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There Are No Outsiders In The BB

Thursday 23rd May 2019

Vaughan Staples, Area Lead for England & Wales takes a look at the No Outsiders project and how it can support Leaders in the BB and prepare young people for life in modern Britain where Everyone is WELCOME.

We live in a world that appears to be emphasising the differences between peoples.  And people seek to exploit those differences to sow division, mistrust and hatred. In contrast to this in 2004 The Archbishop Emeritus of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Desmond Tutu, speaking to the Anglican Communion stated that Jesus had the most radical of ideas, that we are all one family.  “Everyone is an insider, there are no outsiders, whatever their beliefs whatever their colour, gender, or sexuality.” Can we imagine a world, a continent, a country, a city, a community, a street where everyone is welcome, where everyone is an insider?

’Faith in Young People’ our mission, expresses our vision and belief in young people as the solution and not the problem

The Boys’ Brigade Mission statement

Over the last session we have increasingly been hearing from Leaders across the England & Wales Region, asking us to provide more support to enable them to ensure The Boys’ Brigade is a place where everyone is welcome.

We have recently come across the ‘No Outsiders’ project, which was setup by a teacher and is being used in schools and organisations across the country – it helps to support those working with young people and provides insight and ideas to support us in making the BB accessible.

Our aim is to grow so that any young person, wherever they live or whatever their background, can enjoy being a member.”

The Boys’ Brigade Mission statement

We want any young person, wherever they live and whatever their background, to feel welcome; we are preparing young people for a life in the 2020’s where they will live alongside and work alongside diverse groups of people. Furthermore, we are in an enviable position, able to promote harmony and cohesion among our young people with our Christian ethos as a foundation.

Many schools across the UK are using a “No Outsiders” ethos as their foundation for teaching young people about equality and diversity, using the phrase coined by Archbishop Tutu.

The No Outsiders Story: Andrew Moffat

Andrew is an Assistant Head Teacher at a Community School in Birmingham. The No Outsiders scheme has now been rolled out across Schools in several local authorities across the country, receiving backing from Ofsted and the Department for Education and Andrew has published a book ‘No Outsiders in our School; Teaching the Equality Act’. In 2017 Andrew was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for services to equality and diversity in education and in 2019 has been listed as one of the Top 10 finalists in the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize.

The “No Outsiders” ethos for schools was created by Assistant Head Teacher, Andrew Moffat. Using a collection of engaging picture books, Andrew wrote a series of lesson plans for primary schools based on the Equality Act 2010, to teach children about equality and diversity and ensure that every child knows they belong; all children are different, but no one is left out.

The scheme also uses news pictures and stories to promote community cohesion in assemblies and collective worship.

The challenge for us all is to identify an ethos that works for us, that can be used across our groups to promote the Christian values of community cohesion and togetherness; do our members of different races know they belong in our groups? Do our members of different faith, members who have disabilities, members who come from different families or recognise their own different sexual orientations all belong? In 2019 our challenge is to ensure that ALL young people have a place in our groups; those with black skin, white skin, brown skin; those with disabilities, those with different faiths or no faith, those who are male, female or have other gender identities, as well as other protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act 2010.

How can we do this?

The No Outsiders project that is working so well in schools can also work in the BB and help support your Company. It centres around a language; a consistent ethos driven by understanding that difference is recognised and celebrated. We are countering the narrative of hate and division that some young people may be hearing (and some experiencing) outside our groups. We are promoting a very clear narrative; everyone is different but there are no outsiders.

In our Company meetings with young people, we can hold reflection and devotional times; our younger groups, could utilise a No Outsiders picture book with a discussion around themes of difference and acceptance and a role play using the characters and situations or an art session using the story as stimulus. There are packs available of picture books for these discussions which would work well with Anchors and Juniors and Company Section and Senior groups could use the images of news stories available at  equalitiesprimary.com  which provides questions for discussion and a conclusion for Leaders to use.

To help get you into the project there are two activities which are ideal for you to try out with your young people. The first resource is for the under 11s and focuses on the story book ‘Can I join your Club?’ by John Kelly and Steph Laberis. This is a  great way to get young people to identify their differences but at the same time realise that we are all part of the same club, the same BB family.

For the over 11’s there is a photo of a recent North Pole expedition and a number of discussion points to look at how the world has viewed people’s differences and attached them to their abilities and encourages all of us that regardless of our differences, we all have abilities that mean any achievement is possible. You can find both of these resources and additional materials at equalitiesprimary.com.

As our young people develop in to global citizens, The Boys’ Brigade must recognise they are the solution to the challenges facing the world today. Our own challenge is to identify a consistent ethos across our groups that promotes the crucial message of harmony and cohesion in the world. To build an ethos where there are “No Outsiders”, and to follow the example set by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is a good start.

I hope that you feel inspired to find out more about the project and will consider how it could support your Company. If you have any questions or would like to share stories/pics with us then please do get in touch with me at v.staples@boys-brigade.org.uk.

Vaughan Staples
Area Lead for England & Wales and International Affairs

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