A visit by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to Withington Girls’ School in Fallowfield gave over 500 pupils the opportunity to hear how they could play a role in the mayor’s vision for Greater Manchester.
‘Working together for Manchester’s future’ was the theme of the visit and the mayor was given an insight into the partnership work undertaken by the pupils and staff of Withington.
Highlights of the visit included Year 5 pupils from Northenden Primary School participating in a ‘Young Chemistry Communicators’ workshop run by Withington sixth form students and junior school pupils rehearsing a musical performance for senior citizens planned for the school’s Citizenship Day in the summer term.
In his address to the assembled school, Mr Burnham said: “Your generation gives me hope because I think you see the world differently. You don’t see differences between people as a negative, you see them as a positive.
“Your generation also has a clear understanding of the issues that affect us all, such as climate change, and you are demanding that something more is done quickly.”
He mentioned that young people were key players at the Greater Manchester Green Summit earlier in the week.
“I would like to encourage you all to be true to the spirit of Greater Manchester, a place that stands up for what is right and demands change if things are not right, a place that does things differently.
“I have huge amounts of faith in you and, reinvigorated by what I’ve seen in this school today, I believe you will step forward and make things happen.”
During the visit Mr Burnham was introduced to those responsible for delivering SHiNE, a Saturday morning programme of courses that has benefited over 500 pupils from 30 local schools over the last 11 years, and a classics course that is offered to Year 5 pupils at Mauldeth Road Primary School.
He also met members of Withington’s Eco Society, the WithGambia International Partnership team and a group of sixth form volunteers.
Withington’s headmistress, Sarah Haslam, said: “As a school that believes we can empower young people to lead change and innovation in Manchester and beyond by working in partnership with those in the local community, we welcomed the opportunity to share with Mr Burnham just a small part of the work we undertake with our partners.
“Our pupils were also interested to hear about the mayor’s future vision for our region and the contribution that they could make to that vision.”