Bill Wiggin MP joined over 100 Head Teachers in Parliament to celebrate the success of National Citizen Service (NCS) – which, since launching in 2011, has become the fastest growing youth programme in a century.

Bill Wiggin MP attended the event on Tuesday 3 March, hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP, to thank those Head Teachers who advocated the early adoption of NCS; recognising the need for students to emerge from education ready for the world of work and the role that ‘real world’ situations and non-cognitive development play in accelerating the learning process.

Bill Wiggin MP said: “To date over 130,000 young people have participated in the NCS programme, including I am delighted to say many from North Herefordshire.

It was a pleasure to meet Dean Williams of Weobley High School and Dean Curtis of Wigmore School at the event to learn how the National Citizen Service programme has benefitted their students.

I will continue to support the NCS and their work with young people in North Herefordshire and elsewhere.”

Established in 2011 to create a more responsible, cohesive and engaged society, NCS brings young people from a range of backgrounds together to face outdoor challenges, learn skills for life and work and make their mark on their community. More than 130,000 15 – 17 year olds have taken part, resulting in a movement of young people across the country that are more confident, capable, connected and compassionate.

Michael Lynas, CEO NCS Trust, said: “Many great school leaders have embraced NCS as part of school life – and we want to make this the norm. The 130,000 young people who have taken part in NCS since 2011 are emerging as more confident and capable. The ability to work with others, speak in public and lead teams should not be seen as soft skills; rather they are essential skills for teens who want to get ahead.”

Former Home Secretary and Board Member of NCS Trust, David Blunkett MP, added: “Teachers can have a transformational effect on the lives of their students. By encouraging participation in programmes like NCS, students not only benefit on a personal level but will also play a part as an active citizen in a functioning society – hopefully that will continue throughout their life.”

Brian Lightman, General Secretary of the Association for School and College Leaders (ASCL) and patron of NCS added: “So much of the discussion about education centres around examinations, but a true education encompasses so much more. What we see evidence of time and again is that students at schools that offer that richness do better academically as a result. Experiences likes NCS enable students to grow into grounded, rounded individuals with practical skills and the ability to approach problems confidently.”

In closing, Dame Julia Cleverden, Co-Founder Step Up to Serve and Board Member of NCS Trust added, “What binds together the people in this room is a desire to equip young people for the future they face and help them, through giving, to take more from their lives. NCS is a fundamental part of the ‘Step Up To Serve’ campaign launched in 2013 to double the number of young people involved in social action by 2020.”