This has been a seminal week, in that on Wednesday Margot’s auntie Nadia and I were excited to visit St Anthony’s Roman Catholic Primary School, to watch the first of our assembly pilot presentations being delivered in the London borough of Southwark.
We were there strictly as observers, to ascertain how the teachers receive and deliver the assembly and to watch how the pupils interact and respond.
We didn’t have permission to take any photographs, however we are pleased to report that of the 220 Key Stage 2 pupils (i.e. 7-11 years of age) sitting in the assembly that morning, we estimated that approximately two thirds of them were from Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds – an excellent target demographic for our education programme.
Of particular interest to us was how well the teacher delivering the assembly had understood the key facts and messages, adapting the slides and presentation to make the most of her delivery.
I found myself unexpectedly welling up during the introduction, when Margot’s predicament and the origins of Team Margot were briefly explained & the thought provoking question “when did you last help someone ?” triggered a flurry of hands being raised to kick off the discussion.
There followed some lively discussion with the children keen to share their own thoughts and opinions on the topic of helping others and how it makes them feel to help and be helped.
As the assembly drew to a close, the point was made very clearly, reinforcing the key message and action point for the children:
“You as children can’t give the same sort of help BUT the adults that you know, the grown ups that you see in your community are old enough to give people that help. And if they sign up to a register they can give help to people like Margot and Asha and that can make a big difference… If a member of their family is a match for them, they can provide help… if not they need to find someone else… so it’s really important to get lots of people to sign up…”
When the assembly was asked: “Put your hand up if a member of your family has given blood…” it was encouraging to see ten or so hands rise (which is about same proportion as the national average).
The point was made that unlike blood, bone marrow is only given once… and again: “you can’t do these things right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it” empowering the children and reinforcing their ability to speak to and encourage their families to consider donation.
Before leaving the school, we spoke to the headmaster who felt that the assembly might be better delivered to the younger children in Key Stage 1 within a classroom setting and was open to adopting new modules as we develop them for the education programme, especially if they run in parallel to the curriculum. And he suggested that the school would repeat the ‘Giving to help others’ assembly presentation annually.
Special thanks to headteacher Ian Croft and Lisa who delivered the assembly and also to the rest of the school for being so welcoming and for being a part of our pilot.
If you have children attending a primary school, or work in a primary school and would like to download & use the ‘Giving to help others’ presentation for free, please visit givingtohelpothers.org
Together, saving lives