Citizenship Day 2022
Celebrating ‘More in Common’
Citizenship Day is a much-valued date in the Withington school calendar. It is a day when pupils are encouraged to think carefully about their role as citizens. This year, the theme for the day was ‘More in Common’, a sentiment that acknowledges, challenges and seeks to understand social division.
After a three-year hiatus from off-site activities on Citizenship Day, this year activities again took place both in the local community and in school with all pupils, from Transition to Sixth Form, having a role to play. We also welcomed local senior citizens into school to enjoy the Big Jubilee Lunch and Concert, their first time visiting Withington since December 2019. Through art, music, conversation and collaboration, Withington celebrated ‘More in Common’.
Community projects included the ‘Clean and Green’ initiative in Withington village, mural painting at St James’ Primary School in Rusholme, a tidy-up of the outdoor area at the Old Moat Children’s Centre, and another team wrapped books and read to nursery and reception children at Old Moat Primary School. Year 12 pupils also volunteered at the Fallowfield and Withington Foodbank after donations were made by families and staff during the build-up to Citizenship Day.
Within school, Years 7 and 8 worked with Figen Murray, who lost her son Martin in the Manchester Arena attack in 2017 and has since campaigned to promote peace and spread the message that hate fuels hate through her ‘peace bears’, which pupils had the opportunity to create that afternoon. Pupils in Year 9 and above attended a talk by Ije McDougall, who educates communities about xenophobia. The talk conveyed the key message that all human beings share something in common and as a result no one should be excluded.
Scarlett in Year 10 said: “Ije gave us a very eye-opening talk on xenophobia. It was such an enjoyable experience as she really created a ‘safe space’ in the room where many people contributed and gave their ideas. She is a great speaker as she was extremely informative as well as an interesting, funny woman, who really got everyone talking and left them thinking.”
Synonymous with Citizenship Day is the musical concert for senior citizens which this year took the form of the Big Jubilee Lunch and Concert. Over 100 guests joined us in our spacious (and beautifully decorated!) new dining room, with a delicious afternoon tea created by GCSE Food and Nutrition pupils, table decorations by the Design Technology Department and entertainment provided by our senior school musicians and junior school pupils who sang, danced, and paraded their Jubilee hats. Our guests were well looked after by Year 10 pupils, who provided a steady stream of tea and coffee, and held a raffle and pre-loved stall supported once again by generous donations.
We have received some lovely messages and words of thanks from guests:
I would just like to send my sincere thank you to the staff and pupils for a wonderful afternoon. Your hard work in the preparations is much appreciated. The musicians and singers are very talented and I wish them well in their future.
Thank you to everyone who was in any way involved in the wonderful Jubilee Concert. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon and, to cap it all, to come home with a huge hamper! A heartfelt thank you to all.
I would just like to thank you for a truly great afternoon of tea and entertainment. From start to finish it was a real celebration of joy and happiness. The girls that came and chatted to us were a credit to their school. Thank you for inviting me.
The day was well documented thanks to the 17-strong pupil media team from Years 9 and 12. They covered the many elements of the event in a superb publication entitled ‘Withington Unites’ which you can view below.
Mrs Collard, Head of PSHCE, said: “It was fantastic to see the school community coming together for Citizenship Day. It was a real celebration of community, and the various activities encapsulated our theme ‘More in Common’. I am very grateful to our key speakers, Figen Murray and Ije McDougall who both delivered powerful talks to our pupils and to all the community groups and schools who accepted Withington volunteers; there were many new partnerships this year and I look forward to working with them again. It was a pleasure to see the delight of the Senior Citizens as they watched the Jubilee Concert. Well done to all the staff and pupils who took part in Citizenship Day this year.”