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Wednesday, 04 February 2015
The Year 11 boys travelled down to Bolton Lads and Girls Club for an introduction to National Citizen Service. Also known as NCS, this scheme was set up to help young people aged sixteen and up to develop themselves and their citizenship skills during the school holidays.
For the past five years, Bolton School has worked with Bolton Lads and Girls Club to encourage Year 11 pupils to take part in NCS. This started off as a small pilot scheme with a handful of Boys’ Division pupils taking part, but has since become a high-profile programme involving all of the Year 11 boys and girls. This is the fourth year that NCS has been offered to the whole year group.
For boys who choose to take part, NCS is a great chance to develop a variety of skills while at the same time giving back to the local community. Young people from across Bolton take part, and are split into mixed groups, allowing them to mix with people from different lifestyles and backgrounds – and giving everyone involved the opportunity to make new friends. The groups take part in a residential week at an outdoor pursuits centre, taking part in a range of adventure activities and working on team building. This experience encourages NCS participants to get to know each other while also improving their confidence. Each group is then given a taste of university life with another residential week, during which time they live in halls at the University of Bolton. There are also lectures and activities to help build life skills, make connections, and learn more about the issues facing the local community. Finally, during the last two weeks of the NCS programme, the groups plan and deliver community projects which count as 40 hours of voluntary work.
The aim of NCS is to engage young people with volunteering by showing them that it is something fun that can also benefit them.
Bolton Lads and Girls Club explained NCS to the Year 11 boys before giving them a programme of activities throughout the Club. These included football on the astroturf outside, basketball and dodgeball games in the gym, a boxing class in the basement, and time to relax with games of ping-pong and pool – though even these got quite competitive! The boys were obviously having a fantastic time throughout the afternoon, and threw themselves into each of the activities with great enthusiasm.
This exercise has hopefully shown them the great facilities at Bolton Lads and Girls Club, and encouraged them to take part in NCS this summer.
The NCS scheme is a great complement to Bolton School’s existing Community Action programme, which encourages Sixth Form pupils to give back to their local communities. Activities range from helping out in care homes and reading with school children to clearing green spaces and facilitating disability snowsport sessions. Introducing the Year 11s to this national scheme will hopefully foster their interest in volunteering lower down the school, as well as encouraging them to continue to be more involved as they get older.
The Year 11 girls were similarly introduced to NCS earlier in the term.
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