School Linking

Our programme brings together two classes from demographically diverse schools in a year long programme within a local area.

There are currently 28 schools linking programmes in the network based in Birmingham, Blackburn, Bolton, Bradford, Buckinghamshire, Burnley, Bury, Calderdale, Derby, Kent, Kirklees, Leeds, Leicester, London, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottinghamshire, Oldham, Pendle, Peterborough, Rochdale, Rotherham, Sheffield, Stockport, Tower Hamlets, Walsall, Waltham Forest.

We work with all kinds of schools including primary and secondary schools, special schools ranging from local authority,, community independent, free schools and academies. Links are formed with non -denominational and all kinds of faith schools.

This year, across the 28 programmes, over 1,063 classes and over 30,000 children and young people are linking this academic year. In each local area connected in our network there is a local facilitator and if you are interested in finding a link please contact us or Contact your nearest local programme to express interest.

While schools are closed due to Covid19 connecting pupils with the wider community still important work and we are providing HomeLearning resources to support teachers, pupils and families at this time

The Linking Process

  • Headteachers express interest in joining a local linking project and linking with anther school and contact a linking facilitator in their local area.
  • The local facilitator brokers a link with another school in discussion with both headteachers about their priorities.
  • Headteacher signs an agreement to release teachers for 2 training sessions, pay for transport to enable a neutral venue visit and a visit to the other school and to host a visit in their own school and very importantly enable curriculum time for the classes to exchange work.
  • Teachers attend training for a full day in September or October. If they have linked before this reduces to half a day.
  • Classes exchange photographs, names and identity work linked to the PSHCE, Citizenship and English Curriculum.
  • The two classes meet for the first time, preferably at a neutral venue linked to wide ranging aspects of curriculum such as Drama, Outdoor Sports, Speaking & Listening, Geography, RE. The facilitators at the venue understand the programme and facilitate collaborative activities that support pupils to enjoy working alongside one another as they meet for the first time.
  • Further work is exchanged between the classes including curiosity questions which deepens the contact. Digital linking opportunities develop the IT curriculum and increase the children’s sense of understanding and connection with the partner class. Parents are drawn into the programme wherever possible.
  • Teachers meet for half a day training in January/February to plan spring/summer visits to the two schools.
  • Further exchange and class visits take place
  • A celebration event may be planned and a final exchange and goodbye.

During the Covid19 crisis schoolslinking will continue the relationship between linking schools with a continued emphasis on virtual connection to explore identity, diversity, equality and community

Local Linking programmes in Bolton, Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Buckinghamshire, Burnley, Bury, Calderdale, Derby, Kent, Kirklees, Leeds, Leicester, London, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oldham, Pendle, Peterborough, Rochdale,  Rotherham, Sheffield, Stockport, Tower Hamlets, Walsall and Waltham Forest are all recruiting schools.

Please contact us if your school is interested in joining one of these local linking projects. We can put you in contact with the local facilitator or you can contact them directly. All contacts can be found on the Network Contact Details page

Contact linda.cowie@thelinkingnetwork.org.uk

Why Link?

  • Linking develops skills of enquiry, critical thinking, reflection, and communication.
  • Develops trust, empathy, awareness, and respect.
  • Provides opportunities for children and young people to meet, build new relationships, work together and contribute to the wider community.

The children had the opportunity to meet children with completely different cultures and backgrounds and this was good for them. They were very anxious before the first encounter but afterwards they were nothing but excited.”

What I’ve seen linking do for my class is create opportunities to meet and converse. It is a very natural process and it really is important from a very young age. For me as a Muslim girl growing up in Bradford it was when I went to University in York I realised that many people had not conversed outside their group so they had little mutual understanding. As people grow older misconceptions can grow and can grow into hatred. The Schools Linking Project addresses misconceptions -you are building the ability to respect.”  – Nahida Nazir, Linking Teacher