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Red Kite Learning Trust


Youth Board Update - March 2024

Posted 21st March 2024

Keen to learn from our young people, to give them a voice and an opportunity to help shape the future of our Trust, last year we set up our Red Kite Youth Board. This board comprises two representatives from each of our schools, with a Chair for Primaries and a Chair for Secondaries.
Ideas and views are shared with the Trustees and Leaders in our Trust, influencing what we do and how we work together as a community.

On 11 March 2024, our Youth Board met at Meadowfield Primary School, with our Trust Chair of Trustees, Mr Chris Tully, and Director of Primary Education, Ms Amanda Thornton Jones, in attendance. Guest speakers at the meeting were Mrs Ullyart, the Green Team Lead at Meadowfield Primary School, Mr Ryder, Director of Sport at Harrogate Grammar School, and Mrs Fretwell, teacher and Senior Wellbeing Lead at Oatlands Junior School.


Ms Thornton Jones opened the meeting and welcomed everyone before handing over to Blake and Nina, the Youth Board Co-Chairs, who led the meeting.

Sustainability Update and Tour of Meadowfield Primary

Continuing with the Youth Board's focus on sustainability, students were invited to share what progress their school had made since the last meeting. Mrs Ullyart from Meadowfield Primary School then spoke about all the exciting and creative sustainability projects her Green Team have been working on.

The Youth Board learned about 'Plastic Transition' and how Meadowfield pupils have used plastic waste creatively around their school. The pupils have made eco bricks from bottles filled with rubbish to build playground benches and planters, and they have transformed rubbish into some fantastic artwork, including a full sized collage of a footballer, and made bottle bottom poppies in recognition of Remembrance Sunday.  They have even hosted a 'Plastic Party' and invited pupils and their families.

More information about Meadowfield's Plastic Transition endeavours can be read here.

Meadowfield - Mrs Ullyart, Green Team and Mrs Stout - 2023

Mrs Ullyart explained that the school had worked with Leeds Art College, who had come up with a lot of ideas, including a giant bottle-ometer, which was located in the reception area, with a target of making 1,000 ecobricks. This bottle-ometer is now being made available to other schools in our Trust should they wish to implement a similar initiative.

Members of the Meadowfield Primary Green Team went on to talk about other sustainability initiatives the school has implemented, such as:

  • Litter Picking - funds raised from icecream sales were used to buy litter picking equipment and now 'The Wombles Team' can be seen regularly out and about clearing litter from the school grounds.
  • Big Battery Hunt - pupils were encouraged to bring in used batteries from home and the class who collected the most were rewarded with a pizza disco!
  • Uniform Giveaways - twice a year, recycled, donated, washed, clean and even brand-new items of school uniform and PE kits are collected and offered to families for free. The school has also started to offer coats and shoes which have been donated to school by children and staff, which they sell for £3 or two for £5.
  • Bottle Top Art - being creative with colourful bottle tops that have been collected
  • The Great Book Giveaway - pupils had brought in so many books to giveaway that an event was held so that everyone was able to receive a donated book within the school.
  • Reggie The Dog Visits- as part of their food waste initiative, and the reduction of waste meat, in particular, pupils were asked once or twice a week to swap their meat meal to a vegetarian one. The class who chose the highest number of vegetarian meals in a week, receive a visit from Reggie The Dog who comes along to their class for the week.
  • Chickens - The Green Team helps to look after the school’s chickens by cleaning out their coop and scooping the poop! The shavings, used bedding and straw are all composted and shredded paper is used for the chickens’ bedding, to save buying hay. The chicken poop is sold to Governors and teachers to use as fertiliser and the money raised is used to buy worms for the chickens.

Members of the Youth Board were given a tour around Meadowfield Primary School so they could see the work described and meet the chickens!

Copyright Meadowfield Primary School (23)

Attendance Update

Following on from the last Youth Board Meeting, members discussed ideas and initiatives that could help encourage attendance. 

Representatives from Rossett Acre Primary School, shared how, following a discussion at a recent PTA meeting, they are using music therapy to help children with low attendance. Other ideas they had involved making schools more welcoming, tackling any bullying should it come to light and doing extra sporting activities. They also suggested having a ‘treat day’.

Coppice Valley Primary School representatives talked about the trophy that is awarded for the best attendance.

Meadowfield Primary School representatives spoke of the attendance breakfasts they held for the class with the highest overall attendance and how pupils who attend every day, on time, receive 15 minutes’ extra play time on a Friday.

Temple Moor High School representatives spoke about the end of term trips and school vouchers they used as incentives.

Harrogate Grammar have a film day on the last day of term and issue reward vouchers. Also, if students receive 50 or more positive comments, they receive a reward at the end of term.

All great ideas and really useful for our schools to share how they are working towards encouraging attendance.

Inter-school Sports Event

Mr Ryder, Director of Sport, from Harrogate Grammar School, outlined the importance of playing sport in school, how it is not only good for your physical and mental health but enjoyable too! During the lunch break, Mr Ryder asked the students to move into groups - all secondary students and all primary schools - and asked everyone to come up with ideas for a Red Kite Learning Trust sports day/Olympics. Some fantastic suggestions were made and Mr Ryder is going to develop some of these ideas and propose an event, so watch this space!

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mrs Fretwell, from Oatlands Junior School was introduced and spoke to the Youth Board about all the wellbeing measures that have been introduced at her school. Mrs Fretwell is a Year 6 teacher as well as PSHE/RSE Lead and Senior Mental Health Lead at Oatlands Junior. She is also a member of our Trust People Board and a Mental Health First Aider.

Oatlands Juniors - Running Track - 2023 (6)

Mental health and wellbeing is an important focus for the Oatlands Juniors and Mrs Fretwell explained some of the initiatives, including 1:1 wellbeing sessions and creating a safe space, called The Hub, for pupils who find the playground too noisy to go to during break and lunchtime.  A Health and Wellbeing Group of colleagues has been set up to look at promoting wellbeing throughout the school. They hope to introduce Wednesday Wellbeing Walks too.

Mrs Fretwell went on to talk about the introduction of Wellbeing Champions. Pupils who volunteer as Wellbeing Champions meet every two weeks on a lunchtime and talk about the Five Steps to Wellbeing and how to promote these in school. These Wellbeing Champions have done some great work around Anti-bullying Week, Mental Health Week, Children in Need, and other events. They have busy fundraising and have asked their classes which charity they would like to support. A shortlist of ideas was produced and it was decided that the school would support Saint Michael’s Hospice, a local charity caring for people with terminal illness.

An assembly was held to launch the Saint Michael’s Hospice ‘jumpathon’. The winning class did 55,000+ star jumps! The Wellbeing Champions have been on a visit to Saint Michael’s Hospice for a tour and to meet with one of the Hospice doctors and the chef to learn about what they do. Saint Michael’s Hospice will also be visiting Oatlands Junior School to do a presentation to the children.

Oatlands Jumpathon

Next Youth Board Meeting

We are continually impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment our Youth Board members have shown since it was launched last year.  It is great to see the students leading these meetings and setting the agenda.

Our next Youth Board meeting is planned for Monday 20 May.

Youth Board

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Temple Learning Academy is part of Red Kite Learning Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 7523507, registered office address: Red Kite Office, Pannal Ash Road, Harrogate, HG2 9PH

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