The Sky School team is on mission to create a ‘Global High School for Refugees’ because we want to close the huge gap in secondary education for young people who are displaced. We are a small group that is passionate and driven, and who care about relevant, progressive and inclusive education that empowers young people to take responsibility for positively shaping the world, and we would be nothing without the many, many volunteers who support us and contribute their time and skills to making the Sky School mission a reality.
Volunteering with Sky School
As a volunteer, you will...
- Join a global team that cares deeply about social justice and making education accessible to all
- Work on projects that answer key questions and solve important challenges for Sky School
- Be able to volunteer from anywhere, and flexibly
- Work on a project(s) that suit your interests, time, skills and future ambitions.
- Learn and contribute to the learning of others
What we do
23% of refugees worldwide have access to secondary (high school) education, compared to 84% of non-refugees. This is the reality that Sky School wants to change, and by developing a new, internationally recognised high school diploma programme that can be delivered via a blended learning model, we want to increase access to secondary education and educate the leaders, changemakers and peace-builders of tomorrow.
Where we are
The idea of Sky School was conceived in October 2016, and through endless conversations with supporters, friends, friendly critics and experts in refugee and international education, the two Co-Founders Polly Akhurst and Mia Eskelund left their full-time jobs in July 2017 to make the idea a reality.
In November 2017, we piloted the Sky School model of education with a six week course on ‘Social Entrepreneurship - How to Become a Changemaker’ across three locations: Amman, Jordan; Athens, Greece and Kakuma Camp, Kenya. The results of this pilot were encouraging, and we are now planning the next stage of the pilot which is a ten week course on ‘Peace-building in our community’ in the summer of 2018.
We are also gearing up to launch the full curriculum for the Sky School Diploma Programme in September 2019, which means developing ten modules through so-called 'Curriculum Hackathons' that are collaborative in-person curriculum development events, attended by teachers who are experts in their field.
To reach our goal of launching the full curriculum in 2019, we are working on many different fronts: We are fundraising, building partnerships, developing a strategy and action plan for recognition and progression pathways, 'spreading the word' via our different communications platforms, and much much more.
Who we are
We are a small, distributed team with a big ambition. Our core team is based in London, and is made up of the two co-founders, Polly and Mia. Both are alumni from UWC (United World Colleges), and met when they were working for the UWC International Office in London. UWCSEA is a founding school partner and as one of the largest international schools in the world, has extensive experience in curriculum development work and delivering transformational learning as scale. Stuart MacAlpine, Director of Teaching and Learning at UWCSEA East, is Sky School’s Director of Education, and leads Sky School's curriculum development work, supported by teachers who have signed up to contribute their subject area expertise when we develop individual modules.
Our volunteers are based from Singapore to Muscat, Mumbai, Winnipeg and London and support vital functions for the Sky School organisations. We also work with local partner organisations in each of our three 'learning hubs' (Kenya, Jordan and Greece), where volunteers have also supported the establishments of the hubs and facilitation teams for the courses themselves.
Volunteering with Sky School
Sky School needs volunteers in many different areas and capacities, and we hope to welcome a diverse group of volunteers and be able to match your skills, ideal time commitment and interests with a project or area that solve important challenges for Sky School and brings us a little bit closer to making our mission a reality.
In general, there are three different ways of volunteering with Sky School:
1 - Project-based
Things move quickly at Sky School, and the needs of the organisation change all the time. At different times during the year, we will 'release' new projects that volunteers can get involved with. The problem or challenges they address could be anything, and will vary greatly. Most projects will be around three months long, and we will be looking for people with a variety of skills and interests.
Each project will have a different set of objectives and deadlines, but with plenty of room for the project group to take ownership of their work and take it to the next level.
There are currently four projects open to volunteers:
- Devising a Stewardship Plan and Programme
- Establishing Sky School University Groups
- Developing and Implementing a Three Month Communication Plan
- Developing and Implementing Monitoring and Evaluation for Sky School's Peace-building Course
Please note that these projects are running from mid-May - September 2018 (approximately).
If you are interested in one or several of the above, please let us know by filling in this short form. If you are not interested in any of the current projects, but would like to be notified of future projects, you can still fill in the form or sign up to the Sky School newsletter.
2 - Skills-based
Some volunteers join not for a specific project, but may contribute specific skills or skill sets, such as translation, design, photography, video editing, facilitation or marketing of Sky School courses. They may join project teams, or work more independently - depending on the nature of the work, and your wishes. The time commitment from volunteers will vary, depending on the what the team is currently working on, but we will always contact you ahead of any potential task and ask whether you have the time to support.
3 - Curriculum development (for educators only)
Educators can support curriculum and module development in their field. Most of Sky School's module development happens through so-called 'curriculum hackathons' where educators meet for an intense - but fun - 48 hour workshop where they work together to develop a module that is ready to be piloted.
Current hackathon opportunities:
We will hold a number of hackathons over the next twelve months. If you would like to get involved and sign up to receive information about opportunities to participate, please register your interest.
4 - Involve your school or teachers in 'curriculum hackathons'
Curriculum hackathons are intense - but fun - workshops where 10-15 educators get together to work on a module that is ready to be piloted. It is a fantastic opportunity for teachers to use their skills and expertise in a new way, to network and develop professionally as well as for a school to get involved with a social impact project. They are hosted by schools, universities or colleges who lend their premises to the Sky School Hackathon for a weekend, and typically one or two representatives from the school will take the lead in organising the logistics of the hackathon, together with the Sky School core team.
If you or your institution are interested in hosting a hackathon or sending teachers to contribute to a hackathon, we'd love to hear from you. Please write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Next steps - Join!
If all of this sounds exciting, and you want to join our team - please sign up on our 'Get Involved Form', and we will be in touch shortly.
Other ways to get involved
Set up a Sky School Hub: We always welcome hearing from from individuals or organisations who are interested in partnering and setting up a learning hub where they are, or running Sky School courses with young refugees in their area. If that sounds like you, please write to us on email@example.com.
Involve your school: If you are interested in involving your school, hosting a 'curriculum hackathon' or setting up a student group, or have any questions about potentially involving your school, please send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help us spread the word: If you have just two minutes, you can help Sky School in a meaningful way by spreading the word. Talk about our mission and work to friends, colleagues and family - or spread the word on social media by posting on your LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
'I dream of using my knowledge to help my community and promote girls education,
but there is a lack of educational opportunities here.'
Rose (18) from South Sudan, currently living in Kakuma Camp, Kenya