Our belief is that our schools – and indeed every school – should be at the heart of their local community.
Schools should help shape young people, and young minds, so they can move forward and make a difference on their doorstep and beyond.
A successful local community needs a lot of things. But one of those is a successful school.
But how can schools and communities work together for the good of all?
At Unity Schools Partnership, the clue is in the name. Yes, we want our member schools, staff and students to build partnerships with each other and those outside of the trust.
But we must also look away from our schools and foster real partnerships with the community. Fortunately, partnerships are all around.
Just a few short weeks ago, many of our towns and villages came together to celebrate the final stage of The Women’s Tour cycle race.
It was a great sporting event but also a great community event which included schools producing fantastic artistic banners in support of competing teams.
This was a great thing for out students to be part of but just one example of how we can make a difference to our local communities and the fantastic events that take place.
In Haverhill, students from Castle Manor have also been showcasing their artistic talents by helping to design artwork which is now dotted around the town centre.
At a time when supporting our town centre economies has never been more important, students can feel proud to have done their bit to improve their local environment.
Given the events of the last 18 months, many of our schools have moved outside and launched gardens bringing numerous benefits. Once again, this hasn’t been done in isolation and we are indebted to the garden centres, the volunteers and other individuals and businesses who are supporting these important projects.
At Felixstowe School, there is a prime example of partnership-working at its best – something that has led to the formation of an in-school chaplaincy.
The position of school chaplain has been funded by a local charity, but is based in the school, to provide support for students when they need it most.
This support is arguably never more crucial given the events of the last 18 months and we were delighted to see this partnership filmed last week for airing at this month’s General Synod.
I have only highlighted a few examples above and I know there are many, many more. Much of this work is unsung or goes under the radar, but it all makes a massive day-to-day difference to schools, their local communities and the way we can all work together. We thank you all.
By Tim Coulson, Chief Executive of Unity Schools Partnership