‘WE Free the Children’ Returning to Sciennes!

We are tremendously excited about an upcoming return visit to Sciennes on Wednesday 7th December from WE Free the Children, again arranged for us by Schools Co-ordinator Harriet Morgan.

Jacob, from WE Free the Children, visited in June to work with half of our (then P6) pupils and it was a superb and inspirational day, providing a wealth of opportunities for our children to embrace pupil leadership. Wednesday 7th December will mark a return visit from the charity, where a Speaker and Facilitator will work with the remaining half of our P7 pupils.
We are honoured to welcome Nicola Brentnall, the Director of The Queen’s Trust and Kate Likely, UK Director of Free the Children, who will join us on the day.

P6 and P7 pupils have been invited to a special assembly at 9am and then half the P7 year group will take part in Free the Children workshops throughout the day, while Ms Sellar will lead the remaining pupils in a repeat of her excellent Global Goals workshop, focusing on Gender Equality.

The format of the workshops fits ideally with our aims to develop pupil-led social action as part of the Junior Award Scheme for Schools  and our participation in Unicef’s Rights Respecting Schools programme:

Team Building/Issues Module – exploring prevalent issues in society, and globally to build confidence, identify leadership skills and also get pupils thinking about issues they care about.
Reflective Module – enabling pupils to think how they can use their skills for issues that are important to them.  
Action Planning – putting pen to paper to create a tangible action plan for children to develop and put into practice.

Free the Children

Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner that believes in a world where all young people are free to achieve their fullest potential as change-makers. Over the last 20 years, Free The Children has grown into an international movement supporting youth empowerment through educational service-learning initiatives in North America and the United Kingdom, and a holistic and sustainable international development model. It is supported by the Queen’s Trust, the UN, Virgin Atlantic and has many international supporters –  Malala, Desmond Tutu, Prince Harry, Oprah will give a flavour. Their model is ‘children helping children’ and they promote pupil leadership and taking action, here and abroad. The scheme began in Canada, initiated  by one of the CEOs when he was 12, and is a social enterprise endeavour.

For more information about Free the Children, visit their website.

The ‘Free the Children’ programme fits extremely well with our well established Junior Awards Scheme Scotland (JASS) programme in P6 and P7 where pupils are asked to take their own action to achieve a ‘Me and My World’ element. JASS is a children’s version of The Duke of Edinburgh Award, and the idea for it actually came from Sciennes! It is now adopted throughout Edinburgh and beyond so has been retitled Junior Award Scheme for Schools.

The Junior Award Scheme Schools (JASS) is an accredited learning programme, celebrating wider achievement, for young people (P6-S2). Sciennes and Tollcross Primary Schools have been implementing this scheme since we piloted it in 2009.
The concept emerged from a discussion during a Sciennes P7 visit to Lagganlia between Alice Brown, Gael Logan and Barry Hewitt who came up with the idea to set up a ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ style award scheme for upper primary pupils. The scheme has since been developed from a city wide, to UK wide to international programme.

There are three levels (bronze, silver and gold), each requiring a higher degree of commitment. Each level also includes four sections to be completed:

  • My interest – a hobby or interest
  • Get Active, Stay Active – involvement in a sport or physical activity
  • Me and My World – a community or environmental project
  • Adventure – a teamwork challenge through involvement in an outdoor activity (e.g Benmore and Lagganlia)


Sciennes helped develop an online version – eJASS.

Free the Children also fits well with our Unicef Rights Respecting Schools programme. We have recently achieved Level One and our next steps are to continue to extend knowledge of UNCRC and to expand global citizenship. The Free the Children programme will assist us with that. We have highlighted the relevance of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development since their launch in September 2015 and the programme also supports this extremely well.