At the end of May, BAFTA embarked on its second year of BAFTA Kids Roadshows with children’s mental health charity Place2Be, visiting a primary school in Croydon. With the Roadshow planning to appear at a further 10 locations across the UK this year, we returned to Rock Ferry School in the Wirral to find out how the Roadshow’s visit in 2017 has made a lasting impact on children and staff alike.
Words and interview by Toby Weidmann
In 2017, BAFTA first partnered with children’s mental health charity Place2Be on a series of schools events to champion creativity and showcase soft skills, which are important for emotional wellbeing and career progression. We embarked on a nationwide BAFTA Kids Roadshow to schools that benefit from Place2Be’s mental health support work, visiting 11 schools across the UK (from Edinburgh to Gillingham).
The overwhelmingly positive response was better than we could have ever imagined and we’re excited that our partnership with Place2Be has been extended to 2019. With Year 2 of the Roadshows having just launched at the end of May 2018, and plans to visit a further 10 locations across the UK throughout the rest of the year, we thought it was an opportune time to revisit one of the schools that benefitted from the initiative in 2017.
Just over a year ago, the BAFTA Kids Roadshow visited Rock Ferry Primary School in Merseyside. The presenters Ben Shires (Officially Amazing) and Katie Thistleton (CBBC Book Club) hosted the event and they were joined by a special guest, BAFTA-nominated actress Leona Vaughan (from CBBC’s Wolfblood). The order of the day included a Key Stage 2 (KS2) assembly for Years 3 through 6 (pupils aged between 7 and 11 years old), followed by a round table with children who had benefitted from Place2Be’s in-school support. Ben and Katie also held a television presenting masterclass and officially opened the school’s sensory garden, which had been worked on by a group of boys who had previously exhibited challenging behaviour.
The Roadshow exceeded our expectations and gave both the children and staff such a buzz... The children are still talking about it now
“The Roadshow exceeded our expectations and gave both the children and staff such a buzz,” says head teacher Sara Radley. “From the vibrant assembly – seeing the children recognising the personalities they knew from the television – to the presenting masterclass, which everyone enjoyed immensely, it’s had a lasting impact. The children are still talking about it now, a year on.”
Radley’s reaction, indeed her description of the hugely positive response of the school’s children and staff, is one that we saw repeated throughout year one of our Roadshows with Place2Be. Witnessing the look of pure joy on a child’s face is a remarkable thing, but the Roadshows are also about inspiring discovery and championing creativity.
Radley says: “At that first assembly, I remember one Year 4 girl, Tegan, whose favourite programme is Wolfblood, the look on her face when Leona Vaughan walked in was simply magical. But the whole assembly was vibrant, it really engaged the children and fit in with our school’s philosophy of growth mindsets. Leona said how she had had to persevere and Ben revealed he’d changed his career path. Hearing them talk about that, about persevering, having resilience and just having a go, and then seeing the children make that connection between real-life and not just something we talk about in school was great. Some of the children have since said how their aspirations have changed.”
The television presenting masterclass has universally been a highlight of the Roadshow. So much so that BAFTA has worked with Place2Be to create an online activity pack for teachers, which includes ideas and suggested activities for the schoolroom and an introductory video, featuring Shires and Thistleton, that can be played in class (find out more here).
Everyone adored the masterclass in the afternoon,” confirms Radley. “It gave the children the opportunity to really get involved with good purposeful speaking and listening
“Everyone adored the masterclass in the afternoon,” confirms Radley. “It gave the children the opportunity to really get involved with good purposeful speaking and listening, while also allowing them to see what goes into making great television. The staff and pupils really came out of it buzzing.”
The positive impact on the children was immediate, Radley notes, explaining how, later on in the day, a Q&A panel was set up with the school’s council and Shires and Thistleton, which saw the children quizzing them using the techniques they had earlier learned in the masterclass. “We felt there were some great and very insightful questions asked,” says Radley. “They had clearly been inspired by what they had seen earlier in the day. To see them have that dialogue, in quite a sophisticated way, was lovely. All of us felt very proud.”
While all of the BAFTA Kids Roadshows are special, there does seem to be something extra rewarding about the events we hold with Place2Be. The partnership began at Children’s Mental Health Week (CMHW) in early 2017, with the launch of a competition to create a superhero that represented the power of kindness.
In 2018, we created a new competition for CMHW with the theme of ‘Being Ourselves’; while we may be similar to our family and friends, there are things that make us individual, too. The competition encouraged children to rejoice these differences by drawing a ‘selfie’ and writing a few lines about why it’s good to celebrate Being Ourselves. Twelve winners had their selfies made into a wonderful animated short by the BAFTA-winning studio Karrot Entertainment, creators of Sarah & Duck, which is currently being played at all our BAFTA Kids Roadshows. We have already visited schools in Croydon, Cardiff, Bradford and Durham this summer, and there are plans to visit locations in Blackburn and Salford, Margate, Stevenston in North Ayrshire, Edinburgh, the East Midlands and East Anglia.
to be given the opportunity to engage with BAFTA was something we grasped with both hands
BAFTA and Place2Be’s successful partnership is a rewarding one. And it’s one that has not only had an immediate impact on young minds, but made a lasting impression too. “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect beforehand,” concludes Radley, “but what the Roadshow brought to the school matched our ethos and what our vision for the children is. It’s about aspiration, it’s about growth mindsets, it’s about speaking and listening. I feel these have to be at the heart of everything we do if we want to improve outcomes at all levels. And the Roadshow totally fit with that ethos... We love Place2Be, it’s brought so much to our school, and so to be given the opportunity to engage with BAFTA was something we grasped with both hands. We loved it and would love to have the Roadshow back again.”
Find out more about Place2Be here.