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“Linking Network programmes are extremely valuable and impactful. They really do enable students and communities to link!”

25 April, 2024

We’ve been working hard in recent years to refresh our Secondary Linking Programme and are delighted with the response from schools who have been using the resources with their students. 

In Bradford one of our local multi-academy trusts, BDAT (Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust), have used both of our new pathways with different groups of students.  Year 7 pupils from each of the 5 secondary schools in the trust along with some year 6 pupils from some of the primary schools came together in a MAT link using our Pathway 1- Connecting Together programme with and we’ve loved watching the link take place. Older students followed the Pathway 2 – Community Building programme and we were blown away by their thoughtfulness, their capacity for kindness and their willingness to be upstanders.

The BDAT pupils enjoyed linking together on their 2 face to face link days. We used City Hall in the centre of Bradford as the venue for the link days, and students had fun getting to know themselves, a little bit more about each other and the history of Bradford during their time together.

Feedback from the students included their reflections on what skills they’d learnt and the impact the time together had made.

 I’ve really enjoyed today, it’s made me realise I need to speak up about injustices that I see. I also have developed the skills of communication and being able to interact and speak to people I don’t know. I have been able to reflect on what I value in my life in terms of values and standing up for what I believe. I think events like this are important in order to encourage young people to stand up for themselves and speak out against injustices.

Jonathan Kennedy, Deputy Headteacher: Behaviours and Attitudes & Quality of Education at Belle Vue Girls Academy, coordinated the link for the BDAT trust and reflected on his view of the Secondary Linking programmes.

“The Linking Network has provided outstanding opportunities for students at BDAT. BDAT students have really benefited from the opportunities to connect with young people from other contexts. They have enabled students to make new connections and to gain confidence. The sessions were thought-provoking, engaging and perfectly pitched. Linking Network programmes are extremely valuable and impactful. They really do enable students and communities to link!

Our Secondary School Linking Programmes are designed to break down barriers and to enable students to build empathy, respect, and confidence in contact. Our resources are effective in helping young people to discover the positive outcomes of connecting with others and getting to know others who are different to them.

A group of girls making a bridge

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Our aim is to support students to explore their own identity, to be comfortable with difference and to take these skills into the world around them. We believe kindness and empathy are needed more than ever, particularly in our schools, and we give young people space to develop these skills alongside others. We want the young people involved in linking to have fun together and to remember linking as an impactful, meaningful and joyful experience.

We know our secondary school students need support to reach out beyond their own circles, the impact of the Covid pandemic and the continuing growth of social media mean many have few opportunities for meaningful contact with others who are different to them. We want young people to feel confident in tackling stereotypes and challenging prejudice they encounter amongst their peers and give them support to practice doing this safely and effectively. 

For schools involved in linking we have made sure that the programmes are flexible, fully resourced and deliver SMSC outcomes for students. The Linking Network provides all the training, resources and activities needed for all the in-school sessions as well as the face to face links. Teachers attend a CPD and planning meeting with their link teacher which is usually held online.

If you’d like to join our Secondary Schools Linking Programme please contact your local facilitator – you can find their details here. If there is not a Schools Linking programme in your area you can contact The Linking Network to explore other ways we can support you to link.

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