School stars was set up during Lockdown to celebrate and share some of the inspiring community focussed work that has taken place in many of our wonderful schools in Birmingham in recent times. Schools have been at the sharp end of restrictions and have had to adapt in so many ways. We wanted to recognise the work they have done that shows active citizenship. The scheme is being promoted on Birmingham Civic Society Facebook and Twitter platforms. Schools received a certificate of achievement, recognition on social media and secondary schools receive follow up information about the Society’s Next Generation Awards. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Nominators are enthusiastic to champion schools and schools are proud to be chosen. The campaign is still live.
Colmers School and Sixth Form
Nominated by Alison Palmer via twitter
Colmers School and Sixth Form College were the first school to become a Birmingham Civic Society’s School Star for engagement with pupils & whole school community during the Covid pandemic; in particular the care & support offered for mental health & wellbeing.
The nominee emphasised that the school has provided great encouragement to pupils & families during lockdown by setting regular challenges & competitions &
providing information via Parentmail & social media. Initiatives have included:
- The CCC weekly challenge
- Showcasing amazing work of pupils
- Sharing of weekly Celebration Assemblies
- A focus on sharing wellbeing resources for all
- Regular home phone calls to connect with parents/families
- Newsletters from Emma Leaman (Headteacher)
King Edward VI High School for Girls
Nominated by Judy Dyke via Twitter
King Edward VI High School for Girls was nominated for support to pupils in school and the wider community; in particular, their production of PE Active Care Boxes for primary school children.
Girls from the school have donated boxes full of items designed to keep youngsters from local primary schools physically and mentally active during and after lockdown. Items include a tennis ball, skipping rope plus card for practising origami, wool for finger crocheting and a stress-busting reflexology ball.
The boxes were packaged up by the Sports department and initially delivered to all KEHS pupils to keep them active and improve their wellbeing. The girls’ parents were then asked to donate the cost of their box back to the school so that further boxes could be distributed to local primary schools. Many families gave generously and scores of boxes were initially delivered to Topcliffe School in Castle Vale, with hundreds more to follow.
The initiative was the idea of the school’s Director of Sport Sarah Blanks and the Principal Kirsty von Malaisé after the boxes proved a huge success with KEHS girls. Ms Blanks stated “Around 130 primary school children have received boxes so far and we’re about to distribute hundreds more. It’s great that we’ve had a very positive response from the schools involved and good to know so many more youngsters are having the chance to get active.”
The Blue Coat School
Nominated by Judy Dyke via Twitter
The Blue Coat Birmingham were nominated for support to pupils in school and the wider community:
- Being open for a large percentage of pupils and delivering live online lessons to the
- A team of sewing bees made 250 laundry bags for hospitals and care home for
workers to transport their clothing
- Recording an original Lockdown Song “Looking to the Rainbow’ written by the
- Awesome fundraising for Let’s Feed Brum charity with a Smartie Tube Challenge
- A whole school virtual cook-along and a virtual chess tournament
- Buddy letters between Year 3 and Year 6 children
Wheelers Lane Primary School
Nominated by Alison Finn via twitter
Wheelers Lane Primary School was nominated for support to pupils in school and the wider community “They have been fantastic!” says their nominator. Just some examples are:
- Support to families including, food parcels made up for families in need and even delivered to home’s, making regular contact with families through phone calls and home visits. In addition funding for breakfast packs was accessed and advice given to families struggling with free school meal vouchers
- Acting on information provided from families to give support with a range of issues including early help, providing resources for children to use for learning, time to listen to problems, signposting to additional services and offering advice on how to manage during lockdown.
- From September, live lessons were available for all children when bubbles were closed and during lockdown. Teachers went the extra mile to make the learning fun and exciting with well-being time away from the screen and a “Bake Off” afternoon
- They held a themed week in the Autumn Term called Autumn Adventure Week, enjoying local green spaces such as Moseley Bog, Billesley Common & Kings Heath Park
- Class birthday parties were arranged so that children could have a celebration together, when they couldn’t get together outside of school. There were treats for every child and a cupcake for any child who had a birthday that term
- Employed two Learning Mentors to support the children with their mental health and well-being
Headteacher Sara Pecheur says “We are pleased to receive our nomination for being a Birmingham Civic Society School Star and having our citizenship and community focused work recognised.”
King Edward VI Handsworth for Girls
Nominated by Jo Dunlop
Pupils were nominated for their ‘exceptional’ community projects and the way they have continued to sustain projects formulated as part of the Civic Society’s Next Generation Awards scheme.
Stand out projects have been:
- Help the Homeless – awarded at the Next Generation Awards in 2015/16, the school decided that the non-uniform day money from 2019 would fund the provision of the care packages for the homeless and vulnerable. As individually wrapping items was not possible under COVID restrictions, goods were bought in bulk, collected by Spring Housing and made into Christmas Hampers for residents. It emerged that residents own duvets and duvet cover, but often have no bedsheets. The school was able to provide over 50 bedsheets for those in need. Pupils
continued to collect food and it was donated the local Trussell Trust Food Bank on Holyhead Road, providing vital support to the local community.
- Free Flow – pupils have been campaigning against period poverty by providing awareness of the numbers of young women unable to afford menstrual products and by seeking donations of menstrual products for distribution to those in need. This project achieved Gold Award status at the Next Generation Awards in 2018. Pupils are pleased with the recent progress there has been on this subject at a national level.
We will keep you updated with the next nominations. If you would like to nominate a school for that has shown excellent and active citizenship, within school & their local communities, during recent times get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or visit or Facebook or Twitter pages – @BirminghamCivic.