‘The home learning linking resources were welcomed not just by our Linking Schools but also by other schools across the local authority. Kent Schools Linking would like to thank the Linking Network Team for creating these valuable resources which will help pupils to re-establish links with their peers when they return to school in September, developing a sense of belonging, kinship and wellbeing.’
Kent’s Schools Linking Programme is managed by The Inclusion Support Service Kent (ISSK), which sits within the School Improvement Team. The programme was launched in 2010 through the KCC Schools (KELSI) and continues to provide fabulous opportunities to schools, for the 2019/20 academic year the Programme was working with 10 schools, equating to 18 classes; over 500 children!
In the autumn and spring terms, Kent hold two full day CPD sessions, where linking teachers are introduced to the programme, become familiar with the resources on The Linking Network website which the Inclusion team recommend are part of mainstream teaching and learning and have time to plan their linking year with their linking partner. The Kent team descibe teachers leaving the sessions very enthusiastic about the programme, with action plans detailing the work they will be sharing, how the learning will be evaluated, ideas for neutral venues and the activities they will develop for their linking days. ‘The coming autumn term will see new, but equally effective ways of linking in Kent. We see clear evidence that the Linking Programme positively impacts on the pupils’ understanding of individual identity and the importance of not making assumptions about people they don’t know.’
One notable link this year was held on the Kent University Campus. The team explain ‘Many of the children hadn’t considered attending university as a possible future pathway, some had no idea of what a university was. However, during the, visit two groups of pupils were discussing how they would be quite interested in going onto college or university when they left secondary school, with one child stating: ‘My dad won’t want me to go to university, but I’m going to tell him it’s great.’
Gillie Heath, Inclusion Support Service, Kent Gillie.email@example.com
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