A Derby road trip to introduce our new schools resources

Pippa Rowen, the project lead for modern slavery in the Diocese of Derby, recently took the opportunity to introduce her diocese to our new schools resources, engaging four schools and professionals from across the area in the process. We hear from her how she did it.

Originally, we had arranged to hold a series of sessions in Derby Cathedral to launch the material and resources locally with primary and secondary schools; followed by an evening school practitioners’ seminar. For some reason that format didn’t gain a lot of traction, so we started approaching schools individually through our clergy who have strong links with schools.

This worked much better, and we ended up with five sessions booked in on the day, two with primary schools; one secondary; a sixth form college; and finally practitioners in the evening. We even had to turn down a couple of schools in the end! We invited Phil Knight, the CEO of Just Enough, the organisation who partnered with The Clewer Initiative to develop the materials, to deliver the sessions on the day.

Having Phil with us was great, because not only was he a brilliant presenter, he was also a real draw for some of the schools. One teacher said she had taken a look at Just Enough’s website and was really impressed by what she saw, and then was even more impressed to learn that their CEO would be coming to teach her class!

It was interesting to see where the teachers decided to put the lessons in their timetable. The secondary school used a year seven history lesson. Their curriculum topic touched on historical slavery, from Roman times to the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Their teacher felt that the children would gain from having a modern perspective on the problem.

With the sixth formers, we were placed in a Psychology lesson, which seemed an odd fit into their studies. Then we learned that several of the students were going on to study subjects like law, policy and social work, so actually learning about modern slavery fitted. The nature of Phil’s presentation was different due to the group being a bit older. He was able to challenge them directly about their responsibilities as citizens, their career aspirations, and presuming a comfortable life. He prompted them to consider why people living in poverty seek a better life: that lack of opportunity makes them vulnerable to exploitation and then they become trapped in modern slavery.

Both key stage two and three lessons were highly interactive with participation from all children – lots of excitement and energy. The sixth formers were more comfortable engaging in a traditional lesson format. Phil was excellent at reading the room! The younger children were given an End Slavery wrist band, whilst the young people received the Derby & Derbyshire modern slavery partnership newsletter to reinforce that slavery happens around them.

Our final session was in the evening, hosted by Derby Cathedral. We had invited a range of practitioners from children’s work: teachers, safeguarding links, diocesan officers and clergy. We were pleased with the broad sector attendance, including the local authorities. Phil walked them through the materials, explaining how to present them in an engaging and interesting way. By the end everyone was on board, and we’ve already set up two follow on meetings to discuss how we will distribute the resources though our networks!

Take a look at the resources at www.modernslaverylessons.com