'Why we think the National Citizen Service is the jewel in the crown of our school’s local community work'
David Elstone, head at Hymers College, outlines why his school is involved with the National Citizen Service scheme and details the benefits it provides to the local community.
For the past four or five years we have participated in the National Citizen Service (NCS). It is, in my opinion, the jewel in the crown of the school’s work in the local community. Hymers is located less than a mile from Hull city centre and is, as a result, a major contributor to city projects.
We have been especially fortunate to be selected as a Local Delivery Partner, (LDP) meaning we are essentially a training provider. In 2014 we were approached to become an LDP because of our excellent links within the local community. After a slow start we have never looked back.
As an LDP the school recruits students, not only from our own Year 11 but from other schools within the city of Hull. This year over 200 students enjoyed a week’s outward bound course, staying at a YHA Centre. Students can get involved in a wide array of activities from potholing to climbing, many of which will take them outside of their comfort zone. The students then return to Hull to undertake a number of activities within the city whilst staying in university accommodation. During the second week, pupils decide which local community project they would like to help. In week three, each student gives 30 hours of time to their chosen project. Our experience is that the students are genuinely very proud of their achievements and, over the course of the three week programme, made friends for life.
The student grapevine is very positive towards NCS and we have seen the number of our own Year 11s increase each year. In 2018 we took 60 Hymers students on the NCS programme. Some students feel it will enhance their UCAS applications.
We have also noticed the students who participate in the NCS scheme are the ones most likely to volunteer in the sixth form and at university.
For the school, the NCS programme has further strengthened our reputation within the local area. In a recent survey fed back to us, parents demonstrated how much they valued our contributions in the local community and how beneficial they felt this area of education was to their children. Some parents have reported that their children are increasingly aware of the issues facing the people of Hull as a result of their participation in NCS.
The NCS is a unique opportunity genuinely to help those members of our society who are less fortunate.
Whilst I am very proud that Hymers College is the only independent school to be an LDP and that we have the largest number of participants amongst independent schools, I would urge all heads seriously to consider participating in the National Citizen Service. You will not regret it!