The Walsall Schools Linking Programme was launched in the Autumn term 2018 and has continued to attract schools ever since, despite disruption caused by the pandemic. We are now excited to be recruiting schools for Linking in 2022-23, please get in touch with us if you are interested!
Pre-Covid, the programme was going exceptionally well, with Walsall for All staff providing additional advice, guidance and support to the schools as well as delivery partners such as Walsall FC and the New Art Gallery; and it was great to get things moving again last year.
In January 2019, Walsall was privileged to receive a high profile visit by representatives of Italian Civil Society and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. A group of 7 educators, public and third sector professionals joined in our special link day at Walsall FC. Mike Collyer, an experienced youth worker facilitated a series of exercises between pupils from the 2 schools exploring issues about identity, personality and belonging within the luxurious surroundings of the 1888 Club Hospitality Lounge. Both schools host pupils of Bengali-Italian heritage and valuable discussions took place about integration and diversity within both an Italian and UK context. Pupils from both schools were treated to a one to one chat with Liam Kinsella, one of the club’s key strikers and explored the career potential of working within the sports industry.
Case study: North Walsall Primary Academy and Caldmore Primary Academy
The students from Butts Primary and Palfrey Juniors met for the first time at the New Art Gallery, Walsall and worked together to produce some brilliant collaborative collagraphed prints! Pupils worked closely with each other thus making meaningful contacts at the same time. The children found out what they had in common and got to know each other.
Millfield Primary and Alumwell Junior also took part. Activities included poly printing, discovering artwork and discussion.
The class lead from one school said, “The activities have proven to be a simple and effective way to get the kids to engage. The impact of this has been really positive! The children have been working together and learning about not just the art, but the story of the artists behind the art. The artists coming from different backgrounds and upbringing will inspire the children to have high aspirations in life.”
One of the children from Millfield school exclaimed, “It was the best day of my life!”
We have relaunched our successful Schools Linking programme for 2022-23, at a time when sharing different perspectives and experiences are more important and valuable than ever. In the world of post-Coronavirus lockdown, with its increased awareness of inequality, highlighted by both the disproportionate impact of the virus on certain communities and the Black Lives Matter movement, we feel that programmes such as this will be vital for young people to explore these issues by taking part in activities as well as enabling them to share their unique experiences.
Please get in touch to find out more.
Contact: Natalia Balan Natalia.Balan@walsall.gov.uk at Communities, Equality and Cohesion, Walsall Council