High Hopes for Looked After Children at Highgate

By March 25, 2014 Recent Projects

On Saturday 15th March 2014, Future Foundations and Highgate School delivered “High Hopes for Highgate”, a Chrysalis Partnership one day programme.

Looked after Children and their carers from Haringey, Barnet and Islington took part in activities where they were able to recognise their existing talents and helped them consider skills they would like to develop using arts and crafts. They also took part in lab experiments, where we looked at synthesis and decomposition as well as the characteristics of hydrogen.

The programme was Course Directed by Bokani Tshidzu and our Future Foundations coaches were Michael Logue, Hannah Pickett and Ella Simms.

The plenary for the day was inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.” In this book Gladwell challenges how we look at the ‘underdog,’ bringing to our attention that it was skill and not luck which made David an excellent marksman, and moreover that David had insisted in demonstrating his talent. His confidence in his ability led to the defeat of Goliath, which meant the saving of David’s people and David becoming King.

In the spirit of this we looked not only at our more obvious talents, but also at the strengths and skills we may not know we possess.

The young people were asked how much they enjoyed the day on a scale of 1-10. The average score was 8.8, with half of attendees giving 10 out of 10.

It was fantastic to hear the young people speaking up about their talents and expressing them in a creative way. We are really excited about the potential of this project to make a difference on the aspirations and confidence of the students.

Ella Simms, Project Manager

The most popular secret strength was singing, with others saying not many people knew they were really good at looking after young children.

After thinking about the skills we already have we then started looking at skills we would like to learn, some in the next year or two and others far into the future. This activity led to some beautiful work being created, with the team remarking how impressed they were at how quickly the young people came up with ideas that they quickly turned into art.

After the arts and crafts session, the young people took part in a truly explosive science lab experiment in which everybody had a good scream – carers and staff included!

The day was part of a broader Chrysalis Accelerator programme targeted at Looked After Children (LAC), to raise their aspirations, attainment and confidence leading to successful applications to Higher Education and into work.   The initiative has been developed by Highgate School and Future Foundations, in partnership with the virtual heads of Haringey, Enfield, Islington and Barnet.