Spark+Mettle @ Haggerston School


If you are familiar to any degree with the life and times of Spark+Mettle, you may well be aware of our desire for a creative, collaborative and innovative approach to working.  As well as being keen to complement and reinforce the great work done by other education and youth organisations, we are always seeking to provide meaningful pathways for engagement between young people and seasoned professionals.

Fittingly in November, Spark+Mettle had the wonderful opportunity of bringing a team of five professionals and nine young people to facilitate a half day workshop around leadership development for over 100 Year 9 students at Haggerston School in Hackney. The workshop was created by the professionals and young people together specifically for Haggerston, to ensure that the day was engaging and productive for the students who were going to take part.

In an initial planning and brainstorming meeting, we decided to develop the workshop into four sessions that would address key components of leadership development: collaboration, resilience, future planning and positive choices. One week later, we were thrilled by the warm welcome and support of those at Haggerston School and soon got into the stride of delivering the sessions that we hoped would be both fun and meaningful.  Speaking of the experience, one of our current co-creators Seyi stated: ‘I thought we got better towards the end; the first [session] was so nerve wracking … but I totally feel like we have left an impact and a legacy.’

The session certainly received lots of positive feedback from the Year 9s; one student ‘enjoyed explaining how I feel and what I want to be, also planning my future and thinking of the next steps for me getting there.’ Whilst another ‘learned that even if I fail I should never give up and try to reach my dreams.’  Lots of others noted that they appreciated our ample inclusion of chocolate in a number of our sessions; meanwhile many enjoyed the opportunity to work more collaboratively with their classmates, with one student stating: ‘teamwork was more important than I thought.’

It was a great experience and one that left all of us in complete awe of the brilliant, hard work that teachers put in on a daily basis. For after one jam-packed, interactive morning alone, many of us were ready for a cup of hot chocolate and bed—or at least a power nap before lunch. Moreover, we were excited to reflect on the successes and challenges of the day, in the hope that doing so would help to inform the planning and execution of any future school workshops.

Thus as 2012 draws to a close, we are grateful for the ample opportunities we’ve had to share experiences, knowledge, fun and laughter with many.  We also look forward to many more in the coming year and beyond.