Birmingham School first in its class with International Child Press

Earlier this term, the school hosted a press conference to share the children’s work with the community at large and received high praise from Elise Sijthoff, founder of International children’s press, who traveled from Amsterdam to present his ‘Special Editions’ to young journalists. The project was produced by former MEP Julie Ward, as part of Commonwealth connectionsa British Council program for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, led by Birmingham Education Association (BEP).

The project started in September 2022 when Year 6 students from Woodthorpe Junior and Infant School worked with Julie learning about the role of journalists and editors, researching and writing about the issues that concerned them most. These ranged from the importance of sport for health and well-being to concerns about the environment and online safety.

The child reporters interviewed a range of professionals from the world of health, education, civic and political life, thus exercising their right to participate in democratic life. The resulting high-quality print and online publications reveal the thoughtfulness of our youngest citizens who demonstrate their ability to tackle complex issues and hold decision-makers to account.

“This opportunity to work with Child Press was a great way to explore children’s rights, especially since we are a rights-respecting school. It was also a fantastic way to celebrate Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games legacy and be proud of the city we live in.”

Rohan (6th year student)

“This exciting opportunity to work with Child Press gave our Year 6s a real purpose for writing, inspiring them to express their views on many of the issues they are passionate about and that affect them directly. We are proud to be a UNICEF Gold Standard Respecting School, which is strengthened through the support we receive from BEP. Child Press’s belief in children as journalists has expanded our children’s international and global citizenship. We look forward to building on this new partnership by producing more student-led publications.” – Mrs. L McGrath (Principal, Woodthorpe JI School)

“This wonderful opportunity through BEP and Child Press was an exciting, unique and engaging start to the new school year for our Year 6 class. Student voice and international collaboration are two things we value highly at Woodthorpe and are incredibly proud of what the children have managed to produce and would like to thank everyone involved in the project. We look forward to continuing to work with Child Press and BEP in the future.”

Mr M Trevor (Deputy Principal, Woodthorpe JI School)

“Thanks to Woodthorpe School, we are able to launch the first UK edition of International Child Press. I am extremely proud that all of the children in the class have had the opportunity to discover and publicize their key interest in world issues. The Child Press process ensures that every child in the class is supported to be heard. This is not only essential for children but also for their parents and teachers, and for the democratic principles of our society.” – Elise Sijthoff (Founder, International Child Press)

“Birmingham 2022 provided a unique opportunity for a plethora of cultural enrichment activities, especially for our youngest citizens. Commonwealth Connections was able to open doors for teachers, children and their families across the region, and it was a pleasure to bring International Child Press to the UK as part of the programme.”

Julie Ward (arts director, Commonwealth Connections)

International Child Press is an Amsterdam-based child rights organization that works internationally to give children and young people a voice through advocacy and training media as press reporters, editors and newspaper publishers (online and printed). Child Press reporters in countries like Canada, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands have interviewed top decision makers such as mayors, parliamentarians and even prime ministers.

The Birmingham Education Association exists for the benefit of all publicly funded schools in Birmingham. BEP is committed to ensuring that no school is isolated and sees local, city and national connectivity as key to the success of schools at every stage of their development. BEP believes it takes a whole city to raise a child. If the schools do well, the children do well, and if the children do well, our city will prosper. The Birmingham School of the Arts is a BEP initiative that focuses on the crucial role that the arts play in enabling students to engage in a deeper and more meaningful way in their education.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games aimed to make a big difference for everyone in the West Midlands and beyond. This momentous event was an opportunity to celebrate a global community and our human potential, leaving a lasting positive impact.

Commonwealth Connections was part of Bring the Power, the youth engagement program for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and was co-funded by the Birmingham Organizing Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the British Council. The program was administered by BEP with the Birmingham School of the Arts and the Youth Sport Trust providing sector leadership for the Arts and Sport elements.

UNICEF is the world’s leading organization working for children and their rights. The Rights Respecting Schools Award is given to schools that show commitment to the promotion and realization of children’s rights and encourage adults, children and young people to respect the rights of others at school. Gold is the highest award given by UNICEF UK and shows a deep and comprehensive commitment to children’s rights at all levels of school life. There are over 600 schools in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales that have received gold.

Woodthorpe Junior and Infant School is a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, awarded the Gold Standard in January 2023. The school provides students with the knowledge, understanding, attitudes, values ​​and skills they need to achieve their potential as individuals and within the community. Students learn to understand and respect our common humanity, diversity, and differences so that they can continue to form effective and fulfilling relationships that are an essential part of life and learning.

Woodthorpe children also learn to appreciate what it means to be a positive member of a diverse and multicultural society. The school is involved in an ongoing global partnership with Motherwell School in Uganda through the British Council, which provides opportunities to celebrate diversity, embed ‘British values’ and strengthen school values. Woodthorpe J&I School is twinned with schools in Trinidad and Tobago as part of Commonwealth Connections.

The school currently has an International Schools Award through the British Council, as well as recognition from the Global School Alliance, at bronze level, for its continued commitment to international collaboration.

round image of a white tree on a four color background and a red border 'Woodhouse Junior & Infant School'.  below, a banner 'Learn, play and grow together'.
Woodthorpe School Logo


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