29 / 07 / 19
Schools across the UK are now out for summer, and our Education & Learning team had a fun-packed close of term across London and the West Midlands, with workshops and Link days. The summer term saw a range of exciting neutral venue Link days, including at the Battle of Britain Bunker, Kew Gardens, and the London Migration Museum. For the latter we teamed up with KCL researcher Rachel Scott, curator and arts educator Zalia Zogheib and visual artist DemaOne to explore Linking themes of identity, belonging and community through the fable ‘The Tale of the Four Friends’, as part of the Language Acts and World Making project. Students from St Andrew’s and Iqra primary met for the third time and had the opportunity to explore the museum, learn the art of Calligrafitti and play in the local park together.
London Linking 2018/19 has seen the establishment of multiple partnerships alongside the growth of well-established relationships. Guru Nanak Sikh Academy & Moriah Jewish Day School have been on our cohort for years and this year continued to host well-planned and expertly executed Link days complete with student presentation, pair and group work, structured play and meaningful bonding between the two school communities. At their second Link day, one student commented that: ‘I’ve learnt that even if you’re a different religion or colour, if someone is kind-hearted from inside, you can be friends. It’s been great to overcome our fears and get to know other people’.
Another long-standing partnership between North West London Jewish Day School and Islamia Primary School saw the host children learning how to count to ten in Hebrew in order to warmly welcome their partner class! The final session of the day saw an honest and engaging Q&A between the students who displayed maturity, sensitivity and curiosity. Of the programme, the NWLJDS lead Linking teacher said: ‘We’re raising a generation of children who will have been taught not to hate. I honestly think Linking is the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life’.
A Linking partnership new to the programme this academic year was Brondesbury College for Boys, a Muslim secondary school with the non-denominational, mixed Hampstead School. We’ve seen the year 9 students establish strong bonds and tackle issues such as stereotyping and racism. Teachers commented on how well the students got along, noticing that by the end of the first day they remembered each other’s names and began to make jokes: ‘There were one or two who are normally shy, but they came out of their shell and were more expressive. Some said they wanted to do it every month!’.
There’s still time to be recruited onto the 19-20 School Linking Programme. We’d be particularly keen to hear from schools in North East London; get in touch with email@example.com if you’re interested in interfaith dialogue facilitation training and meaningful encounters for your students!
On August 20th the West Midlands team will be having a volunteer celebration to celebrate and recognise the hard work, time and energy that our wonderful team of volunteer speakers put in to making our work happen. The celebration will include an Encountering Faiths and Beliefs panel of 3 speakers, modelled on the workshops that the volunteers speak at. It will involve 3 speakers, from a spectrum of backgrounds, sharing their personal faith/belief stories followed by individual and panel Q&A sessions. We intend to record the EFB as a podcast so that we can share it with a wider audience. We have had 35 active volunteer speakers this year and recently trained a new cohort of speakers in July which included participants from Jain, Sikh, Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Spiritual backgrounds.