Youth Got the Power

DSC 1182 On the 12th of December 2017, 7 alumna of Mulberry School for Girls hosted an event called Youth Got the Power. They worked with the charity Stand Up Speak Out to curate the event which aimed to bring together young people from across London with individuals from varying political backgrounds to discuss issues that matter the most to the youth as well as why youth engagement in politics is so low. The panel consisted of Professor Tim Bale from Queen Mary, QMSU President Yas Yeahia, SOAS Law student and Young Star 2016 Nusrath Hassan, Bristol Politics student Ife Grillo and former Director of Communications to Ex PM David Cameron Giles Kenningham MBE. We were also privileged to be joined by the spoken word poet Anthony Anaxagorou who performed a piece for us. The event led to engaging debate and discussion with an excellent networking opportunity for the school students and the panellists. DSC 1247

Mulberry Arts Conference in its Second Year

A group of committed and passionate Mulberry students took a lead role in planning the conference, which challenged everyone who attended to think about how we can all make sure that everyone in our society is equally represented on screen. We were joined for the conference by leading professionals from across the film and television sectors, including director Phyllida Lloyd, actress Cush Jumbo, producer Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto and cinematographer Anna Valdez Hanks, who spoke inspiringly about their careers and what they are doing to make sure that diversity is championed on screen. Following a stimulating morning of discussions, students were given the opportunity to learn practical skills in a range of workshops focusing on everything from 3D animation to scriptwriting and camera skills. The creators of the recent Channel 4 hit Ackley Bridge also ran a fantastic workshop on how they develop characters for the series. As the conference drew to a close, students reflected on what they had learned throughout the day, and each delegate was asked to make a pledge to do something differently as a result of the day’s conversations. We hope that many of our attendees will be inspired to become the film makers, producers, writers and animators of the future.

Girl Leading Feedback Day

Students shared details of their PLCs with each other, ate lunch together, and took part in some reflection activities to help them to consolidate the work that they have done as part of the project. Award winning performance poet Kat Francois joined us to perform a brand new piece of work about inspiring young women.

We closed the day by announcing the winners of our Personal Leadership Challenge competition, the school whose PLC has been the most successful overall. We were delighted to award the PLC trophy to Wadham School in Somerset. All of the schools who took part in Girl Leading achieved fantastic things, and we are immensely proud of all of the young women who joined us at Somerset in April, and again at Mulberry in July.

Once again, we’d like to thank our partner schools, who supported this project with passion and determination from the beginning. We look forward to future Girl Leading events.


Equality matters at MUN

On 18th July, Mulberry hosted London state schools for the second of our two annual Model United Nations conferences. This year’s summer conference focused on the theme of equality for women and girls, drawing together key topics such as poverty, health, education and violence.

Within the MUN programme, students are able to learn about the structure and functions of the United Nations through assuming the roles of UN council members. Students are allocated to countries in advance, and are expected to spend considerable time researching their country’s stance on the conference topic. Students also undertake training on the processes and procedures of UN committees. On the day of the conference, students are required to engage in fast-paced, often intense debates with council members representing other countries. They must represent the opinions of their allocated country, even if these opinions do not align with their personal attitude towards the conference topic.

MUN provides a stimulating atmosphere in which students are challenged to hone their research, debate and presentation skills, and to thoroughly understand crucial aspects of international politics and diplomacy. 

This year’s summer conference was an exciting, well organised and stimulating event, drawing together some of the best young debaters in the UK. We were delighted to be joined for the first time by a delegation from Green Spring Academy Shoreditch, who provided delegates for committees and two aspiring young journalists for our Press Team. Students from Seven Kings School and Robert Clack School joined Mulberry students as committee Chairs, guiding the debate competently and professionally.

We thank all of our delegates and their schools for joining us, and look forward to the next MMUN conference in winter 2017.

MUN in New York

The students were allocated the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, as their delegate country. In the run up to the conference, they carried out extensive research on the country’s stance on major political and socio-economic issues, thoroughly immersing themselves in the diplomatic context of the country. During the conference itself, they played the role of UN ambassadors in a simulated diplomatic context, taking part in challenging debates with international delegates representing other countries and attempting to reach effective resolutions with other countries and groups of countries. This year, Afsana and Jessica won an award for Honourable Mention in their committee on chemical weapons as a result of their fantastic debate skills. 

Whilst in New York, students explored the city’s rich cultural and artistic life. Students visited key cultural and heritage sites including the Rockefeller Centre, the Statue of Liberty and a city bus tour.

All students were fantastic ambassadors for Mulberry, approaching a challenging trip with poise, determination and a positive attitude. 

Mulberry is the lead UK school for the United Nations Global Classrooms Project, and delivers one of the most extensive Model United Nations Programmes in the country. The second of our two annual conferences for London schools and international schools took place on the 18th July.

