To become a peace school, a scheme developed and run by the Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA), students in the school lead on efforts for their school to become a place where everyone is safe, respected and valued.
Cyfarthfa High School began work on the scheme by forming a group of year 8, 9 and 10 pupil Peace Ambassadors looking at the values of the school and also how to involve everyone. Assistant Head, Tracey Griffith, said: “Visits to Cyfarthfa Museum to learn about conscientious objectors and also key figures in local history, such as Anuerin Bevan, was key.”
Year 8 pupil Natalie Nawara said: “Learning that some great women came from Merthyr, for example, pioneer linguist, Chartist supporter and educationalist Charlotte Guest, shows we can do something too.”
Pupils have gone on to make their voices heard outside the school, including giving presentations at Scouts, being elected to the Merthyr Youth Council and the UK Youth Parliament. Corey Shemwell, year 9, said: “It’s important to speak up because if we don’t, who will?”
The impact of the scheme has been felt across the school. Ms Griffith said: “The Peace Ambassadors helped to create a respectful and collaborative atmosphere in the school. The whole school is happier, more tolerant and more respectful.”
The Peace School scheme is freely available to primary and secondary schools across Wales. Schools can work towards level 1 or level 2 accreditation and are given peace school status in annual Peace Conferences in November. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.