Foundation Update | Go Forward Programme
Go Forward is a secondary school intervention programme, where a Project Officer of the Saracens Foundation is situated in a school and delivers sessions to young people in areas of severe deprivation.
The main aims of the Go Forward are to empower, enable, and educate the participants on the benefits of working hard in school, and focusing on preparing for their future after High School. Our two current schools that the Saracens Foundation work with are Capital City Academy and Kingsbury High School, both located in the Brent area of North London.
This year in Kingsbury High School, the Go Forward Project has been off to a tremendous start this school year working with a group of Year 7 Students who have struggled with the adjustment from primary school to high school, especially through the challenges of the various lockdowns. The Go Forward participants have shown signs of; anxiety, behavioural challenges, and social difficulties, which have put them at the risk of exclusion from lessons, hindering their development.
The cohort of 11 different Year 7 students have participated in activities such as Football, Basketball, and Rugby games all focused on developing their interpersonal skills during the session. Alongside this, the participants have begun goal setting, and learning about the benefits of setting realistic goals and achieving them, which are incentives given by the Saracens Foundation.
The progress made by the participants so far has been astronomical, as more than 80% of participants have reduced their behavioural demerits from the start of the 2nd term of the year, showing the instant impact that Go Forward has had on the Year 7 group who need the extra motivation from a project officer dedicated to helping them improve their lives. Karam is a participant who struggled with his behaviour earlier in the year, however since attending the sessions and working with Go Forward, he has not had any behavioural demerits in 3 weeks, which demonstrates his new commitment to self-improvement. Ella Powell, head of Year 7 at Kingsbury has said “Karam has begun to show signs of improved behaviour and self-development, I am glad to see him working hard.”
Alongside the immediate impact the Go Forward project has on the young people’s lives, we also focus on their future, and what their actions may be after High School. One of our main aims is to create an environment that limits young people becoming NEET, or Not in Education Employment or Training, after High School. Go Forward aims at educating its participants on the options that they have for the future, and have catered sessions lead by employability experts, to explain what their options are, in so they can begin to think about what possibilities the future holds for them.
As a reward for their hard work and dedication to self-improvement, at the end of school year the participants are invited to a residential trip for 3 days where they can experience activities such as kayaking, obstacle courses, and orienteering in a beautiful nature environment in the South of England. Many of the young people have never been more than 10 miles from their home, and this experience will allow them to showcase their independence and maturity that they have developed through the year at Go Forward sessions.
A further aspect of Go Forward is working with other groups of young people and assisting them in becoming role models for those that are junior to them. In February, the Saracens Foundation lead a mentorship seminar, in which a group of 14 Year 9 Students at Kingsbury High School learnt about how to best help their younger peers and became more knowledgeable in helping others.
To best integrate with our community, Go Forward offers a series of summer camps filled with both outdoor and indoor activities for Year 6 students in primary schools partnered with our existing secondary partners, Kingsbury and Capital. This summer, over 200 Year 6 Students will have the opportunity to participate in activities run by the Saracens Foundation, at their new secondary school, Kingsbury High School. This will allow them to become familiar with their new school environment and allow the project officer to monitor possible future participants.