Exploring different pathways for Secondary Schools Linking

09 February, 2024

Bolton Schools Linking has been bringing together four local secondary schools on an art themed linking programme exploring identity with students. Led by their art teachers and working with an artist, Caroline Slifkin, students have reflected on how Holocaust victims and survivors define themselves and their experiences through art and used this to inspire their own art. The students have worked together on Link Days as a large group and visited one another’s schools to continue developing their art and building relationships. The link culminates in an exhibition of their work at Bolton Library in March.

In Bradford, we’re working with a local charity, Equality Together, bringing together students from different schools to link and through this to raise the voices of young people with lived experience of disability. Students have worked together to discuss the positive support and challenges faced by those living with a disability. They will continue to build change in their own schools as well collaborating with authority figures in the local district in a shared listening event next half-term. Opportunities for students to link in this way encourages understanding of different perspectives. One student reported, “There should be more of this,” whilst others said the event was, “insightful”.

Secondary Schools Linking can happen in many ways. At TLN we support schools and teachers to find a linking programme which is manageable for themselves and which suits their schools. We have 2 fully resourced pathways – Connecting With Others and Taking Action which schools can follow and we provide them with CPD and planning support. We love it when schools and local areas then adapt the existing resources and bring in their own ideas and local expertise – we know we are placing resources into the hands of skilled practitioners who know their pupils. We’re looking forward to seeing what further thoughtful schools linking will take place during the rest of the school year for our secondary schools. The programmes are creative and responsive and feedback from students and staff is a testament to what the impact of linking work with older pupils can be.

“I have got to know other people from different backgrounds better than ever before” was the reflection of a Bradford Linking Student at the end of a Linking Day in December 2023.

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