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Frome College Year 10 & 13 students took to the Merlin Theatre stage on Earth Day, 22 April for a presentation to their parents and special guests.  The College was privileged to welcome one of the most influential and respected world leaders, His Excellency Mohamed Nasheed, former President of the Maldives.

Frome Cadets welcomed the distinguished guests to the Theatre, including members of Frome Rotary Club and former Frome Mayor, Peter McFadden.  


© David Chedgy Photograhy

Year 10 students gave outstanding presentations on particular aspects of climate change and human rights including issues of gender, women in politics, democracy and freedom of speech and how we can all play our part in tackling climate change. 

The presentations were the culmination of 8 weeks of research on a Social Justice Module planned and delivered by University of Bath’s researcher, Ioannis Costas Batlle and students, Lydia Salter and Robin Guy, part of the College’s work with the University’s Widening Participation Office.

Year 13 A level students presented a thoroughly researched, perceptive and articulate assessment of the issues surrounding the Maldives and introduced a fantastic audience participation question and answer session.    

Chris Curtis, who had introduced the evening and stated the President, was a beacon of light for climate change and human rights said “Your achievements at the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 are extraordinary and will be a lasting legacy for all time.  The agreement for world leaders to honour the 350 PPM for CO2 emissions will be one of the most important decisions of our generation.” The Presidents’ words from the Copenhagen summit were also quoted: “If we cannot save the Maldives today, then what hope is there to save England tomorrow”.

The result was a stunning evening of presentations and an inspirational talk about important issues in the world given by His Excellency, who is the first ever democratically elected leader of the Maldives.  He gave an inspirational speech to the audience and emphasised the need for every country to place human rights and tackling climate change at the forefront of its policy making.  He said he was deeply moved by the passion and determination of Frome College students, and congratulated them on the exceptional levels of research and understanding they had shown in a truly unique evening.  The President gave a moving account of the many challenges he has had to overcome including being sent to prison as an innocent man on many occasions and being tortured twice.  

His Excellency wishes to build on the success of the evening and expressed a wish to continue to keep in contact with Frome College and forge exciting links with the people of the Maldives.  He planted an apple tree near the Merlin Theatre, and a plaque to recognise his contribution to the world stage will be unveiled in the near future.

We would like to thank Frome Rotary Club for sponsoring the event, Combe Grove Manor in Bath for generously providing accommodation, The little Flower Co for the beautiful flower arrangements, Emma Chapman Pottery for the bowl presented to the First Lady and to Grace Barnes in Year 12 for her fantastic portrait of the President, which she presented to His Excellency on stage.

The presentation was organised by Hana Thompson and Chris Curtis as part of the progression with the Able & Ambitious Programme at the University of Bath.  Other guest speakers also gave inspirational and eloquent talks on the issues of climate change. 

The University of Bath Widening Participation Office (WPO) has an ongoing relationship with Frome College to plan innovative activities for the students. The KS4 Project is aimed at the school’s Able & Ambitious students within Key Stage 4, therefore Years 9 to 11.  It is designed to stretch and challenge the students while encouraging them to see going to university as a viable, attainable option.

The WPO offers 2 after school 6 week projects each year run by University PhD students. After each project the students prepare a presentation and deliver it to members of the senior management team at the school, parents and representatives from the WPO. 

The WPO also offers sessions across the year on transferable skills such as presentation skills, revision techniques and writing for different audiences. Each project has an element that is delivered at the University campus, giving the students the opportunity to develop the necessary wider skills for Higher Education study, for example communication and presentation skills and breaking down some of the barriers towards Higher Education.

Since February, the Year 10 project has been Social Justice with specific reference to the situation in The Maldives.

Commenting upon the presidential visit, Sam Wenman WP Outreach Programme Manager, said: “We have really enjoyed working closely with Frome College for the past 2 academic years. Feedback from the teachers and students alike has been equally positive and reassuring. This presidential visit is a wonderful experience for the students and gives them first-hand exposure to the real world.”

Ioannis Costas Batlle, a PhD Research Programme student in Education working on the KS4 Project added: “I have really enjoyed working with the students since February. Their passion for social justice came across during each of our sessions. It’s one thing to study a topic, but to hear from someone actively involved in social justice is something else entirely. I think this experience will have an impact upon their attitude towards education going forward, and will hopefully increase their appetite for Higher Education.”

The Widening Participation Office at the University of Bath is responsible for a wide range of widening participation activities designed for under-represented groups who have the potential to benefit from Higher Education. http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/teachers-advisers-parents/widening-participation/index.html   

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