Powerful pupils receive ‘Sapphire’ Award from University

Date 6.07.2018

Pupils from Greenfields Primary School in Kettering have proved they are Changemakers by running a wellbeing scheme within the school community, and out in a day centre for the elderly in Kettering.

The nine children, ranging from age seven to 11, visited the University of Northampton on Wednesday 4 July, along with their teachers and parents, and were presented with the Sapphire Changemaker Student Award.

After identifying that some pupils in the school were not attending and getting the best possible education from their lessons, the Changemaker pupil team came up with a series of ideas to motivate other pupils and boost school attendance.

Keren, who’s nearly 11, said: “We wanted to work on a wellbeing project, so on Tuesday afternoons we started to run lots of different events, everything from cupcake making to breathing exercises and meditation. It’s important to have more people in school so they don’t miss out learning. When I was taking may SATs I did the breathing exercises and it calmed me down.”

The Changemaker Student Awards form part of the University’s commitment as an Askoka U Changemaker Campus to work with, celebrate and actively engage local schoolchildren in social change. The ‘Sapphire’ award was presented by Chetak Nangare, a PhD student at the University of Northampton, who taught the pupils meditation and breathing techniques at the start of their project. Chetak was assisted by some four legged friends from the Pets as Therapy Dogs scheme as he gave out the awards.

Hannah Shrive, Inclusions Assistant at Greenfields Primary School, part of the David Ross Education Trust, said: “Working on the Changemaker Student Award has had a ripple effect across the whole school, the mindfulness sessions for pupils and parents has created more engagement with school.

“Working with the day centre and the elderly has been great for the children, they’ve found it interesting and it has given some a self-esteem boost.

“This project has been a real success and we will continue to run this over the coming year, involving other children from across the school.

Rowena Panter, Changemaker Hub Co-ordinator, at the University of Northampton, said “I’m very proud of the way these young Changemakers have identified a situation that they wanted change and have worked hard to tackle it in school.”