The Linking programme in Waltham Forest
The School Linking programme aims to match students from different cultural or faith backgrounds to explore issues of identity, community and belief, based on their students’ lived experience.
The programme pairs two teachers and classes from different schools – the two lead teachers organise and facilitate three ‘Link Days’ together during the academic year
The Link days are centred around students improving their communication and interfaith skills (critical thinking, empathy, dialogue). This supports schools SMSC and British Values provision by fostering an understanding and respect for difference amongst their students
Teachers taking part are given the training, resources and planning time for running their Link days at the three CPD (Continuing Professional Development) days we host during the academic year.
As a new borough to work in, we were very pleased to recruit 14 new classes to the programme for 2017-18. Reaching out to the Waltham Forest SACRE was very useful, not only were they able to introduce us to schools but also helped us to secure a free venue within the borough for the three CPD’s.
How we feel about Linking work
I enjoyed seeing the different ways school can partner and benefit from it. In some cases we had two faith schools linking, where the differences between students faith and beliefs was easier to identify and discuss. The students gained experience of meeting young people from different faith backgrounds, learning not only about their lived experiences of their faiths, but also who they were on a more personal level.
However, it was interesting to see two non-denominational schools linking, enabling recognition and discussion of the faith and belief backgrounds of the students. The teachers commented on how this provided them with an opportunity, not always afforded during the school day, to have discussions around religious and non-religious belief and allow students to articulate what that means in relation to who they are.
How others feel about Linking work
“CPD Sessions were very informative, enabled our pupils to engage and interact with each other. Pupil’s barriers and stereotypes are slowly being broken!” Teacher from a Muslim school, working with a Catholic school
Clare Isham, The Faith & Belief Forum email@example.com