• by Shan S, Peter P
The Power to the 9s is a new project being launched by Reading School this year and being led by Mr. Tom Evans, an Assistant Head of Reading School
© Reading School
What is the Power to the 9s project?
The Power to the 9s is a new project being launched by Reading School this year and being led by Mr. Tom Evans, an Assistant Head of Reading School. The purpose of this new project is to try and develop students not only academically, but to also encourage them to be more positive, open, honest and accountable. During the first week of September 2020, students in Year 9 will be off timetable to participate in a range of trips and experiences in Kenya, Malawi, Madrid, Finland, Sweden, and Henley. There is a range of activities that students will be participating in, from community service in Malawi, to professional football training in Madrid, to team-building adventures in Finland. These activities embrace the main features of Power to the 9s: Leading, Learning and Service.
Mr. Evans - the man behind the scenes of Power to the 9s
Mr. Evans is the person who came up with the idea of Power to the 9s. When we went to interview him, he felt that he wanted students to be able to have fun with friends whilst also building social skills, independence, and leadership skills. He came up with the idea after looking at the partnership between Hutchins School, in Australia, and Reading School. Hutchins focus on building good character overall, as a person, rather than just exercising the mind. Mr. Evans thought of a new scheme to put into place to build character and social skills, just like Hutchins. He said, “I hope these trips will allow students to have fun and instigate a sense of independence in them. I also hope that the trips will not be cancelled due to Covid-19, but it could happen. Additionally, people will have to be vaccinated for some trips e.g. an up-to-date tetanus shot for Sweden, and more.”
How do Reading School students and teachers hope this will change themselves?
Ms. Cooke, a Reading School Classics teacher who hopes to participate in a trip, believes that the Power to the 9s trips is a good idea. She knows the current Year 8s well, as she is a form tutor of a Year 8 class and teaches a couple of them. She said, “I hope this new project will give Year 9s who are starting their GCSEs more confidence in themselves and in their own skills and abilities. I feel that this will create new friendships across the year group.”
Manas, a Year 8 student at Reading School, is going on the Spanish football trip in Year 9. He said, “I believe that the Power to the 9s trips will really allow us to mature together, as a year group, as these trips will test our social skills, and will also enhance our personal interactions together as well.”
There have been similar trips to some of the Power to the 9s ones, such as a Sweden trip at the end of the 2019 academic year for Year 9s, who are currently in Year 10. The aim of past trips has been like the Power to the 9s trips aim – to build a greater sense of community between students. Andreas went on the trip to Sweden last year and said, “It was nice to have time away from all of the technology.” Toby, who went to Tasmania in 2019, reckons that: “Being away from home shaped me as an individual and it pushed me out of my comfort zone.” D ylan went on the trip to Sweden last year, and believes he benefited from the experience: “I think it will help build relationships between students.”
© Reading School
© Reading School
Mrs. Mole, as well as being the Headmaster’s Executive Assistant, went on the Sweden trip last year, and she had a great time. She said, “I hope that Power to the 9s will develop students as well-rounded young people and make the students think about others as well, in a good-natured way, instead of just themselves.”
Where is the funding for this coming from?
The prices of the trips vary from as low as £350 to as expensive as £3000 and will mostly be coming from the parents of the Yr. 9s, but Mr. Robson, Headmaster of Reading School, is encouraging students to fundraise some money themselves, to cultivate a sense of independence even before going on a trip.
The Power to the 9s is being highly anticipated by all Year 8s, who will be the first to experience the newly implemented project. But will it live up to its expectations? Reading School shall have to wait and see.