Thursday, 09 February 2017
Boys’ Division pupils in Year 11 visited Bolton Lads and Girls Club to find out more about NCS, or National Citizen Service. This scheme was set up to help young people aged fifteen to seventeen to increase their citizenship skills during the school holidays, while also meeting new people and making friends, developing their abilities and helping out their local area.
Bolton School has now been working with Bolton Lads and Girls Club for the past seven years to offer NCS to Year 11 pupils, beginning with a small pilot scheme for just a few Boys’ Division pupils. Now NCS is introduced to all Year 11 pupils in both Divisions every year. This is the sixth year that the programme has been offered to the whole of the year group.
Bolton Lads and Girls Club explained the NCS scheme to the Year 11 boys before getting them involved in some team-building activities and giving them a programme of activities throughout the club. They were able to try out the gym equipment, have a go at boxing and play dodgeball.
NCS offers the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills while at the same time giving back to their community during four weeks over the course of the year. Young people from all over Bolton take part in mixed groups, meaning that everyone involved in NCS gets to know people from different backgrounds and lifestyles. The groups all take part in a residential week at an outdoor pursuits centre, where they enjoy a range of team-building and adventurous activities that help to improve confidence while also allowing the group to befriend one another. Each group also experiences a taste of university life: a residential week spent in halls at the University of Bolton, during which they attend lectures and activities to build life skills, make connections, and learn more about issues facing the local community. During the last two weeks of the NCS programme, the groups plan and deliver their own community project, totalling 40 hours of voluntary work.
The aim of NCS is to engage young people with volunteering by showing them how much fun it can be, and how it can also be something that benefits them as much as the people they are helping.
The NCS scheme complements Bolton School’s Community Action programme, which encourages all students in the Sixth Form to give back to their local communities. The activities undertaken by Sixth Form students are wide ranging, from helping in local care homes to reading with school children, and have included in recent years clearing green spaces and facilitating disability snowsport sessions which otherwise may not have been able to go ahead. The Sixth Formers log their hours on the vInspired website to attain certificated based on the number of hours of voluntary work they complete in a year. Introducing the Year 11 pupils to the national NCS scheme fosters the same interest and enthusiasm for volunteering lower down the school.
Girls’ Division pupils in Year 11 will be introduced to NCS at Bolton Lads and Girls Club later in the term.
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