our girls make positive contributions to the wider community and we have a long tradition of supporting local and national charities. Giving back is an important part of our ethos. It’s fantastic to see how our students inspire each other, coming up with creative ways to raise money as well as volunteering their own time. I’m incredibly proud of all of their efforts and to see them work with Jenny for such an important cause. ”

Earlier this year, Jenny launched a campaign asking people across Nottingham to organise one of 125 coffee mornings to celebrate 125 years of the NSPCC in the city and raise vital funds.

Nottingham Girls’ High School initially became involved with the fundraising efforts through its participation in The Big Draw, the world’s biggest drawing festival, taking place throughout October. In line with this year’s theme ‘Every Drawing Tells a Story’ Nottingham Girls’ High School chose Alice in Wonderland as their theme for entries and the school arranged its Mad Hatter tea party.

Jenny adds: “It makes me proud to come from a school that dedicates so much effort and valuable support for charities and whose students have a genuine passion for getting involved. To see how hard the girls have worked for the NSPCC - a charity so important to me - warms the heart. The event was a huge success and everyone had fun in the process - the costumes and artwork were fantastic!”

Manchester Islamic High School for Girls is first Islamic school in the North West to offer Duke of Edinburgh Award

Manchester Islamic High School for Girls (MIHSG) has seen over 50 girls achieve their Bronze Awards since it began the programme. The single sex, faith school is the first Islamic school in the North West to offer the award, and is keen to encourage other faith schools to follow suit. Pupils at MIHSG start their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) in year ten and, in the last two years, at least half of the year group have taken part. Teacher, Sue Hughes was tasked with introducing DofE, and, as a Bronze and Silver Award holder herself, she was keen to give the pupils the same opportunity she had been given.

Ms Hughes said: “Manchester Islamic High School for Girls is dedicated to developing its pupils as individuals so that not only are they equipped with academic qualifications when they leave but they have learnt valuable life skills that support them into their future. From my own experience, I knew that this is exactly what the DofE offers young people - an opportunity to grow and discover.

“DofE has been a completely new challenge for the girls and there were times when they felt totally out of their comfort zone and had to adapt to changing situations. As a result, they have grown in confidence, learnt to work as part of a team and developed their communication and leadership skills. All of our pupils’ DofE experiences have taught them valuable skills and life lessons that will have a positive impact on their lives as they move onto college, university and eventually the working


world, whether that’s dedicating time in the local soup kitchen, coaching younger years in netball or showing commitment to reach an end goal.” The school was careful to ensure that pupils did not face faith or cultural barriers to participating in DofE. Ms Hughes said: “When I was asked to introduce DofE into the school, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but we were well supported by the local DofE office and found that it was actually really easy to integrate into school life. For the Expedition section we worked with one of the DofE’s Approved Activity Providers, who helped ensure that the expedition was offered in an environment that was fitting with our pupils’ beliefs and culture, with all female instructors and single sex camping. We’ve found that DofE programmes are very flexible and so any barriers, whether cultural or physical, can be overcome.”

Speaking about her personal experience of being a DofE Leader, she said: “I’ve loved watching some truly inspiring transformations in our pupils. They are often uncertain at the beginning and some are convinced that DofE is not for them but, by the time they finish, you can see the change in their confidence and attitudes. They talk about DofE being one of the most amazing experiences they’ve done and, for me as a teacher, you don’t get much more satisfaction and reward than that.” November 2015

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