Are your pupils #UpForSchool?


The World at School global education movement has launched its #UpForSchool campaign, including a free teaching pack to help tackle a range of related issues in the classroom. Catherine Nyman explains

Education for all the world’s children is a global concern. There are 58 million children who don’t attend school because of child labour, early marriage, conflict and discrimination.

Schools, teachers and pupils are joining together in the #UpForSchool campaign to call on world leaders to ensure every child gets the education they need and deserve. 

#UpForSchool has designed and written a teacher’s pack and comprehensive resources to use alongside lesson plans to support schools and settings to teach about this issue in an engaging and challenging manner.

The lesson plans have been created with key stages 2, 3 and 4 in mind. There are clear references to the new arrangements for the national curriculum in England.

The five lessons can also be reduced in number and also stretched across a two-week block rather than one. Each lesson has new ideas presented, consolidation of previously learned concepts, building key questions, reviewing understanding and proposing research challenges. The research challenges could form the basis of some independent study within and beyond the five-lesson block and the formality of the classroom.

The resources are a powerful blend of real human stories, quotes, photographs and Nick Sharratt’s engaging pictures. This collection of both non-fiction and fiction resources can combine to make the issues immediate and of concern to all passionate educators across the world. The lessons are planned roughly for a 60-minute period, but can be both slimmed down and extended.

These lessons can fit into a unit on world economics, world politics and how education fits into the broader global stage. They are also planned to be taught as a single stand-alone unit. There are opportunities for PSHE and team-work activities, all ending with a variety of outcomes, the main being a campaign plan, a campaign poster and a real-life reason for canvassing support from families and friends.

The pack begins with an opportunity to understand the nature of education as a broad concept that concerns all age groups – children to adults. 

Pupils can discuss what education is, both formal and informal. Aspirations for pupils could be developed here – what is it that our children and young adults want to learn and become? One aspect of developing an enquiring mind is the opportunity to ask and answer questions. 

Key questions are threaded through each lesson, but there is no limit to the questions that could be generated – indeed, students asking their own questions about issues and challenges is often much more meaningful to them.

All the lessons are formatted in a similar way; there are opportunities for plenty of speaking and listening. Drama features highly, role-playing is carefully planned in and the lessons are designed as a creative but coherent journey through the issues that this campaign presents. There is a number of planned outcomes and these vary in style – written and spoken.

Lesson two moves into the barriers and challenges that some children face when attending school. Many children in the world have simply no access to school. For the democratic nations in the world this is hard to understand and certainly for children it is hard to consider how the day would go with no school. Spend some time bringing this situation alive. Lesson two works on building pupils’ understanding of the barriers. Learning about the aspects of journalistic writing is involved too.

Lesson three focuses on the real stories of children without access to education and begins to develop in students an understanding of the world beyond their own country. Political thought begins with a single desire to change something for someone or a group of people. This lesson starts the journey of understanding politics and leadership. The real stories are a powerful way of bringing the issues alive.

Teachers need to preview this material carefully, with the knowledge of their classes in mind. For some recently arrived pupils to the UK these real-life stories would need careful planning and preparation.

Lesson four and five develop the understanding of the wider stage within which this campaign sits. The Millennium Development Goals are taught. Building a campaign for change is a core area of study within this lesson. Developing in students a notion of believing in something and deeply wishing to make a difference. Building the campaign for your school is a key part of lesson five. There are many lesson extension ideas at the end that could form the skeleton of a second week of work on #UpForSchool.

We need your school to support the #UpForSchool petition and help create a message that no politician can ignore. Examine the lessons and the content of the learning journey and apply your own knowledge of your context and pupils. 

And why now? In 2000, world leaders made a promise enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals to get every boy and girl in school by 2015. Through the petition, we will put pressure on them when they meet at the United Nations in September. Big numbers of people mobilising over an issue demands our attention and our consideration. Encourage our young people to care about the future for our global population of young people across the world.

  • Catherine Nyman, who designed the #UpForSchool pack, is an experience teacher and is currently regional director for south central for Achievement for All.

Further information
To download the #UpForSchool schools pack, visit
PHOTO: Sign up: Students from UK schools gather to launch the #UpForSchool petition; pupils at school in Bangladesh (Photos: A World at School)


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