Inspire, Debate, Change

Inform and inspire the next generation of politically engaged citizens through workshops with young people in Bristol.

Informaton icon Inform and inspire the next generation of politically engaged citizens through workshops with young people in Bristol.

Location icon Local school

Clock icon 6 weekly one hour sessions in Teaching Block 2

Applications for Inspire, Debate, Change currently closed. If you are interested in taking part in the 2023 - 24 academic year, please register your interest now to be informed about application openings!

If you are looking to get involved earlier please check out our other opportunities available:

What is Inspire, Debate, Change?

Inspire, Debate, Change aims to support young people to feel more informed about the political system, confident in explaining, debating and defending their opinions, and more inspired to make change in their local communities and beyond. This project was piloted virtually in Spring 2021, which we launched in-person in Spring 2022 and we are continuing it as an in-person project in Spring 2023.

The project consists of a programme of six workshops based around key political concepts, such as:

  • Democracy, rights and responsibilities

  • Voting and elections

  • Parliament and debate

  • Making change

Why do we run Inspire, Debate Change?

There is a decline in schools teaching Citizenship due to growing numbers of academies and free schools not using the curriculum and cuts reducing capacity to deliver ‘non-compulsory’ subjects. In a recent Ofsted report on how schools respond to financial pressure it uncovered that for secondary schools, Citizenship was often a subject which suffered.

Citizenship education is not compulsory in KS2 becuase pupils are considered too young to engage in the topic. There is also strong evidence that children under the age of 11 engage with, and can be inspired by, a civil education. “Children are already forming through learning and discussion, concepts of fairness, and attitudes to the law, to rules, to decision-making, to authority, to their local environment and social responsibility etc. All this can be encouraged, guided and built upon.”

There isn't specialised training given to teachers to deliver citizenship education. Dedicated Citizenship teachers have been declining since 2011. By offering workshops led by trained students, we can give standardised information to primary-aged pupils in the city to ensure a well informed, and well designed introduction to Citizenship.

Young people from low socio-economic backgrounds are more likely to lack the knowledge and interest to engage in politics and citizenship. In 2017 it was found 29% of MPs went to private school whilst only around 7% of the population attend private school. It is clear that the political arena is in danger of being dominated by people from more advantaged backgrounds, despite politics affecting everyone. We work with state schools identified through pupil premium and ESL provision, as per our partners for our other youth programmes. Educational inequality exists in the UK and Student Hubs is committed to supporting the young people, and schools who need it most.

How can you help?

We're looking for student volunteers that have an interest in politics and citizenship and are passionate about tackling educational disadvantage. You will be supporting and/or leading political education workshops for Year 5 and 6 pupils in a school in Bristol.

Volunteering through Bristol Hub is a rewarding and challenging experience. You may be looking to gain experience in teaching or working with young people, or you may just want to find a way to make a difference in the local community.

Training and support

To ensure you are equipped with the right knowledge and confident to start volunteering, you will attend a training session. It covers an introduction to educational disadvantage in Bristol and political education, how the project works and an opportunity to learn some skills that will be valuable to you as a volunteer. We also occasionally run optional training throughout the year on topics and skills that will support your volunteering and benefit your CV.

This volunteering opportunity is excellent for anyone who wants experience working in schools and with young people, or is exploring a career in education/youth work. We've found that this project can significantly develop the following skills:

  • Communication
  • Confidence
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability
  • Behaviour management and safeguarding

When you become a volunteer for Bristol Hub you will be part of a community of volunteers across our projects, and will also have the chance to attend events and socials.

Accessibility and inclusion

Bristol Hub is committed to making our activities inclusive to all students.

At Student Hubs, we believe that a disability is defined as a physical or mental health condition, due to human diversity, that leads to an individual facing barriers and oppression due to the disabling world (The Social Model of Disability). These barriers may be attitudinal, physical or organisational barriers.

We can make reasonable adjustments to application processes, training sessions, volunteering projects and other activities on a case-by-case basis. We also provide ongoing support for the students we work with, so if you have particular accessibility needs, including special educational needs, please email [email protected] and let us know how we can make this activity more accessible. We ensure that all our activites, training and events are safe spaces, you can read more about our Safe Space Policy.

This project won't cost you! We reimburse all travel expenses and DBS checks for volunteers on our projects.


Email [email protected] and a staff member will be able to answer any questions. If you are concerned about covid-19, you can read our current covid-19 guidelines for more information.

The Bristol PLUS Award

Students can get recognition for taking part in extra-curricular events and projects run by Bristol Hub through the Bristol PLUS award, which is run by the Careers Service.

The Award provides a framework for students to reflect on the skills they have gained and learn how to articulate them effectively to future employers. For more details and learn how the PLUS Award could benefit you please see the Careers website.

Strategic Partners

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