Students at The Nottingham Emmanuel School have been discussing a range of important topics surrounding the pressures faced by young people as they navigate their teenage years.
Discussion and advice workshops were held separately for male and female students and were, said organiser Mrs Carlisle (PSHE and Citizenship Co-ordinator), aimed at empowering the students. “We wanted to give our students the opportunity to talk about the enormous pressures on young people and to help them understand that they have choices. They can choose who they want to be; they don’t have to ‘buy in’ to all the unrealistic expectations placed upon them. Social media adds complexity to our lives, it can be a force for good or it can do harm and it is important that young people have time and space to reflect on this.”
Student Aisha said that issues surrounding equality are important to her, “Women should have the same rights as men, and they shouldn’t have to change who they are to receive the same opportunities.”
Heidi Shewell-Cooper is Chair of Governors at The Nottingham Emmanuel School and said that the ability to explore these issues in a safe and understanding environment is crucial. “Students have told us they feel more confident about themselves and they are much clearer about their expectations of positive relationships through these sessions.
Guest speaker Rebecca Pitt is a Customer Proposition Manager at Boots and said that her time spent with students was heartening. “I think this sort of focus can be very empowering for the students. When I was their age we really didn’t have any of this type of direct discussion group, other than the usual careers advice. I believe these sessions will be of enormous benefit, not only to air topics of concern, but to explore constructive ways of responding to modern pressures.”
Theatre Director Beth Shouler also spoke to students about her own experiences growing up and the challenges she faced. “As a writer and story teller I found that relating my own story to students was a good way to show both the similarities and differences with their own journey. Hopefully somewhere down the line my story will remind them that they can change the course of their life by making positive choices.”