A flood of advice from the pupils
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.
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.”