On Friday 9th November, two days before Armistice Day and the centenary of the end of First World War Oasis Academy students around the country joined one another in 14 different venues for a special occasion called INSPIRE. Hundreds of young people and teachers honouring the sacrifice of previous generations by joining a movement of change for peace as part of a national day of events.
INSPIRE is a peace-making initiative for young people, schools and communities. Its aim is to commemorate those who have given their lives in conflict in response to the centenary of the ending of the ‘Great War’, by acting as the impetus to take positive action to work for peace in local communities and personal relationships.
Young people and teachers gathered together in 14 different venues across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, alongside hundreds of assemblies, local gatherings and projects to participate in INSPIRE.
Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey, Sheerness recreated the 1914 Christmas Day football match, with the team No Man’s Land Germany winning.
PE Teacher, Wesley Carlow commented saying; “The game ended 4-2 to Germany but it was a very good match. Germany went into an early two-goal lead but England pulled it back to equalise before Germany won with two last-minute goals. The boys and girls really got into the spirit of things.”
Oasis Academy Pinewood, Essex students were invited to attend an opening of their peace garden to commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day, with two students (Archie and Emily) reading poems to remember the fallen, and Pinewood Friends PTA provided funds for an arbour and a plaque was engraved with the inscription “Be the Peace You Want to Create”.
Jenni Elliott, Principal of Oasis Academy Pinewood said; “Councillor Melvin Wallace came to cut the ribbon and as well as parents/carers, staff and children we had three representatives from the church of the Good Shepherd volunteered and also attended. The children and staff of Oasis Academy Pinewood made poppies, wreaths, wrote poems amongst other things and decorated the peace garden with them.”
Students from Oasis Academy Watermead replicated the Imperial War Museum’s weeping poppies window with white poppies made from plastic bottles and another amazing monument piece activity.
Aimy Vernon-Walker, Interim Principal of Oasis Academy Watermead, commented saying; "Our students deserve to grow up in peaceful, supportive local communities. Many of our Watermead families have been personally and directly affected by war. We are very proud of how they have used this opportunity to add their voices to the INSPIRE movement for peace today.”
Oasis Academy South Bank, London joined hundreds of others from local schools at an inspiring and peace-making event at St. Georges Cathedral. The Oasis South Bank Choir performed a number of pieces as part of the event.
Carly Mitchell, Principal of Oasis Academy South Bank said; “Our students have really embraced the INSPIRE initiative; they recognise that they can be creators and agents of peace in their own lives and in their local community.”
Oasis Academy Immingham, North East Lincolnshire held its annual Remembrance Service with cadet forces to remember the fallen. Students, staff, and dignitaries came together for a whole school assembly with a number of readings taking place.
Sara McLouglin, Principal of Oasis Academy Immingham commented saying; “Our students recognise the overwhelming sacrifice that former generations made for them and have shown a level of maturity beyond their years, adding their voices to the INSPIRE movement for peace today.”
10 and 11 year olds at Oasis Academy Fir Vale completed a project on the First World War, reflecting on the experiences of all involved in the conflict. They then presented the artwork they had created to the other young people gathered at Bradford Cathedral, and joined in making a public commitment to pursuing peace in their daily lives.
Helen Round, Principal of Oasis Academy Fir Vale, commented saying; "We are very proud of Oasis Academy Fir Vale’s pupils who contributed so meaningfully to today’s event. They have shown great maturity while working on their project to recognise the overwhelming sacrifice made during the First World War, and they honoured that sacrifice by adding their voices to the INSPIRE movement for peace today.”
Rev Steve Chalke MBE, Founder of the Oasis group of charities and the INSPIRE movement, commented saying, “For this generation, peace is history rather than reality. INSPIRE is changing that. The project empowers young people to not only learn from the past but also actively engage with the present so that the future can be different.”
“To take part in such a project takes courage and determination. I am very grateful to all of the young people at our Oasis Academies for heeding the call and using this year’s centenary of the end of First World War to take a stand for peace!”
You can view all of the photos from the amazing events that took place across the country HERE.