The Whitehouse team is committed to supporting charitable activities and our local community by using our experience in public affairs and PR campaigns for the benefit of organisations that might otherwise struggle to engage in policy formation or raise awareness of their activities.
Lilian Baylis Technology School
For many years the Whitehouse team have worked with the Lilian Baylis Technology School in Lambeth to help develop its pupils’ interest and knowledge in politics and current affairs. This started by supporting pupils during their citizenship lessons and now involves three separate projects working exclusively with the school’s Sixth Form, which was inaugurated in 2012.
Once England’s “worst-performing school” according to The Guardian, Lilian Baylis Technology School was rated as “outstanding in all areas” in its 2013 Ofsted inspection. Despite the fact that three-quarters of pupils at Lilian Baylis are eligible for free school meals, one-ﬁfth are refugees or asylum seekers and ten per cent have special educational needs.
Whitehouse works to raise the aspiration of its pupils and encourage them to participate in an area of society they may otherwise feel alienated from – the world of politics and current affairs.
Whitehouse works with the school’s Sixth Form students to support the running of the Lilian Baylis debating club. The debating club allows our consultants to help the students to develop their understanding of politics and current affairs, their ability to construct and critique an argument and to build-up their speaking and listening skills.
The debating club offers an opportunity for Lillian Bayliss’s bright and enthusiastic students to discuss politics in a formal but fun manner. We help students to focus on sharpening their communication skills and how to present an argument.
The students benefit from our consultants’ experience of politics and their expertise in making polished arguments on behalf of clients. Meanwhile, our political consultants benefit from being exposed to one of the most demanding environments outside the House of Commons chamber itself – the classroom!
For the past two years Whitehouse has supported the Lillian Bayliss Sixth Form debating club’s participation in the annual Institute of Ideas Debating Matterscompetition between schools across the UK. Thanks partly to the debate preparation Whitehouse has been able to offer, but mostly due to the wit and enthusiasm of the pupils, the Sixth Form students have thrived when their debating skills have been tested against other schools in direct competition.
We helped guide the school into the Debating Matters London regional finals in 2013/14. We look forward to going even further in future!
Every year Whitehouse mentors a Lillian Bayliss Sixth Form student to offer them guidance and support with their academic and career aspirations. Whitehouse interviews candidates for the scheme and nominates an appropriate political consultant to mentor the student.
The student will then have regular meetings with the consultant and discuss what they are looking to achieve and how they think they may achieve it. This may be what university course to take to pursue their chosen career path, what university to apply to, what skills the student should look to gain and where the student can build up those skills outside school – including identifying what voluntary work experience they should seek.
In a similar way as Whitehouse would devise a political campaign strategy, our consultant will help the student make their grand goals more achievable by breaking down a daunting ambition into a series of surmountable mini-objectives. We challenge the students but we also guide them, overseeing their progress throughout the course of the year.
We take pride in our relationship with mentored students and always take a strong interest in their development – as we look forward to hearing about their future achievements!
Whitehouse arrange a regular speaking programme for the school, at which pupils are addressed by leading figures from politics and the business world.
The speakers programme has been nothing less than inspirational. Sixth form students have heard human rights campaigner Lord Alton discuss the personal trauma that changed his life, Lord Michael Hastings reveal his journey from teaching to BBC politics correspondent to representing KPMG on the World Economic Forum, and Conservative MP Paul Maynard explain how he goes to sleep every night knowing there’s a not insignificant chance he may not wake up in the morning.
The purpose of the speakers programme is to show students that our leaders and public figures have all had to overcome great obstacles to get to where they are now. Perhaps the pupils listening today may be inspired to one day address the pupils of tomorrow as upstanding public figures themselves.
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“Lilian Baylis Technology School is an 11-19 school that serves an extremely disadvantaged community. The Whitehouse team have led one day projects looking at local politics and now lead our debating club and visiting speaker programme as well as mentoring a number of students.”
“Our partnership with Whitehouse has allowed our students the unique opportunity to work with professionals to develop their ability to research and make the case for a point of view and to hear from a wide range of influential speakers. The mentors and speakers have in particular inspired a number of students to take a more active role in their community and have contributed to improvement in A level grades in Social Sciences. I also know from talking to the students how much they value the opportunity to work with and hear from professionals and the impact it has had in nurturing and giving direction to their ambitions.”
Gary Phillips, Head, Lilian Baylis Technology School
Work experience programme
Whitehouse has recently completed a ground-breaking positive action work experience programme, to call for greater efforts to improve diversity in the industry by promoting politics as a career option to BME students.
Josephine Gisanrin, a London A-level student from The Norwood School, recently completed a paid (London living wage) work experience scheme in the pilot programme. She spent four weeks over the summer with the Whitehouse team before her final year of A-levels. Miss Gisanrin, who hopes to study politics at university, worked on a range of policy areas including health and energy, while also receiving training from members of the Whitehouse team. Miss Gisanrin was selected following a formal recruitment process that was open to a range of London schools whose pupil populations consist of ethnic minorities.
Helen Munro, Managing Director of The Whitehouse Consultancy, said:
“There’s a lack of diversity in our industry that we need to address. Industry surveys have found that only six per cent of staff in the public relations industry as a whole come from BME backgrounds. Work has been done to address this, but need to do more to encourage young people to consider us as a career option when they’ve finished their studies. Otherwise, they lose out on professional opportunities and we as an industry lose out incredible potential.
“We set up our positive action work experience programme to allow BME students to see what our industry is like. Josephine will hopefully move on in her studies not only with more on her CV, but an informed perspective on our industry and the knowledge that she can thrive in it if she wants to.”
Josephine Gisanrin said:
“I hope to study politics at university and the last four weeks experience will be invaluable. I’ll return to school in September with real insight into how the political system works. I would encourage sixth formers in London to apply next year.”
Jeremy Cox, Head of Sixth Form at The Norwood School, said:
“We’re delighted Josephine had this opportunity. Politics is a difficult sector to enter, and more so for young people from ethnic minorities. We very much welcome The Whitehouse Consultancy’s efforts to promote diversity in their industry. The programme they’ve run is presenting opportunities to students who might otherwise find themselves knocking on a locked door. We look forward to next year’s programme and will be encouraging our pupils to apply.”
Gipsy Moth Trust
Since 2012, the Whitehouse team have promoted the annual summer tours of Gipsy Moth IV, the famous cutter in which Sir Francis Chichester circumnavigated the globe in a record-breaking journey in 1967.
Gipsy Moth IV is now owned and maintained by the Gipsy Moth Trust, a charity with a remit to preserve Gipsy Moth IV and her legacy, to make her available for public viewing and use, and to make her available for schoolchildren and charitable endeavours.
Charitable pro-bono scheme
The Whitehouse team run an annual pro-bono scheme in which we provide 12 months of support from our political consultants to a charity without the means to get involved in the political debate.
Our pro-bono clients are selected by a ‘reverse-pitch’ process, in which we invite charities to apply for the support and explain to us what they do and what they want to achieve. Charities we’ve previously helped through our pro-bono scheme include the Spinal Injuries Association, National Aids Trust, Hop Skip and Jump and Ovarian Cancer Action.
The Whitehouse team is currently supporting Action for M.E., a leading UK charity for people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) and their carers.. For more information, please click here.