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UK School launches Worlds Biggest Classroom – Half a million children to take part


The historic event, One Global Mind, launched by Scarisbrick Hall School in Lancashire in partnership with the World Health Organisation aims to bring together the world’s school children to connect and have a voice during the COVID-19 global pandemic. It’s also supported by UNICEF, National Geographic, Smithsonian, BMG Production Music and Penguin Books. 

Entitled ‘One Global Mind’, the live, one-hour event will take place on July 9 2020 at 16:30pm and focuses on mental wellbeing among school-age children aged nine to 18. It will feature world-recognised speakers, celebrities and distinguished guests including Bear Grylls, one of the most recognised faces in terms of survival and outdoor adventure, Captain Dave Henson OBE who helped to found the Invictus Games which is also championed by Prince Harry, multi music award winner, Heather Small who achieved massive success with M People and the mother of Lady Gaga, Cynthia Germanotta, Goodwill Ambassador for Mental Health from the WHO.  

The guests have been selected as they all have powerful stories of overcoming adversity, and their resilience and courage will inspire children during what has been a hugely difficult time for everyone, especially our children, across the globe. 

The aim of The Global Classroom is to unite hundreds of thousands of children across the world from over 200 countries including the UK, US, Nepal, Cambodia, South Africa, Sweden and more, and give them a voice during the lockdown period and beyond.

Dr Tedros, Director General of the WHO, said: “COVID-19 has turned lives upside down for people worldwide, including children, with millions forced home and disconnected from their regular classroom environment. But there is much we can and must do to care for the physical and mental health and wellbeing of children at this time. Initiatives like the virtual Global Classroom play an important role in connecting with young people and offering a place to share their thoughts and receive advice to protect their health and deal with challenging issues they may face.”

Jeff Shaw, Headmaster of Scarisbrick Hall School and co-founder of The Global Classroom, added: “Lockdown has unified the world and children have more common ground with those in other countries than ever before and this was a way to share conversation and connect with each other.”

“However, we’re at risk of a ticking timebomb in terms of their mental health being absent from the conversation so we wanted to launch The Global Classroom to give children that voice. 

“Our upcoming event is the most important one yet as mental wellbeing is such an important topic and at Scarisbrick Hall School we want to make sure our students are best equipped to deal with modern life. A great deal of importance is placed on Maths, English and Science, but we believe they should be complemented with life skills including resilience, independence, moral values, exploration and reflection.

“The raft of speakers we have lined up for One Global Mind truly reflect these qualities and I am personally very excited to hear what they say.”

Two Global Classroom events have been trialled already, the first featuring Dr Tedros from WHO and Executive Director UNICEF, Henrietta H Fore. Over 150,000 children tuned into the first event from 193 countries across the world.

Questions were asked of the speakers from around the world, including a child in Nepal, where they were making things for their school from plastic waste. They wanted to talk to Melati Wijsen, a National Geographic Young Explorer, about how she’d managed to get plastic bags abolished in Bali. There was also a question from a pupil in Uganda to international Grammy award winner, Jason Mraz, about how to stay calm under pressure. Jason gave his perspective to help children from so many backgrounds and countries who are dealing with the same issues. 

Linda Atulinda, age 22, 3rd year of Medicine and Surgery at Makerere University, Uganda, East Africa said: “Mr Shaw you talked about ‘Every child’s voice being heard’ which is what the Global Classroom is successfully achieving in this time of adversity and I applaud you and the entire team for that.”

Matthew Roberts, age 15, pupil of Scarisbrick Hall School said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience that was provided for me through The Global Classroom. Having the opportunity to speak to Henrietta Fore was a great experience considering her role for UNICEF and her global presence.”

The Global Classroom was founded by Scarisbrick Hall School in partnership with the World Health Organisation and kindly supported by UNICEF, Andrew Brennen and Tierney Thys from National Geographic, artist Lindsey Stirling from BMG, Dr. Carol O’Donnell from Smithsonian, Penguin Books and Lord Dr Michael Hastings of Scarisbrick. 

Children from around the world will be engaging live (in real time) for one hour with distinguished guests. To join the event, click the following link at the scheduled time. Please note that schools are not required to have Microsoft Teams to access the classroom, this will work in most web browsers. Click the link to enter the classroom. 

Scarisbrick Hall, supported by ISA acknowledges the fact that we are at a critical >me globally for education. The new normal under Covid-19 lockdown has changed the perception that children have of their world. With the present challenges, there is also an opportunity for unified thought. The Global Classroom unites the minds of children across the world, regardless of nationality, socio-economic background or geographic border, it aims to protect the rights of the child, therefore inspiring them to reach their full potential. 

The Global Classroom is partnering with local communities and supporters around the world to reach as many children as possible. We are reaching as far as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, USA, Nepal and Europe. The UN family, World Health Organization are helping to access 193 countries which this live broadcast aims to reach. Supported by ISA and partners we are now reaching a catchment of 150,000 schools worldwide. This is the largest ever digital classroom to date. 

The filming of this broadcast will then be edited into a 30-minute programme that will be broadcast on all good social media channels. Our amplification reach is estimated to have a global reach of 30 – 50 million, providing sessions on a range of themes covering: Our Global Planet, Health and Body, Global Mind, Global Arts, Global Heart and cutting-edge STEM themes. The overarching threads will follow the Sustainable Development Goals 17, UN Life Learning and igniting a spirit of exploration.

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