We are proud to see the growth of our established program of linking at Secondary level. Since September 2019, there have been planning meetings and linking events for 28 class groups and 15 schools across the district.
Teachers have been meeting from across the district for training and time to plan their links with another school, allowing their pupils to interact with other students who they would not normally get a chance to engage with in a meaningful way. One teacher summed it up when they said “Feel really excited about getting these links going with my Year 7 students”. (Dave Lamkin, Immanuel College).
Most importantly, pupil feedback from actual link events has been excellent. Students from Immanuel College, Belle Vue Girls Academy and Bradford Forster came together for a collaborative ‘Year 8 Maths Challenge’ where they had opportunity to engage in Team Building and Dialogue activities before they meet again to work in mixed school groups on their maths challenge. They had lots to say to us after their first visit. When they were asked what they had learnt from working with other schools, the most popular response can be summed up by one pupil: ‘It is important to socialise and keep our minds open’.
Other schools have extended their links to include additional year groups, Oasis Lister Park and Bradford Grammar School have been meeting for several years with a Year 8 link and a well established sixth form link. Older students meet fortnightly as part of Manningham Youth Talks, a dialogue focused hour-long session which includes discussion on topical issues and invited guests. This year, in response to requests from students, Year 9 also link and have learnt more about social action. Dr Hinchcliffe, Head at BGS said, ‘It is clear that the groups had pushed themselves out of comfort zones, worked collaboratively with new people, before pitching their ideas to invited guests. The task was not easy, but the groups did themselves and their schools proud. If barriers and misconceptions exist between schools and groups within them, these have been broken down’.
We are fortunate locally to have supportive venues which host our neutral venue visits but also host other linking activities. Our thanks go to Bradford Museums and Galleries in particular Cartwright Hall, City Hall, Doe Park and the Outdoor Activities Unit, Kala Sangam and the Peace Museum.
We are now at the stage where most schools are now planning their second linking visits. Hopefully, this is just the start of the linking journey for pupils across the district.
If you are interested in Secondary Linking in Bradford or across the country please get in touch with us Azam.Ali@thelinkingnetwork.org.uk or Liz.Firth@thelinkingnetwork.org.uk