What is Flip The Script Friday?
Flip The Script Friday is an event that takes place on a fortnightly basis where we invite organisations/adults onto our website/social media to answer the questions that young people have for them.
Why is it a thing?
This is an opportunity for young people’s voices to be heard and to have their questions answered. But equally, it’s a chance to destigmatize the discussion of mental health, highlight the great work that organisations are doing and to make reaching out for support from them less intimidating.
We collaborated with, Cost of the School Day Project. Our plans were to work with the whole school community to discuss financial barriers to participating in classroom activities (for example, sports kits, equipment to complete homework), and discuss the impact that living in a low income household has, particularly in relation to bullying, stigma, and mental health issues. Since the schools are under so much pressure lately, I’m attempting to speak to as many children and young people as possible in an informal manner, so attempting to reach out to local organisations who already have those contacts.
Meet the Employees
Kath and Rhian – School Practitioner for the Cost of the School Day Project. We talk to children about the Cost of the School Day and how that has an effect on children because of the funding. At the moment, we are networking because of Covid-19 and this opportunity was great as it gives young people a chance to be involved that suits them.
We had so many questions sent in by young people to our Instagram @platfform4yp and here are some of the highlights!
What do you think of flip the script?
Rhian: I think it’s a great way to empower young people to think about what matters to them and it reminds us oldies (talking for myself, not Kath) of what’s important to young people and why we should take notice and listen.
Kath: I love the concept and agree that it’s a great way of breaking down barriers between young people and organisations. I hope it will go a long way to help young people feel like they can talk to us about their experiences, and understand that we’re here to help!
What does Cost of the School day mean?
We want to work with everyone in the school community; pupils, parents, school staff, visitors, to work out what costs families face going to school, for example, school uniform, afterschool clubs, equipment. We work together to help the school to develop an action plan on how they can reduce costs, and support them to try new ideas.
Is this project across Wales?
We do a lot of work across Wales, for example, promoting free school meals entitlements, assessing pupil access to digital equipment, and training staff members, but myself and Rhian work directly in schools in Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
How and why did you become a school practitioner for the Child Poverty Action Group?
Kath: I saw the job advertised when I was on maternity leave after having my two children; I was unsure what I was going to do when my maternity leave ended, as I was working on a short term project so couldn’t go back to my old job. This will probably sound a bit cheesy but it was like CPAG had written my dream job; it was the perfect mix of all the jobs I’d had in the past and I knew I had to apply for it. I am a huge advocate for children’s rights and I really want our project to put children and young people at the heart of everything we do.
Rhian: I got sent the job description by a very good friend who knew all the things I love about a job and she thought I’d like it. I knew immediately that I wanted to go for it. I love that the job involves talking directly to children and young people as you always learn so much by listening to their viewpoints.
What do I need to do to one day get a similar job to you?
Be passionate about your subject. Attend training if you can, there are lots of free courses delivered by your local council for voluntary services. It may be hard at the moment, but offer to volunteer to get experience in the work environment; I volunteered at my local youth club and a primary school to get my initial experience. Follow and engage with charitable organisations on Twitter. But I think the main thing is to be determined and committed.
Were there any misconceptions that you had before you started working as a school practitioner but now have changed the longer you work for the Child Poverty Action Group?
Rhian: I’ve only been in the role for a couple of weeks but in that time, I’ve seen already how important it is to put the experience of children and young people at the heart of our work and let that be the guide for the direction of the project.
Kath: I didn’t have any misconceptions as such, but I didn’t realise how much of the role would allow me to think on my feet and take the lead on some really interesting pieces of work.
Following on from that, are there any misconceptions about the work you do, that you would like to tell young people?
Kath: Firstly, I would really like people to understand that poverty can, and does, affect anyone, from any walk of life, regardless of your background. Secondly, I think a lot of my family think I get to sit down at home a lot and drink lots of tea (which is true), but the job is so varied, I meet new people every day from all walks of life, each with their own ideas and stories to tell.
What was your favourite subject in school and why?
Rhian: I loved English. I used to love escaping into a new world every time I picked up a book. It was always more interesting than the one I actually lived in!
Kathryn: Kathryn: I loved history. I wasn’t particularly good at it but had a great teacher who made our lessons really engaging and hands on. She seemed to understand my learning style, and I really enjoyed her lessons. In the summer, we’d have all our lessons on the grass outside, and every inch of her classroom was covered in graffiti from previous year groups with inspirational messages; I liked that every one of her lessons had some fun to it.
By the end of the flip the script, what is the most important thing that you want young people to take away from this experience?
Kath: That people working in organisations like ours really do care about your opinions and views. And that we are really nice people to talk to!
Rhian: That they have a voice. That they are listened to and valued by many organisations. That what they think and feel matters.
What change do you hope to see in the future from the work with the Cost of the School Day Project?
Rhian: That every pupil can go into their school and not feel left out of anything or made to feel different because they don’t have as much money as some of the other pupils might have.
Kathryn: I couldn’t put it better myself! I want every pupil to be able to take part in every element of their school life with their friends and peers.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and do the job you do?
Rhian: I love the variety involved and how busy it is. You can be talking to so many different people in a day. Enjoying the job makes getting out of bed in the morning more pleasant. But also I have to get up because I have two hungry boys and a hungry puppy to feed so essentially I have no choice but to get up and at ‘em!
Kathryn: I love how supportive my team are, I work with some incredible colleagues from all across the UK, and I think working with like-minded people who share your passion and your drive to remove child poverty really helps to motivate me to get up and make a change. Like Rhian, I also have two small children who like to wake up at 6 so some days, I have no choice!
What is one piece of advice that you were given that you will never forget?