School students lead conference to inspire creativity

Students from St John Plessington Catholic College and St Mary’s Catholic College, part of Holy Family Catholic Multi Academy Trust (HFCMAT), recently curated and delivered a conference in a bid to inspire creativity amongst their peers.

As part of its ongoing C Change programme, HFCMAT empowered students to take the lead and have their say on how creativity should be fostered within the curriculum and shape their own learning.

C Change is one of eight Creativity Collaboratives in England and serves the North West. Creativity Collaboratives is a pilot research programme that aims to build networks of schools to test a range of innovative practices in teaching creativity, with all learning shared to facilitate system-wide change.

The conference took place at St John Plessington in Bebington, with C Change’s student learning ambassadors meticulously planning and managing the entire event, with no input from teachers or staff.

The learning ambassadors shared with a group of 60 students, from the two schools, their own personal journeys and reasons why they became part of C Change. They explained how using ‘The Learning Habits Wheel’ has supported them in school and beyond. One student shared how his whole approach to learning has changed and his confidence had grown since using the wheel.

The Learning Habits Wheel is made up of five key elements; inquisitive, persistent, imaginative, disciplined and collaborative. It is a tool to help students develop a shared language allowing them to reflect on their learning and become more confident and creative in the classroom and wider life.

The conference started with an interactive session which enabled students to express whether they agree or disagree with statements surrounding creativity. The learning ambassadors invited fellow students to share their reasoning as to why they agreed or disagreed. 

Then followed a marketplace task which encouraged the young people to form small groups and work together to create posters for their chosen word within the learning habits wheel. The students were then tasked with teaching others about their selected word and learn about other habits from the different groups.

After this, the learning ambassadors held the interactive session again. This time, their goal was to gauge whether perspectives on creativity had shifted in light of the marketplace activity. Interestingly, many had changed their opinions.

Speaking about the conference, C Change learning ambassador and Year 10 student from St Mary’s Catholic College, Hope said, “Today has been about showing how creativity isn’t just within the arts and that it can be embedded within other things. We hope the conference highlights how there are other ways of learning and it is not just ‘teacher to student’, it can be about moving around and speaking to people.”

C Change project leader, Emily Reid commented, “This event is all about student empowerment and young people having their voice heard when it comes to their own educational experiences. It is a chance for them to really engage their creative thinking habits.

“Our students planned the conference all by themselves based on how they think about themselves as learners and how to be more persistent, collaborative, imaginative and resilient. It is great to see children empowering children.”

CEO of HFCMAT, Andy Moor, said, “Creativity is an important part of life, not just within schools but also within the workplace. There is a common misconception that creativity is only for the arts and we want our young people to understand that creative thinking can be used in any subject and industry.

“The world of work is telling us that businesses want young people who can work together effectively, stick at difficulty, solve problems, be curious and learn their way into the future. That’s exactly what we’re doing here. The students were fantastic and I look forward to the next conference where they develop their learning further.”

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