Clearwater Academy pupils add voices to Victim Support book

Published: Tuesday August 15, 2023

John De Gruyther, with Kate Moss, Headteacher at Clearwater Academy (left)Children from Clearwater Church of England Primary Academy in Gloucester have collaborated on a book with local charity Victim Support, to help young people who have experienced crime talk about their feelings.

Hedgehog Finds Her Voice’ explores the common ways in which adults mean well but often fail to hear children’s attempts to express their emotions.

The book, written by John De Gruyther, Community Engagement & Training Manager at Victim Support, was published by the charity and funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

John said, “We created this book because we know, from the children and young people we support, just how many of them struggle to talk about their experiences and don’t feel listened to. Hedgehog’s challenges and experiences in the book are based on the contributions of Clearwater Academy’s seven to nine-year-olds – to show what good listening feels like. We had some wonderful and thought-provoking input from the pupils and it was great to celebrate the book launch with them.”

The charity has sent a copy of the book to every primary school in Gloucestershire and delivered a pilot workshop exploring the themes of the book at Clearwater Academy.

Kate Moss, Headteacher at Clearwater Academy, said: “Hedgehog Finds Her Voice is a rich resource for schools. Through Hedgehog’s story the children learn the importance of a trusted adult, of both listening and speaking out in times of trouble and can apply this to their own life through age appropriate activities. For older children the discussion incorporates the role of Victim Support, it links with British values and democracy in particular. John’s skilful facilitation ensures safe exploration of this sensitive subject matter.”  

Rachel Howie, Chief Executive of Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust (DGAT) said: “The Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust is delighted to have been able to play a small part in the development of this book and the associated resources. Ensuring children’s voices are properly heard and listened to is something we are passionate about. I am extremely proud of the children at Clearwater CofE Primary and very glad that Victim Support chose to partner with them.”

The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, said, “Every child is different and special and has a story to tell. This book will help children and adults to think about the importance of listening to people’s fears, sadness and hurt as well as the good and happy things. I also hope it will give children and adults the courage to go on finding their voice to talk about the things that happen in their lives, whether sad or frightening, or happy and exciting. Enjoy the book and may it encourage even better talking, listening and friendship.”

As well as providing 1,000 free copies for every primary school in Gloucestershire, Victim Support will also give copies of the book to the children and families it supports and use it in one to one support sessions.

Hedgehog Finds Her Voice is available to buy directly from the publisher and at most book stores.

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One thought on “Clearwater Academy pupils add voices to Victim Support book

  1. I was so delighted at this news! A further example of what this super school can achieve,
    It now has a real part of the Quedgeley community and this publication adds to its value

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