Jessica is the founder of Franklin Scholars – a social leadership programme that equips and challenges talented students, in schools serving low-income communities, to change the lives of the most vulnerable younger students in their schools. Thousands of children from tough backgrounds struggle to make a successful leap from primary to secondary school, and this is identified as a point in time when a person’s entire future can be decided. The Franklin Scholars programme is grounded in the belief that, for every one of these vulnerable children, there is an older student in the same school that is very well equipped to help. With the right training and support, these older students – the Franklin Scholars – can play a crucial role in supporting our most disadvantaged children at the most precarious moment of their young lives – and change their own lives while they’re at it. Jessica founded Franklin Scholars in July 2013 and the Shackleton award enabled her to develop and refine the programme in its first year, and establish the foundations of an organisation that was ready to scale up. In 2014-15, Jessica and her team will be supporting over 400 young people across three regions. The young people involved have described the programme as a life-changing experience, and evaluations show students’ academic progress has been significantly boosted, as well as their confidence, resilience and communication skills.
Award Date: December 2013