12.06.2024 Educator Insights Student Success Story

Beginning our First Give journey: Edgar Wood Academy

Delivering the First Give programme for the first time 

The First Give core programme is a fully resourced scheme of work that supports an entire year group to learn about social issues that matter to them. Students identify local charities they’d like to support as they carry out their own creative social action activities. The culmination of the students’ hard work is recognised by an exciting Final event with the whole year group sharing in the celebration and recognition of their efforts and achievements through the programme.  

The programme gives them as much ownership as possible, and the impact and the end result gives full credit to the students

Becky Worth, Assistant Headteacher

Edgar Wood Academy is a relatively new school based in Heywood, Rochdale. The communities that the school serves have higher than average levels of deprivation, with free school meal eligibility sitting at just under 40% in the school. Through the generous support of the Buffini Chao Foundation, Edgar Wood Academy partnered with First Give for the first time this academic year to work with the school’s eldest year group – their Year 9 students – to equip students with the knowledge and skills to give back meaningfully to their communities.  

Assistant Headteacher, Becky Worth, has coordinated the programme this year, supporting class teachers and students as they embarked on their First Give journey.

We wanted something that would allow our students the opportunity to see what kinds of things they could do to ‘give back’. We’re on a school improvement journey, so it was even more important for us to think about our students’ experiences of education and to give them something that was positive and meaningful.  

Becky Worth, Assistant Headteacher

It is the hope that a continued partnership with First Give will be a great way to build positive community links around the school, and that the programme will empower students, by nature of the student led approach, to speak up about the social issues that matter to them. Indeed, one student who took part, Layla, said:

First Give was an amazing opportunity for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it really improved my awareness of social issues and how to combat them. I wish I could do it all again! 

Layla, Student at Edgar Wood

This year’s winners represented local charity Little Monkeys, a children’s charity helping to alleviate the effects of poverty on local children and their families. 

Echoing Becky’s hopes for the programme was the positive experiences of the staff and students, who have demonstrated great commitment to their First Give work. Marie said:

it was cool to know it helped raise awareness and learn a lot about my chosen charity and helped improve my public speaking skills.”  and Leon: “First Give was an amazing opportunity for me to gain more confidence.

Marie and Leon, Students at Edgar Wood

Students created quite a buzz with various fun social action activities such as penalty shoot outs, bake sales, raffles, and the student favourite this year, ‘The Teacher Splash Out’! “There’s been such a buzz and excitement” added Becky. Thinking about the First Give legacy, and how EWA students can continue to engage with social issues and charities that they care about, Becky notes “we expect that the First Give programme will have a knock-on impact on how the students think about making changes in the future”. This was echoed by another student, Mubaraq, who said:

First Give has really helped me on how to show empathy, and [understand] that young people could make a huge difference in their community. I also feel so proud of myself in how I was able to make a difference and build my confidence.

Mubaraq, Student at Edgar Wood

Headteacher Paul Jones was blown away by the brilliant work of students through the programme, adding;

I can’t tell you how proud I was of our pupils and all of the work that they did as part of the First Give programme. This is the first time I’ve been involved with First Give, and it’s a partnership that I’m very keen to maintain and develop.

Paul Jones, Headteacher

We’re thrilled to have had such a brilliant start to the First Give partnership with Edgar Wood Academy, and we look forward to seeing how they get on in 2024/25. Watch this space, and well done to the staff and students at Edgar Wood Academy! 

First Give would like to extend its gratitude to the Buffini Chao Foundation who supported this first ever programme at Edgar Wood.