Luton Agents for Change Project

Young People Raising Awareness of and Combating Islamophobia

EqualiTeach have secured funding from Building a Stronger Britain Together programme to work with young people in Luton to deliver a project called Agents for Change: Islamophobia.

The project involves young people from four secondary schools and four primary schools working together to raise awareness of and combat Islamophobia in their schools and communities. The programme empowers young people to become active citizens, raising awareness of an issue that impacts them, and/or their friends, family and community.

The project is running from September 2019 to December 2019 and builds upon a successful pilot that EqualiTeach delivered in Tower Hamlets from November 2017-May 2018.
You can read the evaluation of this project here.  

Some of the resources used in the Luton project were produced by the young people in Tower Hamlets. Others were produced consultation with leading Muslim academics and equality experts working in the field of education and trialled and refined in the Tower Hamlets project.

If you would like further information, our Faith in Us resource includes a list of the schools and consultants involved inside the back cover.

Initial consultation and planning days

26 young people from 5 schools came together for an initial consultation and planning day on Thursday 12th September. The day featured a carousel of group discussions, workshops and action planning, and featured a workshop on experiences of Islamophobia delivered by Sukaina Manji and a presentation on reporting Hate Crime from Police Sergeant Carl Perri.

At the end of the planning day, pupils were supported to action plan ways in which they would like to challenge Islamophobia, in their schools and local community. 

Results

100% of the young people who participated said that they were looking forward to making changes back in their schools.

Im looking forward to the rest of the project because..."

  • I don’t want my schoolmates being Islamophobic.
  • I want to make a difference.
  • If everyone was in harmony at school, it would be good.
  • Everyone is equal and everyone should be respected and I want to help.
  • we can inspire others.
  • we get to change things!

Next Steps

In the next steps of the project the young people are going to undertake work around the following three areas:

Creating awareness raising resources

A local Luton artist (Sophie Gresswell) is working with the young people to develop an advertising campaign, which will feature on posters, leaflets and in newsletters and magazines to raise awareness of the harm of Islamophobia and hate crime more generally and what people can do about it.

Educating their peers

The young people will work with EqualiTeach to develop workshops and assemblies which can be delivered to their peers. EqualiTeach will support the young people to deliver these workshops in their schools. Secondary pupils will have the opportunity to visit local primary schools to deliver the workshops.

Creating ways in which pupils in their school can easily report identity-based bullying and receive support

Pupils will work with their teachers to come up with new ways in which their reporting systems for identity-based bullying and their support systems for those targeted, can be strengthened and implement these in their schools. EqualiTeach will meet with the young people at regular points to provide additional guidance and support in developing and delivering their initiatives.

Teacher Training

In order to ensure that schools are providing the best possible environments for the young people to implement their initiatives. EqualiTeach will provide twilight teacher training sessions for the staff at the partnership schools. The aims of this training will be to:

  • Illustrate the reality and impact of Islamophobia on young people
  • Remove barriers and combat myths which can prevent successful engagement with work to counter Islamophobic attitudes
  • Identify ways to effectively challenge negative attitudes to create positive change
  • Equip participants to recognise and respond effectively to Islamophobic incidents
  • Help participants understand the importance of recording prejudice-related incidents and support schools to ensure that their reporting systems are effective

Sessions will be interactive and participatory and adapted to the needs of each school.

Partnerships

EqualiTeach is keen to work in partnership with local community organisations in the development and delivery of this programme.

Further to our community meeting that we held on Thursday 29th August 2019, we are happy for more people to be involved in the project and to take questions and share further information.

Be involved

If you are interested in being involved or finding out more please contact –
Sarah Soyei,
Head of Strategy and Development,
01480470660
sarah@equaliteach.co.uk

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