Upper School Choice - chess

Exploring Connections with the Roots Programme

27th March 24

We have ten Year 12 students who are currently participating with Roots, a programme that brings together young people and teachers from state and independent schools across class, cultural, racial and religious divides. Read what one student, Sofia, had to say about signing up to the Roots Programme:

“Our Roots are powerful. Amid deep divisions that the world is currently facing, it is more important than ever to stay connected, especially amongst the youth who will heal our society and fulfil extraordinary achievements. In bringing us together and taking pride in their cultural, racial and religious differences, the Roots Programme allows us to embrace, emphasise and encourage each other.  Joining young people and teachers from state and independent schools to discuss and tackle social problems, the programme enriches students’ critical thinking, confidence and communication skills. Through a series of online sessions and two school visits, Roots allows both King Alfred School and Park Academy West to have open and thoughtful conversations, by allowing students from different backgrounds with very different experiences to share things that affect their lives, and what they think should be changed.  

I decided to sign up to the Roots Programme because I’m interested in politics, social change and activism. However, I’ve always been aware that I kept myself in a very small bubble, and to combat this, I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to connect with others to break the bubble which would prepare me for the future. I also wanted to gain a better understanding and perspective of lives that are different to mine and through making conversation and truly immersing myself, this will be possible during the School Swap Days where we will get the chance to spend a day together in the same school. Overall, it has been a fantastic opportunity and I’m thrilled to continue building relationships with my peers. 

Our first Zoom meeting consisted of a series of ice-breaker activities. We began with introducing ourselves, sharing our backgrounds, hopes for the programme, any expectations and discussing what it meant to be mutually respectful to each other. Subsequently, we were given worksheets that allowed us to explore our identities and labels, such as race, age, religion, gender, ethnicity and class, which we all shared based on whether it is the part of our identity that we take pride in the most, or the parts where we feel embarrassed or ashamed about. This further allowed a lot of engaging conversation, and what I found most surprising is how honest and unafraid everyone was in describing themselves and what they believe people first notice about them, and whether they had been treated differently because of a part of their identity. We then moved on to more face-to-face discussion in pairs, where we talked about more general things, like our interests and daily life. This was immensely successful as I met people and learned a lot about them through these talks, and I cannot wait to learn more. In the end, I felt more confident and positive and less closed off and shy. 

So far, the Roots Programme has really opened my eyes and broadened my perspectives simply through initiating conversation. The programme has been remarkably impressive and I, along with others, are so excited for the future. I truly believe that we will come out as more well-rounded, expressive and articulate, thanks to Roots.”


The King Alfred School is grateful for support from the Gale Charitable Trust for enabling the partnership between the School and Roots Futures Programme.

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