St Dunstan’s College community project makes award shortlist

St Dunstan’s is a partner in the Lewisham Young Leaders Academy, shortlisted in the social mobility category at the upcoming Independent Schools of the Year Awards

An initiative co-founded by St Dunstan’s College to benefit minority groups in the local community is in the running for an award.

The Lewisham Young Leaders Academy (LYLA) partnership has been shortlisted in the contribution to social mobility category for the upcoming Independent Schools of the Year Awards.

As we reported last year, the project was founded in partnership with Lewisham Council and Westside Young Leaders Academy in response to the disparity in outcomes for black Caribbean and dual heritage (black Caribbean/white) children and young people.

Participants are referred to the initiative by their school or other agencies and offered help with learning such life skills as leadership, teamwork, presentation skills and CV building. The programme is designed to develop 12 traits of leadership in attendees: bearing, courage, decisiveness, enthusiasm, initiative, integrity, judgement, knowledge, loyalty, perseverance, responsibility and unselfishness.

Since launching, LYLA has grown from 40 to 60 students attending each week, with three staff mentors and two parent volunteers. The academy benefits from using St Dunstan’s facilities, including halls and STEM classrooms, while staff from the school have led weekend workshops on climbing and martial arts.

Participants are offered help with learning life skills

A poll conducted last autumn suggested that the programme is having its desired effect.

All of the parents and children responding to the survey said that participation had boosted the child’s confidence, with 85% of parents saying it had helped them develop new skills.

“I am delighted that this unique partnership has been recognised by the Independent School of the Year Awards,” said St Dunstan’s head, Nick Hewlett. “St Dunstan’s College is passionate about – and dedicated to – providing life-enriching opportunities to our local community.

“We realise that we hold a privileged position as an independent school, both in terms of our facilities and the experiences of our staff and pupils, and we are proud to work closely with Westside Young Leaders Academy and Lewisham Council on Lewisham Young Leaders Academy.

“The team at Lewisham Young Leaders Academy are changing the lives of the young people attending each week, and I look forward to growing our continued partnership.”

Finalists for the fifth annual Independent Schools of the Year awards will be announced in September, with the winners announced at a ceremony the following month.

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