We are pleased to be able to tell you that despite restrictions, Linking within and between schools continues to thrive; teachers have found so many innovative ways to connect their classes this year. Across the Network we are recruiting for the autumn term 2021, as well as delivering training for linking this summer term. We are grateful for the support and backing for the work from DfE, MHCLG, Pears Foundation and The Dulverton Trust, and we are excited to be connecting nearly 30,000 children through our network!
Linking is flexible, virtual and adaptable this year. Some of our schools are now taking part in Linking Phase 2; pairs of linking classes explore the things they care about and then both classes pledge to take part in a social action project of their choice, creating shared common ground between the classes. Social Contact Theory tells us that enjoyable, collaborative activity with common goals, facilitates effective contact and builds children’s confidence in future contact.
We were struck several years ago by research undertaken by the Common Cause Foundation, which found that 85% of us believe we have great, compassionate values, while believing that 75% of other people do not. This misperception of others holds us back, and we hope that through Schools Linking, children will hold a different story about one another. As part of the programme, the children also take part in a Philosophy 4 Children enquiry into Social Action, using the well-known story of a child rescuing one starfish at a time stranded on a beach. We are grateful that Alia Al Zougbi, Storyteller and also Tower Hamlets Schools Linking lead has read it here for linking classes to enjoy. Thank you Alia.
This summer term, there are also numerous community focussed that create perfect opportunities for schools to enjoy connecting with their own community, their linking school and beyond – Empathy Day, Big Lunch, Great Get Together, Thank You Day all help build an essential sense of belonging and connection.
We think there is no better time to listen to the thoughts and views of others beyond our own circle and we’re excited to see the Schools Linking programme being rolled out in more and more primary and secondary schools around the country. Read more about Linking in our Summer Term Newsletter here.