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News article

Award winning work for York St John students with local primary schools

Published: 18 August 2021

  •   Awards
Red apple on stack on books next to crayons

York St John University has won a York Cares Golden Moments award for the voluntary work students and staff undertook this year with local school children.

York Cares are an independent, employee-volunteering charity bringing a network of people together for positive local impact.

As a member, York St John University takes part in the Inspiring Minds programme which delivers a range of activities to primary school aged children.

Co-ordinated by York St John’s Student Opportunities team, university students gain experience in lesson planning and insight into a school environment, whilst giving back to the local community and inspiring local primary school pupils to explore new topics and their futures. 

In previous years, these lessons have been delivered in school, culminating in a ‘Golden Moment’ at York St John campus. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, staff and students successfully adapted the project to create digital and pre-recorded content for school pupils to enjoy.

This year, 10 York St John Students took part from across multiple degree programmes and created exciting and informative lessons for New Earswick Primary School and Osbaldwick Primary School.

Students received training in lesson planning from Ian Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Primary Education at York St John University, before running, designing, and delivering a series of lessons. These were split into two modules supported by a member of academic staff: Healthy Humans with Dr Spencer Swain and Myths and Legends with Dr Adam Smith.

The Golden Moment Awards celebrate the contribution individuals and groups make to the city. York St John received recognition for their role in the Inspiring Minds project, and the impact students have made to local primary education.

Lizzie Lester, Volunteering Coordinator at York St John, said “The Inspiring Minds project gives York St John students across different degrees the chance to experience lesson planning and working within a classroom setting, whilst developing key transferable skills that are invaluable in the world of work.

“This year the students were faced with lots of additional barriers, but all rose to the challenge to create engaging and exciting content for local York school pupils to enjoy and help raise aspirations. It’s fabulous that the York St John Inspiring Minds teams have received a Golden Moment award in acknowledgement of their hard work and their contribution to the local community.’

Jack Pheby, KS2 teacher at New Earswick Primary School said: “The children at New Earswick loved taking part in the Inspiring Minds programme this year, where they gained a vast array of knowledge and input from the YSJ students. Credit to the YSJ students in their determined approach in ensuring the year 6s were still able to access and enjoy the opportunity, not letting Covid restrictions hamper them.

“We would like to thank them for their time and their efforts, which ensured extra opportunity for children at New Earswick Primary in what has been a challenging year for all.”

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