Leicester & Leicestershire
Since its inception in 2018, The Leicester Schools Linking Project, locally owned and led by the St Philip’s Centre, Leicester, has given students the opportunity to explore and celebrate their own identities and the identities of their peers in different schools across the city and the county. The project breaks down barriers and challenges misconceptions through the carefully planned activities and opportunities for dialogue.
In 2018 we were filmed for the local BBC News; take a look at our video.
During 2019/20 we reached 34 classes from primary and secondary schools, engaging over 1,000 students. We trained teachers to deliver the programme through 2 CPD training dates in the Autumn and Spring terms.
We were extremely lucky to have had the support of Leicester City in the Community who gave us the use of their venue at The King Power Stadium, free of charge to use for both CPD and neutral venue days. We are also so pleased to have worked with Leicester Museums and held half of our neutral venue days at Newarke Houses Museum this year. All our neutral venue days went ahead in October, November and December 2019 and were such a success.
Sadly, due to the Covid-19 “shutdown” in March 2020, no classes were then able to hold any of our visits to our link schools, but we have kept in touch virtually as much as possible and are all looking forward to renewing these links this year; we are currently working with neutral venues to produce video tours and activities for linking classes to both engage with.
Despite restrictions, in 2020/21 we worked with 32 classes from 17 schools, in a virtual way due to Covid-19. All contact may continue to be remote this coming year however the work will still achieve the same goals – to break down barriers, challenge misconceptions and prejudices, get to know new people and learn how much we all have in common. The relationships between many residents of the City and County have been strained during this difficult year and schools linking work is one way we can repair this damage and improve our community cohesion. We are now excited to be recruiting for schools who would like to join our Linking Programme in 2021-22 and will be holding virtual CPD for teachers this term.
To keep us all connected through lockdown, we collaborated to produce this short video which reflects the great team spirt of all the schools involved here in Leicestershire.
Schools Linking plays a key role in supporting communities to become stronger and more positive places for all their citizens now and in the future. Schools Linking is a simple, powerful and practical way to facilitate a sense of a shared Leicester/shire identity and build the self-esteem and critical thinking of our young people. The Leicester and Leicestershire Schools Linking Project is growing year on year and becoming embedded in the work of many schools across two local authorities, Leicester City and Leicestershire County Councils; both of which are promoting this work more actively now than ever before as its impact is recognised.
We are now also able to offer the opportunity to link a class/classes with a local Care Home and engage in Intergenerational Linking.
Leicester Intergenerational Linking is part of Care Home Friends and Neighbours: Intergenerational Linking. This is a national initiative from My Home Life England and The Linking Network, linking young people from schools and youth organisations with older people living in care homes across England. The project is funded through the #iwill Fund. In 2021-22 we plan to facilitate at least 10 partnerships bringing older and younger people together. We will be using a variety of activities, including gardening and arts and crafts.
Recent comments about linking from teachers who have taken part in secondary linking:
The linking classrooms project provides a great opportunity for students to consider what makes a vibrant community. The resources on concepts such ubuntu are highly engaging and extremely powerful.’ Nick Rigby-The Winstanley School
‘I really enjoyed it and would welcome being involved with another school again.’ Liz Mills- Bosworth Academy
‘Here at Countesthorpe Academy, we were delighted to get the invite to take part in the Schools Linking Project. Students have engaged really well with the activities,exploring the issues around identity and values. Building a sense of community and feeling like we all belong are such important parts of the education we strive to provide our students.’ Angela Howe- Countesthorpe Academy
Comments from linking students:
‘I think that these sessions are important because we are learning the true meaning of equal’
‘One thing that stood out to us was how people feel like they have to change to meet others expectations and how they feel like they can be judged by someone who doesn’t even know them.’
‘We should all work together in union as we all have to live in this world and 14 billion hands are better than two.’
‘We should share this information because if other people see this then we can make the world a better place.’
Some fabulous lines from the students’ I am, We are poems:
To find out more or get involved, please contact:
Ruth Sinhal, Leicester and Leicestershire Schools Linking Facilitator – Email email@example.com
Follow us on Twitter:
Facebook Leicester Schools Linking Project
Take a look at our website www.stphilipscentre.co.uk/our-community