The Linking Network celebrates!
30 June, 2023
At The Linking Network we’re delighted to be holding our second Schools Linking Celebration Week from the 3rd – 7th July. This school year our Schools Linking Programme has brought pupils from 850 classes in 27 local authority areas – that’s over 26,000 children!
The Linking Network is a national charity based in Bradford in West Yorkshire. Our schools linking programme began over 22 years ago when two local primary school leaders decided to bring together their children during the school year. The teachers shared a belief that giving their children a positive experience of meeting someone different to them would mean that as they grew older they would hopefully be more confident with the differences between us all.
Those two schools in Bradford, Girlington and Eldwick Primaries, continue to meet today.
‘What I know as a headteacher is that connecting with others is the key to so many important life skills all children need. Connecting with people from different backgrounds and cultures to your own brings so many benefits. It widens experience, builds confidence in meeting new people, expands our world view, changes thinking, removes barriers, builds on children’s natural curiosity and much, much more. We all know that one powerful way to combat prejudice is to connect with other people’s perspectives. Schools Linking does this perfectly. The idea was and still is to bring our children together so that they could meet, get to know one another and through this dispel any misperceptions. Kathryn Swales, Headteacher, Girlington Primary
Primary school pupils from Bristol Schools Linking programme working together during a link day.
We now support Schools Linking programmes in primary and secondary schools as well as between special and mainstream schools. All the schools in the programme use 4 key questions throughout the school year – Who am I? Who are we? Where do we live? How do we all live together? Children and young people are encouraged to explore identity and belonging through work in their own classroom and through linking with another class who they otherwise might not meet.
During Schools Linking Celebration Week we’ll be celebrating the work done by schools during their linking journey and appreciating the effort made by the teachers and schools who have given their pupils this opportunity. Schools will be celebrating the week in all sorts of different activities. On Tuesday 4th July, pupils from across the country will be taking part in fun online live lessons led by The Linking Network – we can’t wait to see everyone having fun in their own schools but still connecting together!
Primary school pupils enjoying signing and singing together on a Calderdale Special and Mainstream school link day.
Our thanks go to everyone who helps make our Schools Linking programme so joyful and meaningful. We’re grateful for ongoing support from Pears Foundation and a partnership between Pears Foundation, DLUHC and DfE and investment by schools, local authorities and NGOs into the work.
‘The joy that bringing children and young people together creates is wonderful to see. It helps break down barriers and builds trust and confidence. It is all made possible by the care, commitment and energy of teachers and headteachers in schools up and down the country who are determined to give their pupils opportunities to meet, learn and take action together.’ Linda Cowie and Meg Henry.
Recruiting for Schools Linking in all the areas shown on our map. If you’d like to join or find out more about our programmes please visit our website: www.thelinkingnetwork.org.uk