Girls in the Lead

Girl Leading was attended by 15 Mulberry students, and 50 students from 10 secondary state schools across London and Somerset. We’d like to say a huge thank you to our partner schools who joined us for the weekend, and our particular thanks go to the teachers who accompanied their students, providing fantastic support and guidance during the entire trip:

  • Isaac Newton Academy
  • Bow School
  • St Philomena’s Catholic High School For Girls
  • Stanchester Academy
  • Wadham School
  • Lister Community School
  • Green Spring Academy Shoreditch
  • Clapton Girls’ Academy
  • Plashet School
  • Ursuline Catholic High School For Girls

The programme took place against the stunning backdrop of the Quantock Hills in Somerset, at Kilve Court residential education centre. Students attended a range of talks and hands-on workshops led by expert speakers and facilitators, took part in some adventurous activities led by the team at Kilve Court, and benefited from a range of teaching resources written and developed by the Women’s Education Office. Through these activities, and through spending time together in a shared residential environment, students on the programme were challenged and encouraged to develop their own leadership skills and their own distinctive leadership style.

Students ended the weekend by planning their own Personal Leadership Challenges: projects to be carried out in their school groups to support the work of the Let Girls Learn campaign in increasing girls’ access to education. PLCs give students the chance to continue independently developing the skills they learned at Girl Leading, and give them the perfect opportunity to support other girls around the world who are denied the right to an education, and therefore denied the chance to become leaders in their own right. Through supporting girls’ access to education, girls at Girl Leading are using their own leadership to help build a world in which every girl can fulfil her potential.

We were joined at Girl Leading by a fantastic range of speakers and workshop facilitators:

Miranda Lowe, Senior Curator at the Natural HistoryMuseum

Suraiya Chowdhury, Diabetes UK, owner of Paper and

Rose events and dessert company, and trainer on the Global Classrooms London Model United Nations programme

Sotez Chowdhury, Head of Organising and Campaigns at WeCanWin

Eliza Rebeiro, Founder of Lives Not Knives

Halla Gunnarsdóttir, Head of Policy and Partnerships at the

Women’s Equality Party

Kat Banyard, Founder and Director of UKFeminista

Georgia Rigg and Rachael Gibbons, RECLAIM Project

Lisiane Ndong, Director of Sapelle Group and Founder of Nilare

Sarah Blumenau, Voice Coach

Deborah Brown, Head of Enterprise Development at CAMFED

Elli Moody and Emma Brodey, Girlguiding UK

We had two fantastic panels on ‘women in leadership’ and ‘leaders of social change’, looking at the issues affecting women leaders and the ways in which leaders use their leadership to drive forward positive social change. We also had a range of workshops on self-esteem and self-care, communication skills and public speaking, community organising and negotiation, leadership by working-class women, campaigning, girls’ education and entrepreneurship. We are hugely grateful to our speakers for giving up their time and expertise. We are also particularly grateful to Women of the Future for helping us to connect with speakers.

Girl Leading was developed in partnership with a Student Leadership committee made up of students in Years 9, 10 and 12. Students had to undergo a rigorous application process, including a written application and interview, in order to earn a place on the committee. The committee met weekly, with additional meetings for sub-committees, and together with our Women’s Education Officer they planned and developed every aspect of Girl Leading.

Students wrote questions for panellists and ‘content guides’ for speakers and facilitators to help them prepare for their panels and workshops; they co-constructed a series of activities to teach students about different leadership styles and role models; they helped to design visuals and literature for the conference, including tote bags, t-shirts, badges and a 53 page programme and workbook. Students helped to select and invite speakers, made key decisions about the structure of

the programme, and gave enormously helpful insights into the issues young women would want to explore at Girl Leading. Students also supported other students during the event in a pastoral capacity, and some girls hosted panel discussions and talks. Since our return from Girl Leading the committee has been working hard on a detailed event evaluation to help us to refine our practice for future events.

We are very proud of the work our Student Leadership Committee has done, and we want to congratulate them on a truly inspiring achievement. 

Dr Vanessa Ogden, CEO of the Mulberry Schools Trust, would like to warmly thank the governing body of Mulberry School For Girls and the Board of Trustees of the Mulberry Schools Trust; the Women’s Education and Extended Learning Team; and the 10 members of Mulberry staff who attended Girl Leading and supported all students and staff throughout the course of the weekend, for their constant dedication to the cause of girls’ education. 

Well done to our Student Leadership Committee

Year 9

Samia Chowdhury

Nabilah Khan

Imaan Shorif

Ruqayyah Tahsin

Sahra Said

Year 10

Tasnim Radiyy

Mahreen Chaiwalla

Sadia Kamaly

Hafsa Rumi

Khadiza Begum

Syeda Khatun

Year 12

Hafzah Mohamed

Ayesha Begum

Abida Sultana

Aniqa Anjum

Sanzida Yasmin

Girl Leading is part-funded by BBC Children In Need – we are enormously grateful to this wonderful charity for their support, and for all that they do to champion young people.