ISA Award Finalist – Again!
We are delighted to have been selected as a finalist in the Independent Schools’ Association Awards for Outstanding Local Community Involvement, again!
As winners of the 2020 award we have continued to strive to help others, in line with our Quaker values, and placed a real focus on our outreach activities over the course of the last twelve months. Being chosen as a finalist is a wonderful recognition of the efforts of our community, across students, staff and parents, in supporting those in need and in making a different to the quality of the lives around us.
Our work has covered community and education partnerships and student-led charitable fundraising across a broad range of initiatives which have included the following:
Let’s Read Together
Born out of our Year 10 Literacy Change-makers programme, the Let’s Read Together initiative saw students and teachers sharing the gift of storytelling by recording their own narrations for children to enjoy and sharing them via weekly video delivery. One Primary School saved the videos up for World Book Day and shared them as a literary festival. The Year 10 Literacy Change-makers work closely with one of our Community Partners Loddon Primary and ABC to Read to aid younger pupils in their reading and have run weekly online buddy sessions during lockdown.
Let’s Cook Together
The Let’s Cook Together initiative provided weekly recipes via video and recipe cards for students at local primary and prep schools, as well as one of our Community Partners; Whitley Community Development Association (WCDA). During the ten week programme, our Senior Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) students coordinated supplies of ingredients and equipment for 26 families at WCDA to enable more families to take part. These were delivered to our neighbours at the hub in our LP minibus every Friday.
LP Donate – Whitley Community Development Association
Students from our Eco Schools Group delivered plants to Whitley residents recovering from illness and the PSC (our PTA equivalent) co-ordinated and delivered weekly supplies of food, toiletries, stationery and toys through our LP Donate programme to the WCDA hub. In June our CAS students hosted a socially distanced afternoon tea for Whitley volunteers to say thank you for all their hard work in the community during the pandemic. Students baked items for the tea, created invitations, waited on tables for the afternoon and wrote thank you cards to every guest.
As part of the Feeding Communities programme, Leighton Park worked with its catering provider Thomas Franks to deliver nutritious meals and snacks to those in need every Monday, via Foundry College Pupil Referral Unit, Ridgeway Primary School and Loddon Primary. Leighton Park donated freezers to schools to store the meals and ensured digital nutritional information was given to schools too, to help with distribution.
Foundry Pupil Referral Unit
Our three year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Foundry Pupil Referral Unit continues to go from strength to strength in its second year. Leighton Park has provided music technology and production opportunities to KS4 artists in our recording studio with access to industry technicians and state of the art Yamaha equipment. We delivered teacher care packages to every member of staff in the Spring Term as the school stayed open for face to face teaching during lockdown for high numbers of vulnerable children. In the Summer Term we were able to offer 6 week work experience placements in our Ground/Maintenance teams and Administrative teams for students in Year 10 and Year 11. On September 2nd we will welcome 54 teaching and support staff from Foundry for a special day of reflection/Inset on the Park to support them in their preparations for 2021/2022. As part of our mutually beneficial MOU, Leighton Park has received leadership frameworks for relationship management and bespoke 1:2:1 support by specialist staff for students with specific pastoral needs from Foundry. We are extremely proud of our partnership with this extraordinary school.
Be Inspired – Supporting KS2 Student Achievement
The School is particularly well known for its Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) academic approach, winning the national Award for Excellence in STEAM Education 2021. We continued our community outreach work during lockdown by developing a STEAM Interactive workshop series to coincide with British Science Week 2021. The interactive workshops were led by our staff and students, hundreds of Year 5 students took part ‘live’ and engaged with follow up Q&A sessions, with many other schools opting to incorporate the materials into their teaching later in the term. 247 students provided feedback on their experiences. The series also included video case studies of successful professionals in STEAM careers. The success and appetite for this event from local primaries has led us to prepare for STEAM Interactive II in 2021/2022 to coincide with COP26.
Student-led Charitable Engagement
A key focus for the School this year has been galvinsing house spirit towards charitable engagement for local charities close to our hearts. Field House boarders have spent weekends and evenings across the academic year volunteering at First Days charity in Reading who work closely with new parents and babies. Our relationship with this charity has now developed into a Sixth Form volunteering option on Friday afternoons. School House have fundraised for Launchpad Reading, a charity working with the homeless and Reckitt House chose Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice, the only children’s hospice in Berkshire. The year’s efforts culminated in a big charity weekender on the Park on 10th & 11th June. Events included a 24 hr cyclathon and a 100 dance song challenge bringing students and staff together to raise over £5,000 for these very important local organisations. “Thank you to everyone who took part in the cyclathon, that money will go directly towards helping people in need.” commented Kate Martin, Fundraising Manager for Launchpad.
Across other areas of the School, charitable engagement, volunteering and fundraising has continued to flourish despite the pandemic. Over 585 hours of local volunteering was achieved by those on our DofE programme during lockdown, our LGBTQ group (The GSA) raised over £500 for Mermaids, a charity who work with transgender students and their families as part of diversity week and our PE department has supported Young Minds throughout the year with a host of activities, house competitions and events such as LP Run in the Sun.