Why I’m Building a Youth-Powered School

March 1, 2021  

Jaiden, 19, is a trustee at Rekindle School – the South Manchester-based supplementary school where everything – from the curriculum, to safeguarding, to funding, will be youth-led. Before speaking at this year’s Stronger Things event, Jaiden reflects on the big, inclusive ambitions driving Rekindle, and shaping his own vision of community.

Transcript: Hi, I am Jaiden Corfield, I am 19 years old and I am from Salford in Greater Manchester. I am currently based in between Manchester and Oxford, and I try and come back North when whenever I can.

I am going to be speaking at the Stronger Things event about Rekindle which is the school that I’m a trustee for, but it’s also the school and the organisation I’ve dreamed of working for and implementing my dreams into that the organisation.

I think every young trustee that sits on the board has genuinely, genuinely fallen in love with this school. We are aged between 17 and 25 and founder Ruth Ibegbuna placed the idea on a table and told young people to build the school they wished they could attend and that is exactly what we did.

Many of us were still in education at the time, or in education right now, we were completely disillusioned with this system – a system that was not built for working class or BAME students. What we did then was we built a school that was built for those students, that have those students at the heart of everything.

We work on four main principles: support, nourish and nurture, achieve, and protect.

we built a school that was built for those students, that have those students at the heart of everything

Each young person will come to the school and be provided with an educational sanctuary that genuinely believes in their success and genuine believes in the individual. That is what we set out to achieve, but even before we can open the doors in September 2021 it is about having young people build the school, and that is that is why we can do it so differently to any other organisation; because in every step of the way a young person has built that process, a young person has built the curriculum, a young person has a lead on the safeguarding, and a young person has applied for the funding and applied for the finance. That is the exciting part of Rekindle!

Many of us have followed many different paths to Rekindle, some of us have been in change-making for a while and some of us are just fresh but disillusioned with education, and that is what brought us to be trustees for Rekindle. All of us are on our own journeys through education and so I think it’s really important that we that implement our frustrations and our dreams for education into the school, and that is exactly what we’ve been doing.

a young person has built the curriculum, a young person has a lead on the safeguarding, and a young person has applied for the funding

We have a really really key focus on community, it is such a huge word for us. And not only the community that we build in the school, but the communities that we work with in terms of every other organisation that we partner with.

Community for the charity sector is such a word to be embraced, you know every part of the charity sector is about community it’s about supporting one another and through very difficult times – like we’ve seen in in the past couple of years there’s nothing stronger than community! It is what holds you up in times of doubt, and holds you up and when we need that little bit of reassurance and that we’re going in the right direction, that we’re doing the right thing and when we need that shoulder to cry on. That is what community means to Rekindle, it’s about supporting young people to dream of educational attainment, to dream that who they are and is more than enough for the education system.

I think it’s really important that we that implement our frustrations and our dreams for education into the school,

And that is where education is currently failing so many young people, and where they’re becoming disillusioned with the system. We really want to embrace critical thinking and culture. Every Friday we’ll have a culture day, which brightens the day, where young people will learn about culture. Not only the culture of education, but their own culture – provided with opportunities to explore who they are and we’ll look at critical thinking. Critical thinking is not embraced in the classroom but at Rekindle we want it to be! It is a massive part of everyone’s life – the ability to think critically about certain questions and provide answers, so it’s really important that we embrace the power of critical thinking.

So, I don’t want to tell you too much – and I think I’ve already told you too much! But I hope that I can tell you more at the Stronger Things event and I’m really really excited to tell you guys more!


Read an interview with Ruth Ibegbuna, the founder and CEO of Rekindle School.

Join our mailing list