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.
Case Study: Hillborough Junior and St Margaret of Scotland Catholic Primary School
One of our most successful links is also the longest established, between Hillborough Junior School and St Margaret of Scotland Catholic Primary School. Three Year 5 classes from each school meet up throughout the year and also have a celebration event in a nearby park. The schools are in close proximity to each other and many of the children meet in the communal areas of the community and come into regular contact. Through the project this year, two of the children involved have become very good friends with each other and now correspond as penpals. The children were keen to keep in touch with each other outside of the project and all the children thoroughly enjoyed the days that were organised for them.
As both schools have taken part in the project since it was established in Luton, younger children in the school are very aware of it and are excited to be taking part when they reach Year 5 themselves. It has become an integral part of our varied curriculum. A participating teacher commented:
“I have loved the Linking Network this year because I’ve got to know different people and different ways of living. I found out things I didn’t know about different religions, cultures and just other places in Luton. I want to do it again!”
The Linking Network in Luton is as strong as ever and helps us to bring our communities together. We are very proud of the links we have forged between schools, and many individuals continue to maintain these even after the project has ended. We are also very proud of the organisations in Luton which support the Linking Network and do other important work in the community, such as Bedfordshire Police, Luton Council of Faiths and Luton Culture. We work together to try and include our young people in the development of a varied, diverse and enthusiastic community.
Contact Kat Field firstname.lastname@example.org