Sheffield Schools Linking Programme launched in 2017 and has maintained interest from primary schools in Sheffield through the pandemic,  generating a sense of togetherness with other children and creating shared learning adventures.  We are now ready to recruit schools to join us for Linking in 2022-23, please contact us if you would like to take part!

Image: a beautiful display of Linking messages from one of our schools.

In previous years, when linking face to face, we have enabled some powerful experiences between our linking students.  As part of the programme, a group of Y8/9 students from Newfield and Hinde House Secondary Schools,  met at DECSY and The Graves Gallery, Sheffield (Museums Sheffield) to carry out activities relating to Grayson Perry’s Comfort Blanket through P4C. This was followed up by pupils designing, producing and exchanging their own ‘Comfort Blankets’ which now form part of a school display. The groups also visited each other’s schools. At the Hinde House session the EAL pupils used the ‘Skin Again’ book as the stimulus and generated and chose the question ‘Why is race such a big issue?’ which led to an effective enquiry and follow-up activity.

Staff at the school have been trained in P4C and it is hoped that they will lead future sessions. At the end of the Link, there was a final celebration activity, where the two groups went ice skating together. They have since completed pieces of reflective writing. At an EAL conference, following the activities and having seen the display about the link, other schools expressed an interest in this type of exchange.  The programme seems to have led to some interesting outcomes around boosting the confidence of slightly marginalised or quieter children and has certainly broken down barriers and widened horizons to the extent that teachers have noticed these benefits. One of the P4C enquiries was particularly powerful.

We had a really amazing time…Thank you. Getting the children back was hard…they were so excited they would have been happy to stay all day. We loved it. THANK YOU AGAIN.” Teacher Malin Bridge Primary School, Sheffield.

I think other schools should do it because it helps children make new friends and no one judged anyone. We all supported each other’s opinions.” Pupil

I got the confidence and support from other schools to be a part of the group.” Pupil

We also involve some of our Linking schools with Sheffield Organic Growers, independent certified organic growers in the Moss Valley.  Last year, we had been hoping to continue to take Year 5 pupils and their teachers from Valley Park Primary and Nether Edge Primary, to get to know each other and learn about growing at Freeman College Organic Farm at High Riggs again from April, but this was not possible due to Covid 19. Instead,  growing kits for vegetables and herbs were distributed, with compost from Heeley City Farm,  for all Year 5 pupils to take home and keep learning diaries about their gardening/growing activities.   We hope that the children will have a better growing year this year! Find out more here

Contact: Rob Unwin, Development Education Centre (South Yorkshire)

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Or take a look at the  DECSY  website

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