We were delighted to learn yesterday, 8 January, that we have been recognised alongside other schools across the country for our commitment to, and work with, this flagship youth programme. The award of Champion School status has been given to only those schools that have exceeded expectations in promoting the programme as well as recruiting students to take part. The commitment and passion of our 2017 Leavers towards this brilliant, challenging and engaging volunteering programme has been particularly fantastic.

In a letter from Kate Burnett, on behalf of the NCS Trust she said “Congratulations, Outwood Academy Bydales has been awarded Champion School status by the NCS Trust! This is a national accolade issued in recognition of your proactive and positive engagement with National Citizen Service (NCS). Your work to help young people change their lives and make their mark on the world around them through NCS is very much valued.”

Michael Lynas, CEO of NCS Trust said “We work closely with schools across the UK to ensure everyone is aware of the fantastic benefits their students can enjoy by taking part in NCS. Subsequently, a proportion of these schools take the partnership to the next stage, encouraging as many students as possible to take part. “This is helping embed NCS within local communities across the UK, making it the rite of passage it should be for young people everywhere. Everyone who takes part has the opportunity to develop new skills, meet new friends from different schools, and gain the confidence they need to be successful in life and work.”

Anna Cole, Parliamentary Specialist, Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), added: “NCS offers young people fantastic opportunities to challenge themselves, explore new horizons, meet people from all walks of life and in the process gain new and transferable skills, maturity and confidence. ASCL highly recommends all school and college leaders embrace the chance for their students to get involved. Together we can help prepare and develop young people for the future.”

630 schools across the country have been recognised as Champion Schools, including 56 in the North East, and almost 400,000 students have taken part in NCS since 2011, with recent research showing that it improves outcomes for the teens who take part, including increased likelihood of getting into university.

Open to all young people, regardless of circumstances or additional needs, NCS focuses on three core principles of social cohesion, social engagement and social mobility, all of which have benefits not just to the participants but to communities and society as a whole.

We are huge advocates of NCS, and are determined to help inspire as many of our current Year 11s to spend four weeks of their summer holidays getting an experience of a lifetime! NCS students spend two weeks away on residentials, including Outward Bound activities, and then building knowledge and skills at use of media, film, public speaking, confidence and leadership, ahead of two weeks planning and implementing social action projects. Students genuinely leave with even greater resilience and understanding of their numerous skills and talents, and hopefully determined to continue with volunteering, or indeed one day working within the voluntary sector. Many return to NCS in support and leadership roles on future residentials and local projects.

See more of our work supporting ImagineYouCanUK and NCSNorthEast and to get involved in 2018 and beyond please visit our website page here: www.bydales.outwood.com/ncs