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Inspirational Sixth Form Lecture from co-founder of Sky School

3rd December 2019

Sky School was conceived in 2016 and is an organisation whose co-founders, Polly Akhurst and Mia Eskelund Pedersen, exemplify the next generation of ethical leaders and creative social entrepreneurs seeking to incite change. In 2015, 50 million children were uprooted from their homes. For 27 million, this was as a result of violence and insecurity. Whether these children are refugees, migrants or internally displaced, every child has the right to an education, but there are 27 million children of primary and secondary age in 24 conflict areas without any access to education.

Polly and Mia were inspired to tackle this perceived injustice and took direct action by drawing upon their experience in international education to establish Sky School. They have developed a 10 module, 2-year high school curriculum for refugees. The team work with project partners in refugee camps to facilitate each module over the course of 10 weeks. Students complete 60% of the course through face-to-face seminars and the remaining 40% is completed independently through an App provided by Aula Education.

The first module on Social Entrepreneurship was piloted with a small group of refugees in Athens and the feedback was used to refine the second iteration of the module. The design embraced a learning programme that empowers displaced young people to proactively affect change in their communities. A module on Peacebuilding has also been developed in conjunction with UWCSEA’s initiative for Peace, and other modules are in the pipeline including Global Politics, Identity and Arts and Culture. There are currently 5 strands to the learning programme comprising an entry level and advanced component. It is hoped that taken together, the 10 modules will be accredited to constitute a high school diploma enabling young people to access American Higher Education institutions.

The courses have a retention rate of over 70% and 100% of students would recommend the courses to a friend.

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