Is there a cost for the workshops?
We operate on a voluntary contribution basis; e.g. we give schools an idea of the cost of running one of the workshops and ask that they contribute to these running costs if they are able to. There is no obligation to contribute, but obviously as a charity we appreciate any contribution to our costs, however small. We operate on this basis so as to ensure no school unable to meet the costs is deprived of the experience. The suggested contribution in the 2019-20 academic year for a 90-minute workshop is £220, for a 2-hour workshop it is £270.
I have a large class/year group, can they all attend the workshop?
The workshops are designed for groups of around 30 students. The reason for this limit on numbers is to ensure a safe space for students to engage in an in-depth discussion on a sensitive and difficult topic. Occasionally we can work with larger groups, but it is preferable to split large groups into multiple sessions over the same day or week in order for students to get the most out of the learning experience we are offering them.
Can I book a workshop outside of your tour dates?
We cannot always ensure that we will be able to run a workshop at your school outside the dates of a tour in your area. Please contact us before booking if you would like a day outside of a tour. Sometimes we are able to offer Skype sessions in place of having speakers there, but this can be affected by technical difficulties and is less impactful than having the speakers there in person. Be aware we often ask for transport/other incurred costs to be covered by the school for workshops not during tours.
You can see a list of our tour dates here.
Can I have a shorter session?
SNS sessions are ideally 2 hours (but a minimum of 90 minutes) long and a session of this length must be preceded by some preparation if your students are to meaningfully engage with the content of the session and the guest speakers. The session has been carefully designed to deliver three components: diverse narratives, humanising encounters and critical-thinking skills. Opting for only one or two of those components risks leaving gaps in your students’ understanding of the topic and reduces the likelihood that SNS’s learning goals will be achieved for your school. SNS cannot be held responsible for complaints that the topic has not been properly covered if your school books a session that is shorter than 90 minutes and does not do some preparation with students.
Do you receive government funding?
Yes, SNS has received funding from the UK Department of Communities and Local Government (now the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government). It has also received some funding from local councils in some parts of the country. Other SNS funding comes mainly from grants by trusts and foundations and contributions from schools. SNS does not receive funding from the government of any other country or from individuals or organisations in any other country – all its funding for its work in the UK is from British sources.
Does SNS have child protection and security measures in place?
Yes, all our staff have DBS certificates, and our speakers have references from officially registered organisations in the region. SNS also has child and vulnerable adult protection policies in place, and all speakers are briefed on these procedures before coming on a tour and are never left to walk around a school campus unchaperoned.
Is SNS concerned about extremism?
Firstly, it is important to define what ‘extremism’, is, and is not. SNS sees anything that is attempting to promote a win-lose outcome for Israel-Palestine (i.e. either Israel wins and Palestine loses, or Palestine wins and Israel loses) as being an agenda that is right at the end of the spectrum of possible outcomes, and is therefore concerned about it from the perspective that it is maximalist and dangerous for those involved in the situation on the ground. Extremism is not feeling more affiliation with one side than the other, it is not holding strong views or believing passionately in the issue, and it is not advocating for the rights of a particular side.
Does SNS particularly target a certain religious, political or ethnic community?
No. SNS provides an opportunity for students in British schools to listen to ordinary Israelis and Palestinians to try to understand how to help them find a better future rather than using their situation as a symbol for posturing about other issues, be they far-right, far-left, groups that claim to be acting in the name of Judaism, Christianity, Islam or anything else. We want to create a culture of political literacy across the UK that embraces diversity, complexity, nuance, and an informed approach to political decision-making. We are also developing peace-building and mediation skills in young people using the Israel-Palestine situation as a mechanism.
SNS works with any school that we are able to in our target areas - mostly state schools but also Muslim, Jewish and Christian. Our target areas are selected because the number of Anti-Muslim and Antisemitic attacks in those areas are higher than average. We also work with Muslim, Christian and Jewish youth groups, as these communities often express an interest in the situation in Israel-Palestine more than the wider population. We work only with people who expressly invite us from these groups. Our only restriction on participation in relation to our duty of care is with regards to the age of the students we work with and does not refer to a specific community.
Does SNS promote a certain solution to the conflict?
No. SNS encourages exploration and discussion about well-known potential solutions such as one-state, two-state and confederacy, but it does not promote any solution over and above another. We encourage students to think creatively and discuss the pros and cons of any of these solutions and attempt to come up with alternatives based on the needs and interests presented by the Israeli and Palestinian speakers. SNS supports an outcome to the conflict which ends the suffering of peoples on both sides, satisfies their national aspirations, and ensures peace and security for the region. Most importantly, SNS teaches that we should listen to the people who are most affected by the situation, rather than imposing our own views from afar.
From where does SNS get its Israeli and Palestinian speakers?
SNS speakers come from around 20 different civil society and peace organisations in the region, with whom SNS has a partnership for speaker recruitment. Most of these organisations are members of ALLMEP and nominate young people from among their alumni who they think would be suitable as speakers for our programme. These nominees then go through an application process including an application form and interview, rather like being recruited for a job. They also have to sign our declaration of principles in order to be selected (see ‘about’ page here). Once selected, speakers undertake a 1-year training programme before coming on a tour.