Your Voice is a student discussion programme for secondary schools devised by Barry Mason of Wyre Forest YFC. It originated in conversations between Barry and teachers at local high schools, who commented on the need to help young people become confident and articulate, when some came from backgrounds of low aspiration. The programme focuses on debating a series of topics of contemporary relevance, using the new youth edition of the Good News Bible as a debating partner. The programme is being piloted with small grant funding from St Peter’s Saltley Trust.
Barry Mason writes:
‘It has been a great privilege to be allowed to come and speak within school settings and share the idea with young people that what they think, how they form their opinions and how they stand up for them within community is important. Stourport High School have openly welcomed the opportunity to see their VIth form students encouraged into debate and challenged to explore the basis of their opinions and thoughts on such hot topics ranging from War & Terror to Sexual Identity, and including Bullying & Self-Harming. In such a setting, it has been so powerful to see these predominantly unchurched young people open up a bible and read out relevant passages around which to form the context of debate. To hear a student declare; “These words are powerful; we shouldn’t take them lightly; we should definitely understand the context in which they are shared.” opens up the forum for discussion and for each young person to consider their own beliefs, how they can express their passions and even to consider how we might disagree well.
Whilst the lockdown has brought additional factors into working with schools, this project has allowed us to serve school and students well. Thank you to St Peter’s Saltley Trust for empowering us to pilot this programme’.
Watch Barry discussing Your Voice and how it can be used in FE College settings, here.