Youngsters enjoy their own graduation ceremony

The Bolton News: Giving a wave at the ceremony at the Macron Stadium are pupils from Washacre Primary School, Westhoughton Buy this photo Giving a wave at the ceremony at the Macron Stadium are pupils from Washacre Primary School, Westhoughton

IT’S not just University of Bolton students who enjoy the pomp and splendour of graduation to recognise their outstanding achievements — aspiring schoolchildren do too.

Primary school pupils enjoyed their own ceremony for aiming high through the I Can Make it Happen and Aspire Projects, which encourage young people to be ambitious about their future.

As part of the I Can Make it Happen project, guest speakers visit primary schools to give children an insight into their profession, the qualifications required to do their job and children can then ask questions.

The talks cover a wide range of industries and sectors, including construction, manufacturing, sports, retail, broadcast journalism, health, law, education and engineering.

Activities are arranged to help pupils uncover their own skills, talents and qualities through drama workshops, tours of local businesses and visits to educational and sport settings.

The project originally started in Tonge with The Haulgh after local data showed that there was a high rate of teenage pregnancies and high level of NEETS — those not in education, employment or training. “Worklessness” and low aspirations were also identified as issues.

Now the project has been extended to Farnworth, Great Lever, Johnson Fold and the Washacre area.

Bolton Council says the project receives positive feedback from pupils and teachers and the number of years five and six pupils taking part has risen from 180 in 2010 to 580 in 2014.

Children were recognised for taking part in the project and formally graduated at the Macron Stadium from the I Can Make it Happen Project.

The Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Martin Donaghy, presented certificates to the 143 pupils who have completed the course from Cherry Tree Primary (The Orchards), The Ferns Primary Academy, Johnson Fold Primary and Washacre Primary schools.

The Aspire Project, which is a mini version of the I Can Make It Happen Project, was launched in May and more than 250 years five and six pupils from primary schools in the Rumworth area signed up to the course. This took place over just two and a half days and focused on talks and activities — and graduation ceremonies.

Both projects were set up with funding from Bolton Council, Neighbourhood Management and Bolton at Home. They are delivered in partnership with a number of organisations including: local schools, 5-19 Service, Healthy Schools, Bolton College, Bolton Sixth Form College, The University of Bolton, Bolton One, the Fire Service, The Octagon, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, Bolton Wanderers FC, Warburtons, B&Q, Park Cakes and Tyrers.

Cllr Elaine Sherrington, Cabinet Member for Schools and Safeguarding, said: “We would like to thank the children for the work they have done and the support from the schools, staff and partners who have helped make these projects happen.

“The talks and insights into working life are really effective in helping young people shape their aspirations and career goals. They can motivate them to work harder and focus on the areas they are truly interested in.”

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