Since 2009, we have championed agency at Torriano. We have been teaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals since their inception in 2015. We know that many of you join us in understanding the importance of this aspect of education.
We strongly believe in developing a new social contract for education – which the majority of educationalists are now starting to prioritise. However, we realise that this understanding of complex issues and opportunity is not enough – we need to give our children the tools to articulate and communicate their ideas through oracy.
Once children know their rights; they can be changemakers and can use the SDGs as a platform to take action. The rights of children are central to the SDGs in the social, economic and environmental spheres.
At Torriano, the SDGs provide relevance in our curriculum. SDGs themes have been integrated across the school and turned into actionable projects within the community. Pupils can see how their agency will create change thereby giving them an intrinsic motivation and moral purpose to learn. As citizens and consumers, young people have values, beliefs and the ability to identify and challenge barriers to change.
The children knew they needed to awaken their communities, they raised their voices to ban single use plastic bottles in 2017 and were instrumental in getting a water fountain installed in Kentish Town by the mayor of London. Also, they have collectively worked with the council, businesses and social enterprise to rewild the school and community, inside and out. They have taken to the streets to raise awareness around gender equality and other issues, using their voices to share their messages.
A case study of our work was included in the UK submission to the UN Voluntary National Review of Progress towards the SDG’s. This was launched at our school by DFid’s Secretary of State, Rory Stewart.