Tuesday, 28 February 2017
The Year 11 girls visited Bolton Lads and Girls Club to learn more about National Citizen Service or NCS, a scheme which encourages young people aged fifteen to seventeen to develop citizenship skills during the school holidays. NCS also provides the opportunity to meet new people, make friends, increase existing skills and help the local community, making it an attractive proposition for young people.
For the past seven years, Bolton School has been working with Bolton Lads and Girls Club to provide NCS as an option to Year 11 pupils. The first year was a small pilot scheme for a small group of Boys’ Division pupils, but ever since then the programme has been offered to the year group as a whole in both Divisions.
NCS is a four-week programme which places young people from all over Bolton in mixed groups, ensuring that everyone involved gets to know people from different backgrounds and lifestyles. The groups take part in a residential week at an outdoor pursuits centre, getting to know one another with team-building and challenging themselves with adventurous activities that improve confidence and leadership skills. The groups also experience university life with a week-long residential placement at Bolton University where they become self-sufficient: budgeting, cooking and cleaning for themselves while also attending lectures to build additional skills, make connections and learn about the issues facing the community. The final two weeks of the NCS programme are dedicated to planning and delivering a community project, which counts as 40 hours of volunteering.
Bolton Lads and Girls Club explained the NCS scheme to the Year 11 pupils before getting them involved in some team-building and giving them a programme of activities to enjoy throughout the club. They tried out the gym equipment, played fast-paced games of indoor football and dodgeball, had a boxing lesson, tried out some new dance moves, and relaxed with pool and table tennis. This gave them a really good overview of Bolton Lads and Girls Club’s facilities while also making for a fun afternoon.
NCS is the perfect complement to Bolton School’s existing Community Action programme, which encourage all Sixth Form pupils to contribute to the local community through volunteering. Activities that Sixth Formers get involved with are wide-ranging, and in recent times have included assisting in local care homes, reading with school children, clearing green spaces, and facilitating disability snowsport sessions. The Sixth Form students log their volunteering hours on the vInspired website to attain certificates based on the number of hours of voluntary work they complete in a year. By introducing Year 11 pupils to the national NCS scheme, the School hopes to foster the same interest and enthusiasm for volunteering lower down the school.
Boys’ Division pupils were introduced to NCS at Bolton Lads and Girls Club earlier in the term.
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