A discussion of all the things we wish we knew, learned and discussed at school. From wellbeing to finance, prejudice to the school system...our aim is to give students, teachers and professionals a voice to discuss what they think school should be for our teachers, students and communities. We want school to be a place where students want to go, teachers enjoy teaching and communities see the true value of these institutions. That is only possible with these conversations. So grab a coffee, listen in and let us know your thoughts!
Jack Allsopp an Oxford graduate with a first class honours in History and a master's in Global and Imperial History. He attended a leading grammar school and achieved an excellent set of grades. Nearly 5 years on and now part of a programme management graduate scheme at a fantastic company, Jack wrote a blog post for School Should Be, reflecting on his experiences as a student. The blog was honest, nuanced and in many ways uncomfortable to read from a teacher's and parent's perspective. Although Jack effectively played out the 'schooling dream', the reality of his experiences is very different to what we might expect of a student who shines bright with academic success.
After reading his blog piece I asked Jack if he. would be willing to discuss his experiences and thoughts further. This podcast is everything school should be - an honest, tangent-filled chat on what school should be, how to enable equity and Jack's own views of schooling - neither successful nor unsuccessful, just his personal views which I think students, parents and teachers will benefit from, especially as we think about the future of the education system, school culture and student wellbeing.
Sharon Booth, founder of Solutions Not Sides, an organisation that facilitates a range of excellent workshops, resources and discussions for 15-18 year olds on Palestine and Israel.
In this podcast, Sharon and I discuss the language students can use when talking about Palestine-Israel, some key points to note when the topic of Israel-Palestine comes up in classroom discussion, student and teacher wellbeing, especially their safety, in these discussions and how students can be positively active in their desires to prevent racism, prejudice and to build bridges in our communities too.
During an SNS workshop, schools and students will hear from Palestinian and Israeli voices to discuss the history, political climate, context, lived experiences and so much more about Israel and Palestine. SNS teaches students how to use critical thinking tools, empathy and how students can challenge prejudice here in the UK.
Recently, SNS has been highlighted by the Secretary of State for Education as an organisation that can help schools address antisemitism around the issue of Israel and Palestine. SNS believes it is equally important to address Islamophobia and also has had many firsthand experiences of addressing Islamophobia around this issue in the classroom.
The core outcomes a school can expect from an SNS workshop are:
Humanisation and empathy
Ability to embrace complexity and diversity rather than feeling threatened by it
Empowerment through the acquisition of skills, confidence and knowledge to influence others
School Should Be encourages students and teachers to take part in SNS’s #iftheycanwecan campaign on social media platforms. The campaign provides a platform for Palestinian and Israeli voices that are often not heard here in the UK; the campaign aims to bring global attention, support and to help activists and organisations in Israel and Palestine who are working for peace, an end to racism, violence, prejudice and dehumanisation. For more information to see how you and your school can get involved, please visit:
Sharon provides a great starting point in the podcast with some excellent resources, all signposted during our conversations. All secondary schools will benefit from SNS's input and their workshops help create transparent, diverse and inclusive school cultures, which we want all schools to embrace.
Simranjeet Kaur Mann is a trainee solicitor for a top 20 law firm, a content creator and a vlogger. A previous Head Girl when at secondary school, Simran's YouTube channel has amassed over 100k views in one year, since she started it at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Simran's vlogs and content are predominantly to support, inform and advise future students interested in vacation schemes, careers in law and how to successfully 'student well' at university. Simran is a fine example of how a student and now young professional can manage a conventional career path and a social media presence - one she does with grace, humility and some entertaining banter along the way too. She has a lot to teach and show the next generation (and even generations before her!) whilst keeping it real and maintaining some sense of mindful adulting too! Simran speaks to me about all things social media and school, how students and teachers can work with digital platforms and how we can foster more inclusive communities in schools too.
This podcast has to be one of my favourites, an authentic conversation with plenty of life lessons and laughs along the way too - I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Leila is a Human, Social and Political Sciences student at The University of Cambridge. An advocate for equitable rights, diverse and equal opportunities, Leila wrote an open letter to her school after the tragic disappearance and death of Sarah Everard, regarding the treatment of female students, addressing school culture and behaviour policies that can perpetuate misogynistic tendencies, common to several societal institutions and often an area of unconscious bias. Leila's letter went viral on Twitter and in response, over 500 students got in touch with her with their stories too.
A necessary and uncomfortable conversation, Leila and I talk about how schools can embrace and normalise conversations about womanhood, and the change in narrative that schools need in order to be wholly inclusive and enabling. A fascinating conversation, we talk about A LOT and ultimately, Leila challenges the notion of political discussion: a lot of the time, it isn't a political discussion that needs to be quelled, it is a personal, authentic conversation that must be enabled to effect change for the betterment of society.
Uju Asika is an award-nominated blogger and founder of parenting blog - Babes About Town. She is also a creative consultant and founder of Mothers and Shakers, a digital consultancy building connections between female entrepreneurs and supporting women in business within the digital space. Most recently, Uju has written the wonderful and much needed book, Bringing Up Race, teaching parents, teachers, adults, carers - all of us - how to (quite literally) ‘raise a kind child in a prejudice world’ ...perhaps if we all look to follow its teaching, we may find ourselves one day, in an unprejudiced world.
Uju talks to me about how schools, classrooms, teachers, students and parents can create a culture of racial equity, whilst normalising uncomfortable conversations about race in schools. She explains how teachers and schools can address race conversations and how behaviour policies and diversity and inclusion policies can ensure all students feel accepted, confident, seen and heard.
Uju is available to talk to school leaders and teachers about her book - feel free to get in touch with her: https://babesabouttown.com/about/contact-us/
Aaron Pandher, Wellbeing and fashion blogger, final year university student and once a Head Boy at a leading secondary school tells us about how he has managed his wellbeing and academic success throughout his teen years. He explains why he thinks student centred wellbeing should be put before academic success, how he has achieved it and why other students should prioritise their wellbeing routines. We discuss everything from morning routines to wellness privilege too. A refreshing, informative and useful episode for all students looking to put their emotional health first - and so they should! Find out more from Aaron at https://www.aaronpandher.com/
Sophie Morris, an introvert expert and coach, tells us all about the best ways to teach introverts in the classroom and how introverted teenagers learn best too. 50% of the population are introverts, yet we seem to operate in an extroverted world. Given that school is also a fairly extroverted environment, it's not good enough to say students need to speak up more in lessons, raise their hands or take leading roles more often. Introverts can learn just as well as extroverts and Sophie Morris tells us exactly how. If you're interested in being coached by Sophie or would like her to provide training at your school or workplace, please get in touch: quietosophy.com
Leo Carr, founder of Study Politics, a platform that provides A level revision and learning resources for all politics students and teachers, tells us about why students need to learn about politics at school and how it can have a positive impact on their perspectives, discussions and learning experiences overall. Leo was part of the first cohort of year 13 students to have their exams cancelled in 2020 as a result of Covid-19. Instead of letting all of his notes and learning go to waste, he taught himself how to create a website, start a business and is now working with a multitude of students and schools to support their politics education! You can find out more about Leo @studypoliticsuk and www.studypolitics.co.uk