Luton Schools Linking Programme is led by Luton First Teaching School Alliance on behalf of Luton Borough Council. We have been linking since 2009. This year we have had 34 classes taking part in the project, engaging 1020 children from 14 primary schools, 2 of which are independent faith ethos schools. Luton Local Authority provides us with £7,500 of funding each year, which covers some of the cost for a seconded position to run the programme. This has been written into the community cohesion strategy for the town and should continue every year for the foreseeable future.
Some schools have now started their 2019 linking with a neutral visit at Stockwood Park. The first meeting went well and children are already looking forward to seeing their new friends again. The children were delighted to receive letters from their link class and the meeting prompted some interesting discussion regarding similarities and differences, getting to know new people and also heritage and family links around the world.
In November of last year, Faith Minister Lord Bourne visited the Stockwood Discovery Centre, a wonderful museum, to see first-hand the work of the Linking Programme in Luton.The Year 6 Pupils from two Luton Schools enjoyed looking at Carriages, Caravans and Lorries in the Museum collection before embarking on a truly joyful task in which they worked together to construct a carriage from Giant Meccano that could carry a member of the group across the large museum space. One of the Year 6 Pupils was asked what their advice would be for other children before taking part in linking said ‘I would say jump straight in and make the most of theFaith Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth visiting the Linking Meeting said:
“Schools Linking is a great example of how children and young people from different backgrounds can come together to meet, learn and share interests that help them prepare for life in modern Britain and make them great citizens of the future.”
“The government is determined to support programmes such as these to ensure young people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to take part in challenging and rewarding experiences.”