A flood of ad­vice from the pupils

Staines Informer - - NEWS - Matt Strud­wick

PUPILS at a Staines school who were some of the most af­fected by the 2014 win­ter floods have pro­duced a man­i­festo ad­vis­ing the govern­ment what needs to be done to sup­port young peo­ple.

The Magna Carta School chil­dren worked along­side young­sters at South Fer­riby Pri­mary School in Bar­tonupon-Hum­ber, re­searchers at Lan­caster Univer­sity and Save the Chil­dren UK to com­pile the Flood Man­i­festo for Change.

Re­searchers have made a film in which the young peo­ple tell their sto­ries and lay out mea­sures to pre­vent, pre­pare, re­cover and adapt to what is the UK’s most se­ri­ous ‘nat­u­ral’ haz­ard, and how they want to be in­volved in disas­ter plan­ning.

The man­i­festo calls for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of lessons in schools about flood­ing, train­ing for teach­ers about floods and how they af­fect peo­ple, sup­port groups for flood-af­fected chil­dren, as well as clearer flood warn­ings that peo­ple can un­der­stand.

David Watkins,

as­sis­tant head­teacher at The Magna Carta School, said: “We are im­mensely proud of the ef­fort, re­silience and com­mit­ment our stu­dents have shown when faced with the most chal­leng­ing cir­cum­stances.

“Af­ter the Fe­bru­ary floods of 2014 some of our worst af­fected stu­dents de­cided to be­come ‘up­standers’ not by­standers.

“Work­ing with the Univer­sity of Lan­caster and Save the Chil­dren, Magna Carta stu­dents have been an in­te­gral part of a flood pro­ject de­signed to give stu­dents a voice that can be heard and drive pol­icy de­ci­sion-mak­ing at the high­est level.”

Stu­dents will present their man­i­festo at the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s na­tional con­fer­ence Flood and Coast 2016 at the Telford In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre at the end of the month.

“The op­por­tu­nity to present to key de­ci­sion mak­ers re­flects the pas­sion for pos­i­tive change our stu­dents have,” said Mr Watkins.

“Their re­mark­able ef­fort has also led to an in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend and give ev­i­dence at the ‘All Party Par­lia­men­tary Group (APPG) on In­sur­ance and Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices’.

“The APPG is hold­ing a ses­sion on flood­ing where our stu­dents will pro­mote aware­ness of the so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal cost of flood­ing.

“As a school we are com­mit­ted to giv­ing our stu­dents a voice. It is a re­mark­able achieve­ment that they are now help­ing guide pol­icy on a na­tional level.

“Their achieve­ments are in­spi­ra­tional and show that with ef­fort, re­silience and com­mit­ment any­thing is pos­si­ble. This is truly re­flec­tive of the growth mind­set we aim to in­stil in all stu­dents in our care at The Magna Carta School, a com­mu­nity school at the heart of Run­nymede.”

Funded by the Eco­nomic & So­cial Re­search Coun­cil, the pro­ject team made up of Mag­gie Mort, Mar­ion Walker, Amanda Bin­g­ley, Ali­son Lloyd Wil­liams and Vir­ginia How­ells, is draw­ing on pre­vi­ous re­search by Lan­caster Univer­sity in the af­ter­math of the 2007 Hull floods.

Prof Mort, from Lan­caster Univer­sity, said: “It’s time to stop ig­nor­ing young peo­ple when it comes to emer­gency plan­ning, re­sponse and re­cov­ery. The Flood Man­i­festo shows that young peo­ple can play a vi­tal role in emer­gency plan­ning. Many chil­dren were flooded out of their homes for more than a year and went through a re­ally tough time so they pos­sess the knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence to ad­vise de­ci­sion-mak­ers and con­trib­ute to prac­tice about flood re­cov­ery and re­silience.”

“The cre­ative ap­proach in this pro­ject has en­abled chil­dren to find their voice.

“They’ve been our co-re­searchers and now they can be pol­icy ad­vis­ers.”

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