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Teenage Equality Champions inspire younger pupils at neighbouring primary schools
Sixth Formers from Bryanston and The Blandford School led a series of special workshops for over 75 pupils from nine neighbouring primary schools as part of the 2023 Nurturing Equality Festival held at Bryanston.
Organised in collaboration with gender equality specialists, Bold Voices, the full day event featured a range of activities designed to encourage awareness about the importance of gender equality and the need to recognise how the casual use of stereotypes can easily be so self-limiting and destructive.
Each of the 28 Sixth Form ambassadors received support and guidance from Bold Voices prior to the event, which in turn provided a fun and light-hearted opportunity for younger children to share and discuss their thoughts on the serious topic of gender equality.
Year 6 children from nine schools within the Blandford Schools’ Network attended the event, including children from Archbishop Wake CE Primary School, Blandford St Mary, Bryanston Prep, Downlands Community School, Dunbury, Durweston CE Primary School, Milldown, Pimperne Primary and Spetisbury. The pioneering project brought together older and younger pupils to help the next generation to challenge gender inequality in wider society and to help prepare Year 6 pupils for life at secondary school.
“The event workshops showed that it’s not only boys who can be ‘heroes’, ‘strong’ and wear blue and it’s not only girls who can be ‘kind’, ‘sensitive’ and wear pink,” adds Oli Nicholson, Bryanston’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead. “It was great to hear both young boys and girls recognise how the casual use of such words and pigeonholes can so easily reinforce the barriers and behavioural issues associated with gender stereotypes. Simply recognising and challenging such descriptions before they move to a senior school represents a big step forward as it helps youngsters to develop their self-confidence, interests and personalities without feeling constrained by any misplaced preconceptions.”
"It was a joy to run the Nurturing Equality Festival with Bryanston and The Blandford School,” says Natasha Eeles, the founder of Bold Voices. “Bringing together Sixth Form Ambassadors and Year 6 pupils to learn and talk about gender inequality is a pioneering initiative and is a hugely impactful approach for all involved. Seeing the openness and curiosity of the Year 6s to learn about and challenge gender inequality inspires hope that we have a new generation growing up who are ready to experience a world that is free from gender stereotypes and inequality."