Student spotlight: At this year’s 11th annual OAT conference

Ormiston Academies Trust

Within #iwillWeek, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) held its annual conference in Nottingham. The conference is a chance for staff and OAT’s young people to come together to address issues and best teaching practices across the Trust. This year’s conference theme was addressing young people’s mental health and how it is being approached through education.

Each OAT academy has chosen to deliver a #WeWill project themed on subjects that young people are passionate about. The academies have approached their projects uniquely, allowing their young people to structure the projects, while also allowing them to shape their delivery to suit their communities.

Two projects that have chosen to break down barriers while addressing young peo- ple’s mental health are Ormiston Chadwick Academy and Ormiston Forge Academy. Chadwick had chosen to do #WeWill Explore, a project addressing the increase in young people’s screen time, while Forge chose to do #WeWill Recycle, an eco-con- scious project. Both academies used their surroundings and experiences to influence the structure of their projects.

Ormiston Chadwick Academy

Ormiston Chadwick Academy developed a memorial garden in memory of a student who passed away, Alfie. Students set about fundraising from smaller efforts to larger ones like, climbing Mount Snowdon and taking part in a charity bike ride. Two of Alfie’s close friends, Luke and Mason, led the way in raising over £4000. The money was put into developing and landscaping the garden, with fixed benches, raising flower beds, plants, flowers and a memorial plaque. Chadwick students crafted wind chimes, garden decorations and wellbeing stones containing supportive messages for their school community. The space is now used for wellbeing sessions for all year groups in the school. #WeWill staff lead Miss Bell works with a charity that breaks down the stigma of boys crying. The green space has been transformed through unified grief but has now opened many other avenues to address positive mental health and provide opportunities for young people to lead the way for positive change.

Ormiston Forge Academy

Ormiston Forge Academy was already a leading academy in OAT for their eco-initiatives, being one of the first to achieve their Green Flag Award, so it only seemed right for them to take up #WeWill Recycle. With a very passionate #WeWill staff lead and student leadership team, their project has been breaking down the stigma of second-hand clothes. The community Forge based in Cradley Heath is an area that has some of the highest child poverty figures, with young people being raised under conditions of financial hardship. Not only wanting to address the issues of fast fashion, but the students also wanted to show that second hand clothes can be loved again. They’ve held Re’Love events for their fellow peers to buy clothes for a small fee. Pushing their learnings out into their community, the students also had the opportunity to mentor Year 4 pupils from local primary school, Temple Meadow. The students led upcycle clothing workshops, with the primary pupils designing outfits out of disused items.

Student leadership teams from Chadwick and Forge Academy attended the OAT conference to talk through their experiences in the Mental Health Marketplace. Principals, teaching staff, trustees and esteemed guests were well-informed about the projects and the efforts the young people have gone to develop their youth social action projects and address stigmas.

Student Leadership Teams

Chadwick Student leadership teams

Luke, Mason and Danie

Forge Student leadership teams

Liam, Lucy, Grace, Hameedullah and Esther



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