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HEARTFELT messages written by students across Leicestershire about the plight of refugees, will be displayed on billboards in the city this month.

Thousands of students at Leicestershire’s Lionheart Trust Schools have been learning about the plight of refugees this half term; writing messages of support and undertaking silent vigils.

The work has been so heartfelt that the Trust will be displaying their messages on a couple of billboards in Leicester from Saturday (February 12) until the 26th.

Picture: Lionheart Educational Trust

This follows the teaching of an extended curriculum, developed by Lionheart, for students to learn about and discuss the global refugee crisis, which culminated in a silent vigil across the schools.

The decision to extend the schools’ Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum beyond the national requirement on a range of global topics, including the refugee crisis, followed occasions where students had passionately vocalised their support of global affairs, including the Palestinian conflict and Black Lives Matter protests. It became apparent that not only did students want to learn more about, and discuss, such issues but they also wanted appropriate channels for their voice to be heard. 

Following consultation with students and teachers, Lionheart’s Director of Curriculum, Alex Petrie, developed the curriculum to be taught across all school age groups. 

“Pupils were keen to see their curriculum explore wider global issues and provide them with clear opportunities to engage in discussion in order to support positive social change,” said Mr Petrie.

“So far this academic year, we have explored the impact of conflict, such as that faced by Afghanistan. We have also explored environmental concerns highlighted by the COP26 summit and pledged to do what we can as individuals to combat climate change. Most recently we have explored difficulties faced by refugees around the world.”

CEO of Lionheart, Kath Kelly, commented, “We believe this commitment to a broader education reinforces our vision; we equally value academic excellence and holistic development supporting our pupils to thrive in a modern world. Not only are we promoting inclusivity, but we’re also preparing students for the future.”

“Seeing the empathy our students had for refugees and their heartfelt messages of support, I was keen their voice was shared. I hope that people will stop to read the billboard messages, or go online to view more,” she added.

A gallery of student messages of support for refugees, alongside a video of the silent vigil, can be seen at where future global issues work will also be shared.

Picture: Lionheart Educational Trust