A tale of two Finals

This week has been a momentous one for us at First Give. Those of you who keep an eye on our Twitter feed will have noticed that we got very excited about our first in person Final since March! I was the lucky member of central team who got to visit a school and sit on the judging panel of the First Give Final at University Academy of Engineering South Bank. Not only that, but a few weeks ago, we were thrilled to be able to also deliver our first “remote” First Give Final at Reach Academy Feltham. Many of you might be wondering how your Final will look this year, so I thought I’d give you an insight into the two Finals so far this academic year.

University Academy of Engineering South Bank

The programme at UAE South Bank is delivered through their “Day 10” enrichment programme. Over this term, the school collapsed 3 days’ worth of timetable to allow students to work through the First Give lessons. To introduce the Final, Principal John Taylor reflected on how the programme feeds into the ethos and values of the school.

“[First Give] speaks particularly to two of the key values of our school, confidence and social responsibility…social responsibility comes from your understanding of your responsibility to work for the good of other people”

John Taylor – Principal at UAE South Bank

And with that, we were off! Five groups, representing the five classes in Year 7 stood up group by group to present in front of their peers. I sometimes forget how scary this can be, but the bravery and confidence of these presenters was so apparent. Classes had chosen a range of really interesting charities to support through First Give; the Quo Vadis Trust supporting people with mental illness; Stopwatch addressing the issue of stop and search; Safer London tackling gang violence in the capital; Full House providing theatre and arts opportunities for young people and finally LGBT Hero championing the rights of LGBT+ people.

Delivering a Final during the pandemic has it’s challenges, but with the year group in a single bubble, and by limiting the number of external visitors, this was a fantastic event. Our winners were the class who chose to support LGBT Hero who spoke with real confidence and knowledge about the issues facing the LGBT community!

“We’re really grateful to be able to keep doing things like this. It’s so important right now that we keep delivering enrichment activities like First Give in school.”

Mr Jackson – Lead Teacher at UAE South Bank

Reach Academy Feltham

But what if you aren’t holding full year group events at the moment? Worry not! We were delighted last week to facilitate the first example of our new “remote” First Give Final. After receiving feedback on their presentations, students at Reach Academy Feltham filmed their presentations with the support of their teachers. These presentations were sent to us at First Give and a panel of 3 of the team watched and judged the presentations on the same criteria as normal. We then recorded a winners announcement and with the help of our friends at Forest House Films, edited together a special Reach Academy First Give Final TV show, featuring all presentations and an introduction from our Head of Programmes.

We were thrilled to see students delivering their presentations to camera with confidence and passion, and the resulting film will be a resource that the school can use and reflect on in the future. The judges were particularly impressed with the knowledge that students communicated about their social issues and their charities. A special mention was given to one student who presented alone on behalf of his class due to the rest of his group being unable to be in school on filming day! Our winners at Reach Feltham were the class who supported Liesel Angel Trust, a local charity supporting the families of critically ill children.

See below for the introduction that we are using on these remote Final videos, and feel free to talk to your Programme Manager if you want to talk about running the Final at your school in this way!