A programme designed as a follow up to the Leadership Development Programme, it aims to further develop the leadership capacity of young people to make a difference in their school and communities. The programme focuses particularly on themes such as religion, extreme behaviour and the development of skills to work with and manage conflict. Participants also work to develop a system that fits their school or group to enable sustainability. The programme works best in a context where schools or community groups already have a commitment to a wider school approach.
Priesthorpe High School is situated on the border of Leeds and Bradford and was experiencing tensions in the school community. The Far Right was highly visible and there was an increased recruitment drive by the ‘EDL’ in and around the area in which the school was situated. Leeds City Council’s ‘Preventing Violent Extremism’ department approached the Foundation to deliver an intervention that would help to tackle the issues of racism and religious discrimination that were leading to violence on the playground.
The Foundation delivered The Leadership Development Programme to 48 young people over the course of the first six months and to a further 40 students during year 2.
With a vast toolkit to deliver the programme outcomes, the Foundation conducted an assessment to determine the issues and needs of the young people and staff at the school. The outcomes of the assessment meant that Foundation staff were able to gauge the context and tailor programme content to respond to the specific issues that dominated.
Over the 18 month long intervention, the Foundation once again worked with the school, wider community and public and private sectors to ensure that approaches to work were joined up and responsive to the needs of the young people and community.
The project was showcased with a visit to the school from the Office of Security and Counter Terrorism and the Foundation played a key role in the Government’s review of its Preventing Violent Extremism strategy as it was consulted by both Government Office Yorkshire & Humber and Government Office North West .
The Foundation’s unique Leadership Programmes have achieved great success and recognition. A highly flexible and transformative model of work, the programmes tackle issues ranging from extreme behaviour (and its transformation) to tackling those ‘difficult conversations’ around faith race and religion. Through the development and delivery of these successful models the Foundation has earned a reputation of delivering high quality, yet flexible, programmes.
‘What we found is that the process [of change] we were hoping for has come about really quickly…when you go out and around the atmosphere is school is just amazingly different’. Maxine Cotterill- RE Teacher and Project Lead