6 February 2018
Last year, almost one third of the Year 11 cohort at Bolton School Girls’ Division took part in National Citizen Service (NCS): a three to four week experience for young people aged 15 to 18 which gives them the opportunity develop themselves and their citizenship skills during the school holidays.
Since 2010, Bolton School has been working with Bolton Lads and Girls Club to encourage pupils in Year 11 to sign up for NCS. This started off as a pilot scheme with just a few Boys’ Division pupils, but is now a programme rolled out annually to the entire year group across both the Girls’ Division and Boys’ Division. 33 Girls’ Division pupils joined NCS last year, while in the Boys’ Division there were 18 participants.
The current Year 11 girls recently visited Bolton Lads and Girls Club to find out more about the NCS scheme for themselves and to enjoy a programme of activities throughout the Club. They took part in competitive pool and table tennis matches, art, football, boxing, a gym fitness session, took on the climbing wall, and put their problem-solving skills to the test with an activity and the team-building ‘pass the banana’ game. There was also an important session explaining how NCS works, which will hopefully have caught their interest and inspired them to sign up.
NCS offers the chance to develop new skills and simultaneously give back to the local community. Young people from across the town take part and are split into mixed groups, so there is also plenty of opportunity to make friends from different lifestyles and backgrounds. Each group takes part in an outdoor pursuits residential week, enjoying a range of activities to encourage confidence and team bonding. Participants take part in a second residential in a university-style environment, living alongside their team while attending lectures and activities to build a range of skills, from photography to football coaching and many more. Finally, the teams make a difference to the local community through a social action project which they plan and deliver, counting as 40 hours of voluntary work.
The aim of NCS is to engage young people with volunteering by showing them that it can be fun and beneficial to them.
The NCS scheme complements Bolton School’s Community Action programme, through which Sixth Form students are encouraged to help their local communities and volunteer for a minimum of 20 hours over the course of the academic year. Many students vastly exceed this: last year, 25 students across both Divisions achieved a Gold Volunteering Award for completing 100 hours of volunteering between September and April. By introducing the Year 11 students to NCS, the School hopes to foster an interest in volunteering lower down the school which will encourage their active involvement in Sixth Form projects.
Later in the Spring Term, the Year 11 boys will be similarly introduced to NSC with a visit to Bolton Lads and Girls Club.