More than 1,000 pupils from across the UK participated in a day-long interactive discussion on the topic of immigration run by The Economist Education Foundation. 10 volunteers from across The Economist Group helped to make the day a success.
On Friday February 2nd, students from 37 schools belonging to the Foundation’s Burnet News Club, an after schools network for disadvantaged pupils, assisted fictional voter Robyn with her first electoral decision. Through a series of live interactive videos aired across participating schools, pupils followed Robyn around her hometown of Seabourne, as she spoke to local residents about immigration ahead of her local election.
The day focused around a “choose-your-own-adventure” film and saw 91% of students select a pro-immigration MP. In the first instalment, pupils met Robyn who explained she would require their help to interview local residents on immigration. After this introduction, the students came offline to discuss how they would manage her request through a series of activities. The students then re-joined the conversation with all participating schools to discuss strategy and share their views. This process was repeated five more times, with the last online section allowing for the pupils to see how they collectively voted.
Emily Evans, CEO, The Economist Educational Foundation, highlighted that the virtual session was a fundamental event to help with pupils growth: “Discussing the news can be a powerful way for young people to express themselves and their concerns. Friday’s virtual event allowed our members to put into practice their critical thinking and literacy skills, which have been enhanced through our dedicated collection of current affairs resources.
“At the Burnet News Club, we firmly believe that developing a young person’s confidence and ability to understand issues in their local environment is fundamental for academic achievement, but also for preparing them to enter into a changing workforce”.
To date, 71 schools have enrolled in The Burnet News Club, which provides teachers with access to training, resources and interactive news content for young people. Teachers run weekly one hour term time sessions, and between sessions the students take part in online discussions with each other across the UK. Staff at The Economist Educational Foundation facilitate these online discussions, and students receive feedback from them and experts on the topics, to help develop their thinking and communication skills.
Membership in the Burnet News Club includes schemes of work on topical issues, complete with multimedia news content developed with Economist journalists, personalised training and support for teachers throughout the year and a dedicated secure online hub.
The programme is open to all non-fee-paying, non-academically selective schools.