29 / 11 / 19
Last Thursday 7 November, Ana and Sarah delivered speaker training to 7 keen and engaged participants (1 Muslim, 3 Christians, 2 Sikhs, 1 Spiritual). During training participants had the opportunity to learn more about F&BF’s ethos and methodologies, explored the complexity of identity, covered language and communication skills, tips for public speaking and drafted and shared their stories with each other. Below is some feedback from one of the participants:
“It was amazing to take part in the training day and meet so many great people with inspiring stories who were so open and willing to share their faiths and beliefs. I got a massive insight into religions/strands of religions I knew nothing about and feel privileged to have had the opportunity to take part! Ana and Sarah were brilliant at helping us use sensitive language to open up interfaith dialogue effectively. I was all so helpful and interesting. Thank you!”.
Manor Junior School (16 October)
Teacher feedback: “Speaker talking about their religion/belief; The children found this interesting as they are not always exposed to different beliefs”
Student feedback: “I liked the workshop and all the props that Jess and Ruma brought here”
“What I liked about the workshop is one of the teachers was the same religion as me and one wasn’t; a person with a Quran. Thank you for teaching me. See you soon.”
Ripple Primary School (5 November)
Teacher feedback: “Meeting people from a range of different religions and hearing them discuss their beliefs. Q+A very informative for children and really involved them in the session”
Student feedback: “What I liked about the workshop is that I got to learn about new things from Hinduism and Christianity. Thank you so much for teaching us about your faiths and religions”
“I liked this workshop, because it gets us prepared for future lessons about religion and we get to learn something new you didn’t know about before.”
“I liked the fact that we learned about new words and learnt that not everybody has a religion, and we played a little game before Siobhán, Jess and Ana started talking.”
The School Linking year is now well underway with Link days having already been held in Walthamstow and Leyton. Our season of CPD1s saw us training over 60 teachers across London – most of whom are new to our programme. Here’s what some of them had to say:
‘I have really thought about my own identity today and what it means to me’
‘I feel more confident to develop meaningful encounter between different schools’
‘Such a lovely, friendly atmosphere in the room. Very nurturing, helpful and fun!’
Over the next couple of months our team will continue to visit and evaluate Link days, while preparing for the second season of CPDs in January-February 2020. This year we have up to 64 classes from 52 schools on the programme, with a range of ethoses including Muslim, Jewish, CoE, Catholic, Orthodox, Hindu, Sikh and non-denominational schools. We have students from as young as 6 years old, all the way up to year 10. Here are some pictures from a secondary visit to Forest School, who are linking with two local schools this year:
And here’s how the students are finding the experience so far:
‘I’ve learnt how similar people are to each other even if they have different beliefs and backgrounds.’
‘I increased my confidence in talking to new people.’
‘It would be good if we could have a longer time together – maybe even a whole week of activities; that would be amazing!’
There’s still time for schools to join the programme! If you are a community centre, organisation, library, museum or other public venue feel free to get in touch with us to offer your space or arrange a themed Link day for our schools on this year’s cohort. We’ve previously worked with the London Migration Museum, the Battle of Britain Bunker, the RAF Museum, Kew Gardens, the London College of Fashion, Wembley Stadium and a range of others.
In other news, we are very proud of JCoSS student Isaac Reuben and former St Ursula’s Linking student (and now F&BF Volunteer Speaker) Hannah Tompkins for their speeches at this month’s Fundraiser Gala Dinner! Both speakers shared their experience of the Linking journey and the impact it can have on young people’s lives as well as school communities.
“I learnt so much from the programme, most importantly not to make assumptions about people” – Hannah
Thank you to friends of the programme who attended the Gala and to teachers and parents who shared testimonies for our pledge! Watch this space for the highlights!
Lastly, thank you PhD student Lucy Peacock for visiting us earlier this month and sharing her updates on her thesis, which aims to evaluate the effectiveness of our School Linking Programme. Lucy continues to support us to refine and develop the programme, and will be back soon to speak more in depth about the areas of literature underpinning here work.
Listen to the introductory podcast here.