Make the Cut: Anti-Smoking Education in Stoke-on-Trent

Date Published 11th July 2018

Make The Cut - The Anti-Smoking Film Project

Working in collaboration with Stoke-on-Trent City Council on a public health issue, Higher Horizons+ inspire learners and their parents to consider higher education.

Parents have a huge role to play in influence their children’s future choices. The ‘Make the Cut’ project set young learners in Stoke-on-Trent the challenge of making a film on a public health issue in just two days, with the help of film and media academics and students at Staffordshire University. These films would be screened to their parents and carers, fellow pupils back in school, and the wider community to educate them on the health dangers of smoking.

Day one of Make the Cut saw Y9 and Y10 students from St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy and Thistley Hough Academy in Stoke-on-Trent receive training from the city council’s substance misuse prevention officers on the risks associated with smoking, the benefits of being smoke free, and the impact of these issues on the local area. Current university students were also on hand to help guide the learners on how they take these themes and create their plans for a film on the topic, giving them a glimpse into their journeys into higher education, and what life might be like for a film student.

Students then got to put their plans into action on day two of the project. Each group was assigned a university student ambassador mentor who taught learners how to use the cameras, frame their shots, and how to edit their films in preparation for the presentation evening. As part of the National Collaborative Outreach Project, we felt that celebrating students’ achievements by showcasing their films, and inviting families and friends to attend as well as representatives from the organisations involved was a fantastic way for NCOP to engage with both parents and the wider community.

In order for attendees to better understand the nature of the projects and the challenge presented to the students, Higher Horizons+ commissioned a short documentary about the process. First shown at the presentation evening held at Staffordshire University, the documentary allowed parents to see their children at work, and to hear the students’ thoughts on the experience.

The presentation evening was well attended by university, council, and school representatives as well as parents. For some, it was the first time they’d been to their local university and seen first hand the facilities available. Sue Greenhalgh, Thistley Hough Academy’s CEIAG Coordinator, said, ‘students were enthusiastic, engaged and rose to the challenge of film production. I have to say it was really great that parents were invited along to see what their young people had produced in such a short time – not enough of this type of celebration.’

After the success of the pilot project, Higher Horizons looks forward to the rolling out across more schools in Stoke-on-Trent in the next academic year.

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